Popular deer hunting season opens Saturday

Staff reportOctober 6, 2013 

More than 90,000 hunters will spread out across Washington as the modern rifle deer season opens Saturday.

The modern rifle season is one of the most popular in the state. Of the deer hunters statewide last year, 76.4 percent participated in the modern firearm season.

Dave Ware, game manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said he expects the deer season — and other hunting seasons opening this month — to be a good one.

“A mild winter followed by a favorable spring benefitted wildlife species ranging from deer to pheasants,” Ware said in a statement. “Also, recent storms have helped to quiet hunters’ footsteps in the forest and blow leaves off the trees for better visibility. Those are all very positive signs for upcoming seasons.”

The wet weather also has eased campfire restrictions in many areas of the state, but hunters still should check for any local regulations in planning a hunting trip, Ware said. Campfires are banned through Oct. 15 at department wildlife areas in Benton, Franklin, Yakima and Kittitas counties — and through Oct. 31 at the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant and Adams counties.

Deer hunters are coming out of a 2012 season in which the success rate was 28.5 percent for the modern firearm season and 28.2 percent overall.

Hunter orange requirements: Deer hunters are reminded of the state’s rules. Under the following conditions, a minimum of 400 square inches of fluorescent hunter orange exterior clothing is required. It must be worn above the waist and be visible from all sides. A hat by itself does not meet this requirement.

 • Anyone hunting deer during any modern firearm deer season is required to wear fluorescent hunter orange clothing, including all modern firearm permit holders. This includes archers and muzzleloaders while hunting in units that overlap modern firearm seasons.

 • Anyone hunting in an area that is open for modern firearm deer must wear hunter orange requirements if they are hunting any of the following species: bear, bobcat, cougar, coyote, deer, elk, fox, grouse, hare, rabbit, or raccoon.

 • During any upland game bird (pheasant, quail and partridge) season, anyone hunting upland game birds or rabbits with a modern firearm is required to wear fluorescent hunter orange clothing.

Other seasons: While the deer season typically draws the largest number of hunters this month, hunting also opens Saturday for ducks and — in many parts of the state — geese.

LEARN MORE

Specific season dates: The season opening and closing dates vary depending on what species of deer you are hunting and by game management unit. wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ summary_hunting_dates.html.

Licenses: A resident adult deer hunting license is $44.90. Get information on license requirements and cost at wdfw.wa.gov/licensing.

Rules: Download a copy of the big game and waterfowl and upland game bird rules pamphlets at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/ regulations.

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