To help hunters have a successful hunting season, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has released its annual Hunting Prospects, which provide guidance and hunting information for each district.
Grays Harbor and Pacific County are part of District 17, and the prospects note that the area is best known for elk hunting opportunities in the Willapa Hills and waterfowl hunting opportunities around Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor, and in the Chehalis and Willapa river valleys, although WDFW adds that “High-quality hunting opportunities exist for other game species”
In the reports, it does note a number of changes to local hunting. This includes changes to some private timber company access and fees, amd that the forest grouse season starts two weeks later than many previous years.
“Our district wildlife biologists write these popular reports to give an in-depth look at what field conditions should look like this year,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “These prospects have a lot of useful information that can help brand new and experienced hunters plan their season.”
Hunters can also use the hunting regulations web map, which allows them to find permit and general season hunts based on location, date, weapon choice, and more. Recent surveys indicate 2022 should be another good hunting year.
Aoude asks that hunters pay special attention to the following items for the upcoming season:
- Wildfire impacts: Some hunting opportunities may be affected by emergency land closures. Check out WDFW’s wildfire webpage before heading out.
- Black bear identification test: Hunters who wish to harvest a bear in certain GMUs must first pass the bear identification test (through the WILD system) with a score of 80% or better.
- Youth pheasant hunting dates: On Saturday, Sept. 17 – 18 statewide, youth-only hunting days provide a strong opportunity for success for pheasant.
- Youth, veterans, and active military personnel waterfowl hunting day: Saturday, Feb. 4 will provide an opportunity for youth, veterans, and active military personnel to experience hunting during the late season with an expanded list of allowable species.
These and other hunting regulations are described in WDFW’s Big Game Hunting pamphlet or Game Bird and Small Game Hunting pamphlet.