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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 20, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Statewide waterfowl and deer hunting success and turnout down overall compared to last season

The statewide waterfowl and deer hunting seasons came out of the starting gate limping, and in some cases crawling on their hands and knees.

“For the most part it sounds like it was pretty slow all across the state,” said Dave Ware, the state Fish and Wildlife head game manager. “I looked at the check station results from the Vail Tree Farm, and they did kill some deer, but overall success rates were down. The same thing goes for the Okanogan, and they noted that effort was also down.”

On Saturday, Oct. 15, 809 hunters checked in 34 bucks and one doe on Weyerhaeuser timberlands in Thurston and Lewis counties compared to 821 hunters with 33 bucks and one doe last year. By Sunday, Oct. 16 the figure was 735 hunters with nine bucks.

The majority of Vail Tree Farm checks southeast of Olympia were spikes and two-point deer, and hunter effort was similar to last season.

In the northeastern area of Washington, severe back to back winters, a new four-point regulation implemented in two GMU’s and a tough economy were some of the factors that lead to a drop in hunter effort which was the lowest in the past decade.

At the check station on Highway 395 north of Spokane they saw 117 hunters with five whitetail bucks and one mule deer compared to 226 hunters with 15 last season.

Turnout in the Okanogan mule deer hunt was down by as much as 38 percent from last year, but success rates were about the same as last season from the Methow Valley check station.

As for waterfowl hunting, the Potholes area of Eastern Washington saw pitiful hunting success, and the same goes for areas closer the northern Puget Sound region probably due to the excellent blue bird days on the opener.

The upcoming inclement weather will hopefully draw more ducks down from the north, and places like the Skagit and Padilla bays will be places for hunters to set their sights on.

Reports also indicated a lot of snow geese were present on Fir Island, according to state Fish and Wildlife managers.

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