OLYMPIA -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today adopted the
1998 fall hunting seasons and regulations for deer, elk and other big game species.
For the first time ever, commissioners approved an antlerless only moose hunt in
the Spokane area for young hunters this year. Wildlife biologists had recommended
commissioners approve the antlerless only hunt because the state's moose population
continues to expand in northeast Washington.
Young hunters who participate in the hunt and are successful will not forfeit their
right to hunt for moose in future years. Under present regulations, hunters are allowed
to take only one moose in their lifetime.
Among notable changes enacted by the commission was the elimination of the
requirement that modern firearm hunters obtain a special applicant elk tag if they want
to apply for special permits. All modern firearm hunters will now be able to hunt the
entire nine-day elk season regardless of whether they applied for a special permit.
Last year, Commissioners added a northeast Washington elk tag hunting area,
separate from the Blue Mountains elk tag area. They also changed the "spike only" rule
for western Washington elk hunting to a "3-point antler minimum" rule. That means
areas previously designated as branch bull permit hunting areas are now 3-point only
for all hunters in 1998.
In the White River hunting area adjacent to Mt. Rainier National Park (Game
Management Unit 472), commissioners adopted a 3-point minimum rule for both
archers and modern firearm hunters. Previously, the area was designated permit only
for all hunters.
Commissioners also eliminated all antlerless deer permits in central and north-
central Washington as a continuation of efforts to recover deer populations impacted
by the severe 1996-97 winter which resulted in high mortality rates in deer populations.
In all of western Washington and four hunting areas in the Wenatchee area
(Game Management Units 304, 306, 308 and 316), commissioners increased from one
to two the number of black bears that hunters may take annually. The increase was
recommended by wildlife biologists because of increase in population and incidence of
bear damage complaints.
Hunters should consult the department's hunting seasons and rules pamphlet for
complete details. The publication is expected to be available by mid-May. The permit
application deadline for all species is June 12.