Cougar hunting in Washington made a big transition starting last year that’s worth reviewing before heading afield this fall.
Gone is the Aug. 1 cougar-hunting inaugural followed by a long season for modern rifle hunters.
Cougar hunting dedicated to archers and muzzleloaders was introduced last fall as part of substantial change in hunting management for the top predators.
Instead of the statewide general approach, cougar populations are being managed in smaller, discrete populations in 13 zones.
The archery-only cougar season runs Sept. 1-24.
Muzzleloaders get their shot at mountain lions Sept. 25-Oct. 15.
The any-weapon season in most zones runs Oct. 16-Dec. 31, although there are significant differences depending on area.
Most significantly, the any- weapon season for hunting cougars in Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties is Oct. 31-Nov. 30.
This shorter season for modern firearms makes way for the special hound-hunting season for cougars authorized in these counties by the Washington Legislature.