Wildlife Program, 360-902-2515
Sam Montgomery, 360-688-0721
OLYMPIA – September marks the start of hunting seasons for deer, elk, waterfowl, and upland game birds in many areas of the state. To help hunters have a successful hunting season, The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has released its annual Hunting Prospects, which provide guidance and hunting information for each district.
“The department’s district wildlife biologists compiled these popular reports to serve as a resource for hunters,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “The Hunting Prospects contain a lot of useful information and provide a good place to start planning your season whether you’re an experienced hunter or a beginner.”
WDFW has also launched a hunting regulations web map, which allows hunters to find permit and general season hunts based on location, date, weapon choice, and more. The web map is available at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.
Although some game populations are still recovering from the harsh winter of 2016-17, recent surveys indicate 2019 should be another good year of hunting.
The state’s waterfowl populations continue to rebound from lows in 2015, and aerial surveys and banding operations indicate a good hatch for mallard and Canada geese in Washington this season, said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl manager.
“Weather is the key factor that is impossible to anticipate. Hunters will have a first chance on local birds until the northern birds are ushered into the state from Alaska and Canada by low pressure weather systems,” Spragens said.
Aoude asks that hunters pay special attention to the following items for the upcoming season:
- Fall black bear general hunting season: Fall black bear general seasons are now open Aug.1 and the bag limit has been changed to two bears per license year statewide.
- Black bear identification test: Hunters who wish to harvest a bear in GMUs 101, 105, 108, 111, 113, 117, 203, 204, 209, 215, 418, and 426 (eastern Washington) must first pass the bear identification test (through the WILD system) with a score of 80 percent or better.
- Youth-only waterfowl hunting dates: Saturday, Sept. 21 in western Washington and Saturday, Sept. 28 in eastern Washington. Allowable species during these dates are: ducks (including scaup), coots, and Canada and white-fronted geese. These dates give young hunters a better opportunity for success.
- Youth, veterans, and active military personnel waterfowl hunting day: Saturday, Feb. 1 will provide an opportunity for youth, veterans, and active military personnel to experience hunting during the late season with an expanded list of allowable species.
- Southwest Canada goose mandatory harvest reporting notice: Hunters must fill out the required harvest record card information for any goose taken in Goose Management Area 2 – Coast and Inland (Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, Pacific, and Grays Harbor counties).
These and other hunting regulations are described in WDFW’s Big Game Hunting pamphlet or Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet, available at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.