Washington's young hunters can hit the fields early again this year for special waterfowl and upland bird hunting opportunities.
Hunters 15 years of age and under can hunt ducks, Canada geese and coots statewide Sept. 25, and can hunt pheasants and quail in eastern Washington on Sept. 25 and 26.
In western Washington hunters 15 years of age and under, along with those 65 years of age and older, can hunt pheasants from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.
The general hunting season for most of those species opens Oct. 9. The general western Washington pheasant season opens Oct. 2.
Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult at least 18 years of age. They must also have appropriate licenses, stamps (including a free state migratory bird stamp–no federal stamp is required) or permits, and abide by hunting hours, bag limits, and other rules.
The western Washington sites where pheasants will be released for the youth and senior week of hunting are: Lake Terrell Wildlife Area in Whatcom County, Skagit Wildlife Area in Skagit County, the Stillwater Unit of the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area in King County, Fort Lewis in Pierce County, Scatter Creek and Skookumchuck release sites in Thurston County, Belfair (Collins Lake) site in Mason County, Raymond Airport in Pacific County, Kosmos (near Morton) in Lewis County, Ostrander and George Taylor sites in Cowlitz County, and Vancouver Lake in Clark County.
Pheasants will be released for the Sept. 25 and 26 youth hunt at the following eastern Washington sites: the Sunnyside and Wenas/South L.T. Murray Wildlife Areas in Yakima County, the Ringold site in Franklin county, Gloyd Seeps and Winchester Lake Wildlife Areas in Grant County, Linda Lake south of Othello in Adams County, the Kline and Hegdahl parcels in Okanogan County, Swakane Canyon in Chelan County, Sherman Creek in Ferry County, Fishtrap Lake and Olsen-Dodd property (near Hawk Creek) in Lincoln County, and along the Snake River in Walla Walla, Columbia, and Garfield counties.
"These early youth hunts are a way to encourage new generations to join the ranks of the state's staunchest advocates for protection of the environment in general, and wildlife management specifically," said WDFW game division manager Dave Ware.
Washington hunters pay for almost 15 percent of the state's fish and wildlife management, even though they make up less than 5 percent of the state's population. They also add almost $200 million to the state's economy each year through hunting-related expenditures, and hundreds volunteer their time and skills to wildlife enhancement projects year-round.