Fall marks the start of hunting seasons for deer, elk, waterfowl and upland game birds in many areas of Washington.
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. It can be accessed online at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/prospects.
“Our district wildlife biologists write these popular reports to give an in-depth look at what field conditions should look like this year,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “These prospects have a lot of useful information that can help brand new and experienced hunters plan their season and take note of new hunting rules established during the 2021 season setting process.”
Hunters can also use the hunting regulations web map, which allows them to find permits and general season hunts based on location, date, weapon choice, and more. Recent surveys indicate 2021 should be another good hunting year.
Aoude asks that hunters pay special attention to the following items for the upcoming season:
• Changes to forest grouse seasons: Forest grouse season now runs from Sept. 15 through Jan. 15, 2022, to protect brood hens with chicks.
• Wildfire impacts: Some hunting opportunities may be affected by emergency land closures. Check out WDFW's wildfire web page before heading out.
• Black bear identification test: Hunters who wish to harvest a bear in certain GMUs 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. 25 in Western Washington and Saturday, Oct. 2 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. 5 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.
These and other hunting regulations are described in WDFW’s Big Game Hunting pamphlet or Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet.
WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.