DEER HUNTING – Apparently there was plenty of elbow room in northeastern Washington for the opening weekend of the general rifle deer hunting season.
A combination of the economy and the new four-point minimum restriction in Units 117 and 121 appears to be doing a number on the area’s hunting -- and the number for hunter participation is clearly lower.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department check station at Deer Park recorded the lowest counts on record for both deer and hunters for the opening of the modern firearm deer season, reports Dana Base, district wildlife biologist in Colville.
Altogether 117 hunters were interviewed with 7 deer (antlered bucks only) including 6 whitetails and 1 mule deer. Hunter success on whitetails was 5.9%. Last year’s numbers were 226 hunters and 15 white-tailed bucks checked for a success rate of 6.6%.
Units 117 and 121 have traditionally been among the most productive deer hunting units in the state. A Colville-area sportsmen's group petitioned the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission last year to enact the four-point minimum for whitetail bucks. State wildlife biologists advised against the rule, but the commission approved it, starting with this year's season.