The winter of 2017-18 put less stress on deer than the previous year
OLYMPIA — Some of Washington’s most popular hunting seasons will get underway Oct. 13, when modern firearm deer hunters and waterfowl hunters take to the field.
The winter of 2017-18 put less stress on deer than the previous year — especially in parts of eastern Washington, said Jerry Nelson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) deer and elk section manager. Hunting prospects in many areas are starting to look up, he added.
“Winter conditions in the past ten 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 2018 Hunting Prospects reports (https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/) include local information on what upcoming seasons may hold.
Hunters will also take to the field for waterfowl. Last season, nearly 445,000 ducks were harvested in Washington. Duck, goose, coot, and snipe seasons open Oct. 13.
The exceptions include dusky Canada goose hunting, which is closed to harvest. Brant season in Skagit County, determined by the midwinter waterfowl survey, is also currently closed, but may open on selected dates in January. Scaup season is also currently closed, but opens on Nov. 3.
“With healthy waterfowl populations, mild temperatures, and some early rainfall, it should be a strong opener,” said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl manager. “Favorable habitat conditions and breeding pair counts from Washington, Alaska, and Canada indicate a strong fall flight.”
Information on access to more than 1 million acres of private land can be found at the Private Lands Hunting Access page (https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/hunting_access/private_lands/).
Hunters can also find information on public or private lands open to hunting by visiting WDFW’s interactive webmap program, available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.
Hunters can purchase their licenses at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, at any WDFW license dealer (https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/), or by calling WDFW’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.