One of the most popular hunting seasons in the state, the modern firearm season for deer, will open statewide Saturday.
Last year, more than 91,000 people took part in the season, and game managers expect a similar number to be in the field this year.
In comparison, there were 19,672 bow hunters and 7,762 muzzleloader hunters who went after deer, and 38,407 hunters who went after elk deer that modern firearm season.
The prospects seem good for another good deer-hunting season.
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“Big game hunts also look promising this fall,” said Dave Ware, game manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Hunters had a pretty good season last year and with the mild winter that should be the case again this year.”
In District 11, covering Pierce and Thurston counties, hunters in 2013 saw a slight increase in the number of deer taken and biologists expect that trend to continue.
The weather will likely be a factor for opening weekend. Early forecasts are calling for partly cloudy skies with day-time high temperatures in the upper 60s. Similar conditions on weekends are partially to blame for reduced hunter success from 2010-13. If they can wait, hunters’ best option is to wait for cloudy, colder weather.
Some of the state’s best prospects for taking a black-tailed buck are in District 10 that covers Lewis, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. Top areas include Game Management Unit 530 (Ryerwood), 501 (Lincoln), 520 (Winston) and 505 (Mossyrock).
In District 17, covering Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, deer populations are expected to be similar in size to 2013.
For a complete district-by-district outlook for the upcoming season, go to wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/
Black-tailed deer: Saturday-Oct. 31
White-tailed deer: Opens Saturday-Oct. 24, except for Game Management Units 203-284, which close Oct. 19
Mule deer: Saturday-Oct. 19, except for GMUs 373, 382, 388 which close Oct. 24
Late hunts: There will be late season hunts in November for black- and white-tailed deer in certain GMUs.
There are multiple licenses that allow people to hunt deer. An adult resident deer-only license costs $44.90. A deer and elk combination license is $84.50. For details, go to the big-game hunting regulations pamphlet.
When purchasing a license, everyone born after Jan. 1, 1972, must show proof that they have successfully completed a hunter education class.
Anyone hunting deer during the modern firearm season is required to wear fluorescent hunter orange clothing. A minimum of 400 square inches must be worm above the waist and be visible from all sides. A hat alone does not meet this requirement.
Know the rules
Regulations will often vary from unit to unit. For details, check the big-game hunting pamphlet at wdfw.wa.gov/publications/