With few exceptions, deer hunting will be tough in Eastern Washington this fall because of last winter’s unusually severe weather.
“Whitetails in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties suffered considerable losses,” state biologists said in the annual Hunting Prospects pamphlet. “The combination of high hunter success rates in 1996 and losses over winter will result in lower success on bucks this fall.”
Deer in the southeast corner didn’t suffer significant losses, the biologists said, but the “availability of legal bucks (three-point minimum) will be down considerably because of the poor fawn crop in 1995.”
Hunter success rate in the Blue Mountains region was 25 percent last year. Locating a legal buck will be much more difficult this year and hunter success rate is expected to drop to about 15 percent.
Deer in Lincoln, Spokane and Whitman counties didn’t suffer significantly last winter. Biologists predict good whitetail deer hunting in game management units 130, 133, 136 and 142.
Okanogan and Chelan county mule deer herds are well below population objectives.
Surveys indicated that nearly 85 percent of last year’s fawns did not make it through the winter.
Major changes in regulations will result in a record-low buck kill in the Okanogan country, biologists predict. The general modern firearm season for mule deer has been cut to nine days.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Hunting fees compared
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: E. Wash. deer seasons General mule deer: Oct. 11-19. Northeast whitetail: Oct. 11-24. Archery deer: Various September seasons. Late archery deer: Generally Nov. 26-Dec. 15. Muzzleloader deer: Oct. 4-10. Late muzzleloader deer: Nov. 26-Dec. 15.