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Elk Hunting In Washington
I am thinking about transferring to the Olympic Area of the state from WV. I previously lived in Colorado for many years and elk hunted in Colorado for all but two of the past twenty years and have mainly hunted wilderness areas. I'm ready to move back west from the east coast and have the possibility to move to Washington State. As an elkaholic, elk hunting plays an important part of this decision. I'd appreciate if someone could help with a couple questions about elk and deer hunting and tag opportunities without having to try to figure out another states regs. Are elk and deer tags available in some units over the counter for residents? If you have to draw, what are the usual wait between tags? Are tags available and what is the hunting like on around Olympic? Any opinions on hunting Washington in comparison to hunting Colorado. I lived in Gunnison and have hunted the West Elks, Weminuchee, and San Jauns extensively.
Thanks for any help
All deer and elk hunting is over the counter. There are special permit hunts to apply for as well. Washington is a choose your weapon state, so if you want to hunt archery for elk that is the only season you will be able to hunt. Also you have to choose a side of the state east or west. Eastside elk hunting is usually spike or cow, while the westside is 3 point or better(i think some units also have cow opportunities as well) Elk hunting on the westside from what I hear can be crowded and early season can be subject to fire closures on timber company lands where lots of guys hunt. One last thing is that archery elk is broken into an early and late season. Early season starts sept 3rd and goes to the 15th. Late season starts around thanks giving and goes into the first week of December.
Deer hunting is OTC and you can hunt anywhere in the state, blacktails, white tails or muledeer.
Terrain on the West side is very brushy due to the heavy rainfall. Mostly fir and vine maple. Eastside is more open. Pines are more prevalent. Usually starts in early September where the eastside can get pretty warm during the day.
West side is pretty much blacktails, whereas the eastside is Mule and Whitetailed deer
Thanks for the replies. Short Sept elk season compared to Colorado. Usually peak of rut generally in mid Sept in Co.
The rut here is the same, mid September. A very short season indeed.
No omparson to other states seasons. Short and early. 13 days, starting the day after Laborday. It takes about 4=6 yers per bull tag draw on the eastside, for raocky mountain elk. The bull cow ratio is much better than 10 years ago with draws. But you have to wait. You can put in for multiweapon tags,which you get about every three years. Then you can hunt in all three seasons. Lots and lots of hunters compared to other states. Do not move here with elk hunting as a high priority.
Yes, Washington is not the best elk hunting state. The elk have been severely mismanaged starting about six or seven years ago. Used to see a lot more animals. Now, very few and the season where I hunt has been reduced to spike only. Haven't seen any for the last three years.
If you know where to go it can be great. I like the West side personaly and have done well .
Good information from the fellas so far but here are a few things not covered:
This year the season will start the Saturday after Labor Day (proposed anyway and confirmed in March meeting) and go for 13 days. So Sep 12th to the 24th. This is the best season in quite some time!
Every 3 years a 3 year season package is lobbied for by the user groups. It is less science based and more who is the most organized and lobbies the most.
The next couple of years will be similar but start a day or two earlier as the calendar rolls. We had Sep 1 to 15th, Sep 8-20th, Tuesday after Labor day start, and an October season since I have been around and paying attention.
Most of the east side is draw only for bull branch antlered bulls and archery group has continued to be allocated a smaller and smaller percentage. We are working to change that too.
The west side is 3 point or better for the most part; also the west side has a better late season in my opinion but you have to choose east or west for the entire year unless you get the multiseason permit.
I want to hunt Colorado and would love to pick your brain about some wilderness areas!