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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Washington hunting seasons kicking into high gear

Waterfowl hunters emerge from a pit blind to fire at geese landing in their spread of decoys. (Rich Landers)
Waterfowl hunters emerge from a pit blind to fire at geese landing in their spread of decoys. (Rich Landers)

HUNTING -- Washington has no single opening day for hunting.

Some bear seasons opened in August. Dove and forest grouse hunting started Sept. 1.

Early deer and elk archery seasons have had their days with late seasons to follow. 

Youth hunters got the first shot at upland birds and waterfowl and the geezers were allowed to rile up the pheasants with their special September season.

Early fall wild turkey season is underway in some units. Muzzleloader deer and elk hunters along with partridge and quail hunters got their start last weekend.

The most popular hunting seasons in Washington will get underway Oct. 15, when hunters with modern firearms will take to the field for deer and waterfowl.

“Last year’s deer harvest was the highest in our state since 2004, but drought took less of a toll this summer and overwinter survival was favorable in most areas,” said Jerry Nelson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife deer and elk manager.. 

“We expect another strong season,” said WDFW waterfowl manager Kyle Spragens. “Conditions point to a good year for brood production, which is great for waterfowl hunters as long as enough rain falls during hunting season."

Last season, nearly 550,000 waterfowl were harvested in Washington.  Duck—except scaup—coot, and snipe seasons open Oct. 15, as well as goose seasons in all goose management areas. 

The exceptions include dusky Canada goose hunting in Goose Management Area 2, which is closed from October through March. Brant season, determined by the midwinter waterfowl survey, is also currently closed, but will open on selected dates in January.

  • Pheasant hunting opens in Eastern Washington on Oct. 22.
  • Modern rifle elk season opens Oct 29.
  • Late buck white-tailed deer hunting in northeastern Washington opens Nov. 17.
  • Late turkey season opens in some units Nov. 20.
  • Other special seasons are sprinkled through this period.

WDFW’s 2016 Hunting Prospects reports include local and up-to-date information on what upcoming seasons may hold. The reports are written by WDFW district biologists and are organized by game species.

Information on access to more than one million acres of private land can be found at the Private Lands Hunting Access page.

Hunters can also find information on public or private lands open to hunting by visiting GoHunt, WDFW’s interactive mapping program.

While online sales for hunting licenses are currently disabled, hunters can purchase their licenses at WDFW license dealers or by calling WDFW’s licensing customer service number at (360) 902-2464.



Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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