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Hunting rule oversight allows camouflaged turkey hunters in field during rifle deer season


Hunters who did not tag two turkeys in Eastern Washington during the spring will be eligible for the fall.
 (File/ / The Spokesman-Review)
Hunters who did not tag two turkeys in Eastern Washington during the spring will be eligible for the fall. (File/ / The Spokesman-Review)

HUNTING -- Because of an apparent oversight in Washington's 2016 and 2017 fall turkey hunting seasons, camouflaged hunters could find themselves in the field during the general modern rifle deer season.

Washington seasons for turkey hunters as well as archery and muzzleloader big-game hunters who are allowed to wear camouflage are normally separate from modern rifle seasons, in which hunters are required to wear hunter orange clothing for safety.

"A robust turkey population providing additional opportunity in specified units open through the modern firearm season," said Kevin Robinette, Fish and Wildlife Department regional wildlife manager in Spokane.

However, it appears to be an oversight that fall turkey hunters are not included in rule requiring small game hunters to wear hunter orange during portions of seasons that overlap with modern firearms seasons, he said.

The hunter orange regulations says,  "It is unlawful to hunt bear, cougar, bobcat, raccoon, fox, coyote, rabbit, forest grouse or hare during those times and in those places open to the taking of deer or elk during a modern firearm season, unless the hunter is wearing fluorescent hunter orange clothing."

Robinette said it appears that "turkey" was left out of the list.

Department wildlife managers were looking at the issue and possible options when it was brought to their attention on  Wednesday.

The fall turkey season in specified Game Management Units opened Saturday, Sept. 23, and runs through Oct. 31.  The hunter orange requirement wouldn't be an issue until Oct. 14, opening day of the general modern firearm deer season in Eastern Washington.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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