The best elk hunting in Eastern Washington will be in the Yakima region, where about half the state’s elk taken each year are tagged. Meanwhile, continued poor elk calf survival is stifling prospects for good hunting in the Blue Mountains.
But there’s at least one nugget of good news: Last winter was harder on hunters than the elk.
Because of difficulty of getting through deep snow to herds, the kill was 13 percent under that of 1995. So numerous bulls that would have been shot last year survived and will be available this year.
“Hunters successful in drawing a branch-antlered permit should have an excellent chance to find a bull this fall,” biologists said.
“Spike bulls will again supply ample opportunity for general-season hunters,” they added. Spike-only bull elk general-season hunting and branched-antler bull by permit only management will continue this fall for the fourth season in a row. The plan is to raise ratios to 15 antlered bulls per 100 cows. The ratios are near the goal in the Yakima management units.
“If this progress continues this year, hunters can expect more branch-antlered bull permits for the Yakima next year,” biologists said.
The Blue Mountains, once the mecca for 15,000 to 18,000 hunters, no longer offers good elk hunting.
“The elk population continues to suffer high calf mortality,” biologists said.
Best areas to hunt will be units 154, 162, 166, 169, 172 and 175.
Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties hold increasing numbers of elk, but hunting them is difficult.
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: E. Wash. elk seasons General: Oct. 25 or 27-Nov. 2. Late archery: Nov. 26-Dec 15. Muzzleloader: Oct. 4-10. Late muzzleloader: Nov. 26-Dec. 15.