(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
HUNTERS CHECK IN: WDFW Deer Park check station sees 26.3 percent success rate during late deer season…
With the end of late deer season on Nov. 19, WDFW released some of its check station data that was taken in Deer Park two weeks ago.
Chewelah did not have a check station on that Sunday, but did have low returns during early deer season.
In early deer season’s 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. Deer Park numbers in early season were 62 hunters who stopped and twelve had bagged a deer on the second weekend.
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.
This time around, the prognosis was much better, WDFW said, but the agency also added that check stations are useful “point-in-time” metrics but not representative of the entire season. When Chewelah had low check-in numbers weeks ago, it was surmised the weather was bad and people didn’t want to stop for the check-in as it’s not a requirement.
Still local hunters and N.E.W. Wildlife Group members said at the time that the low early season numbers were because of low deer numbers and higher predator numbers in NE Washington.
Late season, according to the one-day check-in station, was perhaps better in terms of return numbers. In Deer Park, 99 hunters were stopped and 26 had whitetail bucks, a 26.3 percent success rate.
Overall, WDFW said that hunters seemed happy with the season and that they had some really nice whitetails come through the check station. Most hunters at least saw does and fawns even if they never found a buck to harvest.
In 2018, 96 hunters were stopped and 16 had whitetail bucks. In 2017, 124 hunters stopped with 43 deer, while in 2016, 79 hunters stopped with 17 deer.
WDFW said that the check station for late season is always on Sunday, and the end to late season is always on Nov. 19 so there is a correlation between the number of hunters that stop and the date of the Sunday check station.
In Lincoln County, 179 hunters were checked with 35 whitetail bucks. Many of those harvested in Stevens County, the department said.
Final harvest numbers will not be published until 2020.