OLYMPIA— Elk hunting opens in western Washington tomorrow (Nov. 7) for modern firearm hunters, with harvest of three-point or better bulls allowed in most westside hunt areas.
On the east side of the state, where modern-firearm elk hunting opened last weekend, spike-bull-only harvest restrictions are in place this year, with branched bull hunting available by permit only. Opening weekend hunter pressure and success rates were good on Bethel Ridge in the Yakima tag area. Most hunters on Bethel Ridge were seeing elk, and about a dozen spike bulls were checked, according to WDFW enforcement officers. Hunting pressure appeared to be heavy in the Colockum, Naches and western Umtanum units. A large group of animals roaming the lower elevations of the South L T. Murray Wildlife Area created a lot of interest. Hunters reported seeing low numbers of spike bulls, which corresponds to the low calf production which followed the harsh 1996-97 winter. Hunter pressure and success was low in the Rimrock and Cowichee areas, according to WDFW enforcement patrols.
Elk hunters should meet with greater success when weather turns cold, said Rolf Johnson, WDFW deer and elk manager.
"Many of the elk in the high country do not come down to accessible areas until snow pushes them down," said Johnson. " A good snow storm should make a big difference in hunter success."