OLYMPIA Some of the state’s most popular seasons get under way in October, when hunters take to the field for deer, elk, ducks, geese and other game birds.
Tens of thousands of hunters are expected to pursue deer during the modern-firearms season that begins Oct. 12 throughout the state.
Dave Ware, game manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said he expects that season - and others coming up this month - to be a good one.
“A mild winter followed by a favorable spring benefitted wildlife species ranging from deer to pheasants,” Ware 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 also 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 state Fish and 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 state 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.
While deer draw the largest number of hunters this month, hunting seasons also get under way Oct. 12 for ducks and - in many parts of the state - geese.
For information on seasons and rules, see the state Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ .
Meanwhile, this year’s record run of fall Chinook salmon has continued to move up the Columbia River, energizing fisheries in the region, including nearBrewster.
Coho salmon are also moving in increasing numbers into the lower Columbia River and many rivers flowing into Puget Sound.
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on line at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/ .