September marks the start of hunting seasons for elk, deer, waterfowl and upland game birds in many areas of the state, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has released its annual guide to help hunters have a successful hunting season.
Hunting Prospects, which includes information for every district in the state, can be found on the WDFW website athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/
Hunting seasons will continue despite the presence of several wildfires in eastern Washington, so hunters need to be aware of land access restrictions around the state due to fire, said Mick Cope, Wildlife Program deputy assistant director.
“Hunting prospects look good for this year, but hunters should check current conditions before getting out into the field,” Cope said. “Some hunters may need to find alternate hunting locations or different routes.”
Fire prevention restrictions on WDFW’s wildlife areas and water access sites in eastern Washington remain in place. Details on those restrictions are available on the WDFW’s lands webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/
Surveys indicate game populations are in line with previous years, Cope said. “We anticipate an excellent hunting season, and we encourage hunters to spend time reviewing the prospects and exploring Washington for new experiences,” he said.
Cope is asking hunters to pay special attention to the following changes this season:
- New baiting regulations for deer and elk have been adopted this year. See page 86 of the Big Game pamphlet for more information (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/).
- Several changes were made to white-tailed deer season in northeastern Washington. General season archery and muzzleloader hunters are reminded that legal white-tailed deer in northeast district GMUs 105-121 are bucks only except for 6 days in late archery. This is different than the “any deer” regulation that was originally printed in the regulations pamphlet. Further, youth, senior, and hunters with disabilities have a 4-day season with a bag limit of “any white-tailed deer,” which is also different than what is printed in the pamphlet. (See District 1 prospects: http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/2016/district01.pdf).
- Forest grouse hunters are asked to deposit one wing and the tail of each grouse harvested into wing barrels around the state or by taking them to the closest WDFW office. More details can be found athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/upland_birds/grouse_wing_tail_collection.html.
- Goose Management Areas (GMA) 2A and 2B have combined to form one area. For more information on GMA 2, see the Migratory Waterfowl pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/).
Before setting out, hunters should review hunting regulations at (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/).
-Submitted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife