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AGO 1955 No. 110 - June 17, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington


The Game Commission may require all participants in a lottery drawing during a controlled hunting season to be holders of both a hunting license and a supplemental big game seal.

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                                                                   June 17, 1955

Mr. John A. Biggs, Director
The Department of Game
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 110

Dear Mr. Biggs:

            You have asked this office for a formal opinion on the following question:

            May the Game Commission require all persons, as a condition precedent to participation in a lottery drawing during a controlled hunting season, to be holders of a supplemental big game seal of the class of game animal for which the controlled season is open, in addition to a hunting license?

            My answer to the foregoing question is yes.


            RCW 77.12.150 is the statutory authority for the establishment of a special or controlled hunting season.  The second paragraph of said statute reads as follows:

            "Whenever the director finds that game animals have increased in numbers in any locality of the state to such an extent that they are damaging  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] public or private property, or over-grazing their range, the commission may establish a special hunting season, designate the area and the number and sex of the animals that may be killed by alicensed hunter therein, promulgate necessary rules and regulations,and determine by lot the number of hunters that may hunt within such area and the conditions and requirements incident thereto.  The drawing shall take place at the city hall of the town nearest the area to be opened.  Notice of the establishing of such special hunting season and of the drawing shall be given in the manner provided for the publishing of orders opening or closing seasons."  (Emphasis supplied)

            RCW 77.32.100 through RCW 77.32.160 provide that any person desiring to hunt or fish must obtain a county or state hunting license.  RCW 77.32.020 provides that any person desiring to hunt deer, elk, or goat must procure a supplemental deer, elk, or goat seal in addition to any other license.  Therefore, it is quite clear that both license and seal are required before a person can hunt deer, elk, or goat during a special hunting season.  The question then becomes: Can such person be required to have procured such license and seal before he can participate in the drawing, even though his name may not be drawn and he may never participate in the special hunt?

            Referring again to RCW 77.12.150, the purpose of a special hunting season is to decrease the number of game animals in order to reduce damage or overgrazing.  To accomplish this, the statute permits the commission to promulgate necessary rules and regulations, and to determine the conditions and requirements incident to the lottery drawing and the hunt.  To adequately reduce the number of game animals, the game commission must have some assurance that all persons drawn by lot will actually participate in the hunt.  It is reasonable to assume that a person who has procured a license and seal before the drawing is more apt to hunt if chosen than one without such license and seal.  By requiring the license and seal before the drawing, the commission is asking each participant to display his good faith that, if chosen, he will contribute to the game reduction.  Such a requirement is necessary to insure more accuracy in game management.  It cannot be considered unreasonable.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            In imposing this requirement, the state, through its Game Commission, is but dealing with its own property over which its control is an absolute as any other owner has over his property.  Cawsey v. Brickey, 82 Wash. 653, 144 Pac. 938 (1914); McMillan v. Sims, 132 Wash. 265, 231 Pac. 943 (1925).  If one desires to hunt game animals owned by the state, he must comply with all conditions and requirements incident thereto.  Therefore, the game commission is not exceeding its authority in requiring all persons wishing to hunt during a controlled season to be holders of a supplemental big game seal in addition to a hunting license before being permitted to participate in the lottery drawing.

            I trust this is a satisfactory answer to your question.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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