September 28, 1995

Area Deer Herds Making Comeback Spokane Region Should Boast A 25 Percent Success Rate

Fenton Roskelley Correspondent Outdoors Editor Rich Landers Co
 

Three years after a devastating winter, many Eastern Washington deer herds are making a comeback.

The general buck season opens Oct. 14 in most areas of Eastern Washington.

Biologists are predicting that about one of every four persons who hunt in the Spokane region this fall will tag deer. One of every five who hunt in Okanogan County should be successful.

White-tailed deer populations are increasing in northeast Washington despite a fairly poor fawn crop last year.

“The reason,” the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says in a forecast, “is probably that a mild winter allowed for good survival.”

One of every five deer tagged in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties is a mule deer. Most muleys are taken in the Curlew and Boulder units of Ferry County, both of which are open only though Oct. 31 to protect the mule deer.

“This season cut-off has resulted in more older, bigger mule deer bucks throughout the northeast counties,” the forecast says.

However, the season for whitetails in northeastern Washington units 105-124 continues through Nov. 19.

Whitetail populations in Lincoln, Spokane and Whitman counties are healthy, with good buck-doe ratios.

“Deer are especially thriving in Whitman County’s unit 142 (Almota) and along the Snake River, where one of every three hunters were successful last year,” the forecast says. “The Steptoe unit of Whitman County also was productive, with a 28 percent hunter success. The Lincoln and Spokane County units averaged 20 percent hunter success.”

Asotin, Columbia, Garfield and Walla Walla counties are mule deer country.

Last year’s average hunter success rate for all southeast units was 22 percent. Biologists believe this year’s average should be about the same.

The top deer producers last year were units 145 (Mayview), 36 percent success, and 163 (Marengo), 34 percent. The success ratio for the Mayview unit was the highest in the state. Both units are expected to produce excellent hunting again this year.

The Okanogan deer herd was still recovering from losses during the 1992-93 winter when more severe weather hit last winter, biologists said. In the Methow Valley, deep snows caused deer to concentrate in the lowest areas.

The season in units 200-242 closes on Oct. 27.

Fewer than seven bucks per 100 does survived last year’s hunting season in Okanogan country, well below the management objective of 10 per 100. Not only will yearlings be scarce, but hunters will not see many older bucks.

Deer populations in the rest of the Columbia Basin seem to be thriving.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Hunters beware Hunters must be extremely careful when hunting buck deer in units 127 through 185 in southeastern Washington. Bucks must have at least three points on one side of the antlers to be legal targets in those units.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Fenton Roskelley Correspondent Outdoors editor Rich Landers contributed to this story.

This sidebar appeared with the story: Hunters beware Hunters must be extremely careful when hunting buck deer in units 127 through 185 in southeastern Washington. Bucks must have at least three points on one side of the antlers to be legal targets in those units.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Fenton Roskelley Correspondent Outdoors editor Rich Landers contributed to this story.


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