Deer hunting prospects good locally and statewide
As the state’s most popular hunting season gets underway this weekend, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said that there are strong deer hunting opportunities and reminds hunters about safety and access, including the possible impacts from the federal government shutdown.
More than 100,000 hunters are expected to take to the field this month for the modern-firearm deer season that begins Oct. 12 and runs through various dates around the state.
Dave Ware, game manager for WDFW, said he expects the season to be a good one.
“A mild winter followed by a favorable spring benefitted Washington’s deer populations,” Ware said. “Also, recent storms have helped to quiet hunters’ footsteps in the forest and blow leaves off the trees for better visibility. Those are all very positive signs for upcoming deer seasons.”
Ware indicated that while prospects look good statewide, several areas should be especially productive.
West of the Cascades, blacktail deer appear to be stable, although Ware acknowledges they are difficult to count due to heavy vegetation across the region.
“Blacktail opportunities look best in southwestern Washington,” Ware said. “Deer densities aren’t quite as high as they are farther south, but some really nice bucks come out of northwestern Washington.”
In Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, WDFW said that “Deer hunting opportunities in District 17 vary from marginal to quite good”. According to their report, the best opportunities to harvest a black-tail locally likely occur near Capitol Peak, Wynoochee, Fall River, and Minot Peak.
More extensive area-by-area summaries of the hunting prospects throughout the state are available on WDFW’s hunting prospects webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/.
It’s unclear exactly how the federal government shutdown will affect this year’s hunting season, but Ware is concerned it could impact some hunters who might find federal access facilities closed.
“The status of federally managed access facilities is unclear at this point due to the government shutdown, so our best recommendation to hunters under these unique circumstances is to remain flexible. Try to arrive early to set up camp, have back-up plans, and, due to the shutdown, don’t rely solely on federally managed campgrounds or access sites this year.”
Along with securing legal access, WDFW continues to encourage hunters to make safety their top priority.