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.