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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


November 10, 1998
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408

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Westside modern firearm elk season opens with high turnout

OLYMPIA--An unusually high number of hunters up to 30 percent more than last year turned out for the opening of the westside modern firearm elk season last weekend, according to field reports from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers and biologists.

This year regulations were changed to allow hunting for 3-point or better bull elk on the west side of the state. In addition, the two-day waiting period was dropped for permit applicants; all modern firearm elk hunters, whether they applied for a special permit or not, were able to start hunting on opening day last Saturday.

"These two changes have proven popular with hunters," said WDFW elk manager Rolf Johnson in reference to the surge in hunter turnout.

In the White River game management unit north of Mount Rainier National Park, WDFW biologists reported heavy hunting pressure and checked four branched bulls Saturday. The majority of the North Rainier elk herd, however, is still at the higher elevations in the park. If an early snowstorm hits this week, higher hunter concentrations can be expected both north and south of the park.

Turnout also was heavy in southwest Washington, WDFW enforcement officers and biologists reported. WDFW enforcement officers checked over 700 hunters in the field with 65 legal bulls. In the Willapa Hills area, agents checked 117 hunters with nine branched-bulls. In the Saint Helens elk herd area, agents and biologists checked 595 hunters with 73 elk. Most of these were large mature bull elk.

The westside modern firearm elk season remains open through Sunday, Nov. 15.