Hunters with modern firearms will take to the field for deer hunting beginning Saturday (Oct. 15), and the outlook is good in north central Washington.
“Deer hunting opportunities should be good in many parts of the state,” said Jerry Nelson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) deer and elk manager in a press release. “Last year’s deer harvest was the highest in our state since 2004, but drought took less of a toll this summer and over-winter survival was favorable in most areas.”
In their outlook report for District 6, Okanogan County, WDFW wildlife biologists Scott Fitkin and Jeff Heinlen say that “prospects for mule deer look favorable this year, although harvest will likely be lower than last season’s 20-plus year high.”
Better-than-average recruitment in 2015 should translate into a good crop of available 2.5-year-old bucks, and observed escapement of 16 bucks per 100 does last December means hunters should have decent opportunities to harvest older age class bucks,” they said.
District 6 supports perhaps the largest migratory mule deer herd in the state, and Okanogan County “has long been prized by hunters for its mule deer hunting. The district also supports significant numbers of white tailed deer,” Fitkin and Heinlen said.
Despite the massive fires of the previous two summers, “district deer populations are doing fine, thanks in part to greater-than-normal fall green-up and a mild winter in 2014-15, and near-average fawn recruitment over the last two winters combined,” they said. Mule deer are abundant throughout the county, with the highest densities occurring in the Methow Valley and along the divide between the Methow and Okanogan watersheds, Fitkin and Heinlen said.
For more information on WDFW’s 2016 hunting prospects for District 6, visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/2016/district06.pdf.