The Department of Fish and Wildlife remind residents that some of the state’s most popular hunting starts on October 14, when modern firearm deer hunters and waterfowl hunters seasons start.
“The harsh winter of 2016-17 appears to have taken a toll on some elk and deer populations—especially in parts of eastern Washington”, said Jerry Nelson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) deer and elk section manager.
Despite winter conditions, Nelson said that hunting prospects in many areas look promising.
“Winter conditions in recent years, wildfires, fall green-up and weather during the hunting season are just some of the factors that can influence deer numbers and distribution,” said Nelson. “That is why we are encouraging hunters to review the Hunting Prospects on WDFW’s website to find location-specific forecasts.”
WDFW’s 2017 Hunting Prospects reports (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/) include local information on what upcoming seasons may hold.
Locally, WDFW states that 29 percent of modern firearm deer hunters had success last year, with the best opportunities in GMUs 663, 648, 672, and 660.
Hunters can also start the waterfall season, as duck, goose, coot and snipe seasons open Oct. 14.Last season, WDFW says that nearly 550,000 waterfowl were harvested in Washington.
“Washington can anticipate a strong fall flight,” said WDFW waterfowl manager Kyle Spragens. “With exceptional habitat conditions in Washington this past spring, and strong numbers of birds spotted during surveys in Alaska and Canada, things are looking fantastic.”
Information on access to more than 1 million acres of private land can be found at the Private Lands Hunting Access page (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/hunting_access/private_lands/).
Hunters can also find information on public or private lands open to hunting by visiting GoHunt, WDFW’s interactive mapping program (http://apps.wdfw.wa.gov/gohunt/).
Hunters can purchase their licenses at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, at any WDFW license dealer (http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/) or by calling WDFW’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.