Hunting and Gathering
Hunting and gathering is an essential part of the Swinomish culture. The goal of the Swinomish Hunting and Gathering Program is to preserve and protect the Swinomish Tribal Community’s treaty-reserved and federally-protected hunting and gathering rights. Through a co-management agreement with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and other Point Elliot Treaty Tribes, the Hunting and Gathering Program continues to ensure that the best management methods based on science are implemented to protect wildlife resources and ensure healthy and sustainable game populations for the benefit of all people for the next seven generations.
To help our understanding of how climate change is affecting wildlife and game, the Hunting and Gathering Program has initiated a camera trap research project to establish a baseline of terrestrial mammals in the treaty area. Additionally, the program studies survival rates, causes of mortality, and habitat use of black-tailed deer and elk to better understand how climate change, in addition to changing predation pressures, alternations in land use practices, and disease, influences populations of these important game species. The information collected by these investigations, in which we capture animals and fit them with GPS collars that record animal locations, helps inform our work in setting hunting regulations, hunting seasons, and bag limits based on the ability of the wildlife populations to support harvest. Beyond the immediate utility in formulating management policy, however, this work will contribute to wildlife managers’ long-term understanding of how climate change is influencing the abundance and distribution of wildlife important to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.