Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife managers in an effort to reduce deer numbers on wildlife habitat and agricultural areas in the Methow and Okanogan ravaged by the Carlton Complex fire say they will proceed cautiously to issue more controlled hunt permits.
However, instead of calling new lotteries, the department has extended the issuance of controlled hunt permits out of the regular annual special hunt permit application process this past spring to hunters who previously applied but where not drawn for special hunt permits.
Unsuccessful applicants as they appear on drawing results lists who entered hunt drawing categories including youth, senior, hunters with disabilities and antlerless that involve game management units 224 (Pearrygin), 239 (Chilliwist) and 242 (Alta) will be called and awarded the extra permits.
Though plantlife is already regrowing on the breadth of scorched lands _ close to 400 square miles _ in the Okanogan, biologists say it can be difficult to gauge the habitat regeneration rate and modulate deer herd impacts on both natural environs and nearby developed agricultural lands.
However after s urveying burn areas, they conservatively estimate that a seven percent reduction in the overall deer herd size over the next two fall/winter periods will enable range vegetation, especially bitterbrush and other native shrubs to recover and allow the remaining deer to get through the winters in good condition.
Department officials say, the Mule Deer Foundation's Washington affiliates are among organizations contributing to immediate habitat restoration efforts.
Both valley's winter a cumulative estimated total of 14,000 mule deer, a combination of lower elevation dwelling or resident deer and migratory animals that summer in mountain areas.
Wildlife managers say the issuance of the additional controlled hunt permits will accomplish the lowering of herd numbers and they do not anticipate having to expand any other currently scheduled hunting seasons or conduct new drawings.
Another message WDFW wishes to convey is that as devastating as this summer's range fires and subsequent slides were, substantial areas of North Central Washington were untouched and will provide good recreational and hunting opportunities this fall.