MONTESANO, Wash. - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is reminding nontribal hunters that they must obtain a valid state permit if they plan to participate in a black bear hunt under way on the Quinault Indian Nation reservation to control timber damage.

Nontribal hunters are subject to state hunting rules and regulations if they hunt on the reservation. Those selected by the tribe to participate in the damage hunt must first obtain a free damage depred-ation permit from WDFW and abide by its conditions.

Nontribal hunters who fail to obtain a permit, or do obtain a permit and fail to comply with its conditions, are subject to state laws and regulations on and off the reservation.

The free permits may be obtained at the department's regional office in Montesano. The office is located adjacent to Highway 12 at 48 Devonshire Road. The phone number is (360) 249-4628. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Quinault Indian Nation earlier informed the department it plans to issue a limited number of timber damage hunt permits to nontribal hunters as part of a spring and fall black bear hunt aimed at controlling bear damage to timber resources. Black bears strip bark from timber to feed on the sweet, inner layer of trees. The feeding practice can severely damage or kill the trees under certain conditions.