OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced two changes in hunting regulations for the fall hunting season that will affect hunting opportunities in two counties in northeastern Washington.
One change would restore the Sept. 1-30 archery season for mule deer bucks with at least three points on their antlers in game management units (GMU) 243-247. All of those GMUs are located in Chelan County except for a portion of 244 in Snohomish County.
Jerry Nelson, WDFW deer and elk section manager, said those areas were inadvertently dropped from the WDFW 2001 "Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules" pamphlet, but will be open to bow hunters as they were last year.
"The three-point buck-only archery season should have minimal impact on the mule deer herd and it was not the Department's intention to drop it," Nelson said.
The second change would eliminate a modern firearms season listed in the pamphlet for youth and disabled hunters in GMUs 243-247, Nelson said. That hunt, scheduled Oct. 13-21 for any species of deer of either gender, has been canceled due to concerns over the strength of the mule deer herd in those areas.
"The department made a concerted effort to expand opportunities for young and disabled hunters, but an any-deer hunt for mule deer in those units would not be appropriate at this time," Nelson said. "The local mule deer population is still recovering from the wildfires of 1994 and the harsh winter of 1996-97, and we need to keep a rein on hunting seasons in that area."
Other new youth and disabled hunter seasons listed in the pamphlet will proceed as scheduled, Nelson said. Check the hunting pamphlet for descriptions of GMUs, deer species and other rules.