(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
LOW NUMBERS: N.E. Washington Wildlife group say predator situation hurting hunting in NE Washington…
A topic of discussion at the N.E. Washington Wildlife Group last Wednesday at the Chewelah Casino was low check-in numbers in NE Washington for hunters.
As deer season kicked into full gear in its second weekend, of the 23 hunters who stopped at the Chewelah station set up at the WSDOT shop on Sand Canyon Road and Highway 395, two hunters had killed a whitetail buck. In 2018 on the second weekend, the Chewelah check station had 38 hunters with 11 deer harvested.
State officials contend that check-in stations should be taken with a grain of salt since many hunters do not stop. This year, the Spokesman-Review reported on the low numbers and quoted WDFW wildlife biologist AnneMarie Prince.
“I think the wet weather on Saturday played a role in why it was so slow in Chewelah,” Prince said in an email to the Spokane newspaper.
However, at the wildlife meeting, several local hunters and community members expressed their dismay at the dropping numbers.
“People don’t stop because they don’t have anything to talk about,” one N.E. Washington Wildlife Group member said.
The Deer Park check station this year saw 62 hunters who stopped and twelve had bagged a deer.
In 2018, 81 hunters with 14 deer killed stopped by the Deer Park station and in 2017, the Deer Park check station had 75 hunters with 26 deer.
On the first weekend of the hunting season this year, 30 hunters checked into the Chewelah station with five deer. Last year, 49 hunters stopped with 10 deers bagged.
The wildlife group noted it appeared more mule deers were being bagged than historically reported. Again in their conversations at the October meeting the group talked about how the lower report numbers must be connected to how many predators are in NE Washington and how that is affecting the ungulate populations.