Mild Winter Bodes Well for Deer Hunters

Some of Washington’s most popular hunting seasons get under way in October, when hunters take to the field for deer, elk, ducks, geese and other game birds.

Washington State deerTens of thousands of hunters are expected to pursue deer during the modern-firearms season that begins Oct. 12 in areas throughout the state. Dave Ware, game manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife believes the deer and other game seasons will be good ones.

“A mild winter followed by a favorable spring benefitted wildlife species ranging from deer to pheasants,” he said. “Also, recent storms have helped to quiet hunters’ footsteps in the forest and blow leaves off the trees for better visibility. Those are all very positive signs for upcoming seasons.”

Speaking of visibility, all hunters using modern firearms — or in areas open to hunting with modern firearms — are required to wear hunter orange clothing as specified by state law. While that requirement does not apply to non-hunters, Ware suggests hikers, mushroom pickers and others in areas open to hunting wear bright, colorful clothing to maximize their visibility.

“Statistics show that hunting is a very safe sport, especially compared to most other outdoor activities,” Ware said. “Hunters are trained to make sure they have a safe shot, and non-hunters can help ensure their safety by making themselves visible in the field.”

Wet weather has eased campfire restrictions in many areas of the state, although hunters should check for any local regulations in planning a hunting trip, Ware said. Campfires are banned through Oct. 15 at WDFW wildlife areas in Benton, Franklin, Yakima, and Kittitas counties — and through Oct. 31 at the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant and Adams counties.

Other local fire restrictions are posted on the Department of Natural Resources’ website at http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx.

“There are areas of the state where wildfires still pose a real risk, and we are asking hunters, campers and others heading outdoors to be extremely cautious,” Ware said.

For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.

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