Deer tend to be struggling in many areas in the north and south of far-Eastern Washington from a variety of issues including a tough winter two years ago that hammered deer in the northeast, disease outbreaks that hit deer in the southeast and nagging habitat problems plaguing deer throughout the region.
But serious hunters still have good chances to bag a deer despite the overall trend, biologists say. Smaller pockets of habitat can have good numbers of deer, and big bucks.
For the second year, youths, seniors and disabled modern firearm hunters will be allotted less time to bag an antlerless whitetail – just four days, Oct. 21-24 – in designated units.
Muzzleloaders will also be limited to antlered whitetail bucks during their season and the same for archery hunters during the early season only, which started Sept. 1 and goes through Sept. 24.
The Snake River breaks offer some of the best mule deer hunting, although finding access can be difficult.
Mule deer hunting higher in the Blue Mountains is likely to be poor, said state biologist Pat Fowler.
In the northeast, mule deer have weathered recent bad winters better than the whitetails, said Dana Base, biologist in Colville.
While whitetail numbers have been trending downward, they had better production this year, which should translate to better hunting next year, he said.