Rocky Mountain elk aren’t the only game in Washington for elk hunters.
Spokane-area hunting guide Bruce Dean took his High Country Excursions business to Western Washington three years ago to pursue another species - the Roosevelt elk.
“They’re bigger bodied than the Rocky Mountain elk you find in Eastern Washington and Idaho,” he said. “But people from this area are just becoming aware of them.”
The increased interest is boosted by regulations intended to stop the decline of Rocky Mountain elk herds in Eastern Washington.
“Without a special permit, you can hunt only spike bulls south of the Spokane River,” he said. “On the Olympic Peninsula, it’s bulls-only, three-point minimum.”
Dean said surveys estimate about 2,800 elk in the Quinault Ranger District where he guides.
The terrain ranges from dense rain forest to second growth logging areas with waist-high ferns.
“If you’re up on horseback, you can easily see over the ferns,” he said.
Early muzzleloader seasons starts Oct. 5 on the Olympic Peninsula followed by the rifle season Nov. 1-13 and late archery Nov. 22-Dec. 15.