Washington state hunters who occasionally mistake cougars for deer need no longer fear pulling the trigger.
This year, all deer hunters who a have valid permit can also shoot cougars if they so choose.
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife just announced the new plan for the new deer season, which starts this Sunday.
Under this year's rules, deer hunters with a valid license and transport tag can take a cougar during the modern-firearms deer season in all 39 counties - including Okanogan, Chelan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Klickitat.
That's a change from recent years, when general cougar-hunting seasons in those six counties were delayed to accommodate a pilot program that allowed hunters with special permits to track cougars using dogs.
UPDATE: The DFW just sent out another statement "clarifying" their earlier release. It seems that the agency failed to mention that deer hunters still need a valid cougar-hunting license if they want to kill a cougar.
CLARIFICATION - Species in second paragraph that hunter must have a valid cougar license to hunt cougar. Please use this version.
Dr. Dr. Donny Martorello, the DFW's Carnivore Section Manager also notes that cougar populations in the state are "stable."
Some 100,000 people are expected to go deer-hunting this season.