600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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October 07, 1997
Contact: Margaret Ainscough (360) 902-2408

Deer hunting opens Saturday

OLYMPIA -- Southwest Washington is expected to provide some of the best deer prospects when the annual modern firearm hunting season opens Saturday.

More than 160,000 hunters are expected to turn out across the state for the Oct. 11 opening day. They can expect good results in western Washington, but not on the east side of the state where deer still are recovering from last year's severe winter, said Rolf Johnson, deer and elk program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Besides loss of animals from last year's severe winter, the three-point-minimum restriction and shortened season will greatly reduce harvests on the east side," said Johnson. "Both measures are designed to improve the buck ratio and increase the population size."

The Olympic Peninsula and some areas of the Puget Sound basin, along with Southwest Washington, are expected to top the list of prime deer hunting spots. Hunters are reminded that permission from landowners is required to hunt on private property.

Even though landowners in semi-rural areas are experiencing heavy deer browsing on gardens and ornamental plantings, hunting in these areas is difficult because the lands are private, Johnson said.

Hunters should consult the WDFW Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules and the 1997 Hunting Prospects pamphlets before going hunting. They are available at WDFW headquarters and regional offices. Some of the regulations stated in the pamphlet have been modified by the Fish and Wildlife Commission since the pamphlet was published. Rule modifications in eastern Washington include:

  • For mule deer, hunting is restricted to bucks with at least three antler points, except in Game Management Unit 281 where modern firearm hunters also may take antlerless deer.
  • For whitetail deer, any buck may be taken except in game management units 127 to 154, 162 to 186, 203 and 231, where hunting is restricted to bucks with at least three-point antlers.
For more information on hunting rules contact Rolf Johnson at (360) 902-2519 or Wildlife Management at (360) 902-2515. Some hunting information also is posted on the WDFW web site at: www.wdfw.wa.gov