Washington’s 2017 general rifle deer season is officially in the books, and it appears to have ended well in the state’s northeast corner.
Among those who stopped at the voluntary check station along Highway 395 in Deer Park yesterday, one out of three hunters had a whitetail to show the biologists.
WDFW reports 124 hunters brought in 43 bucks, for a near-35-percent success rate.
It’s hard to compare this year to last because of how the final day of season falls on the calendar — it’s always the 19th, which this year fell on Sunday — but for the record, 2016’s last check station at Deer Park operated Nov. 13 and recorded nine deer for 74 hunters.
WDFW did run a stop at Chattaroy on Highway 2 on last year’s last day, a Saturday, and checked 79 hunters with 17 deer.
“Even though it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, we think it was a pretty good last weekend of the season this year, in terms of participation and success,” says agency spokeswoman Madonna Luers in Spokane.
Buzz Ramsey and a friend were among the hunters poking around far Eastern Washington’s woods as the late rifle whitetail hunt came to a close.
For the famed angler who does his share of hunting as well, it was a bit of an exploratory trip to the Newport area, one that yielded knowledge for future seasons, as well as venison this winter for his hunting partner, fishing guide Bill Harris.
“New to the area, we spent the first two days hunting too high in elevation, where the cover was thick, deer scarce and snow deep but moved lower where Bill tagged a buck the day prior to the season close,” Ramsey reported. “Although I saw a two small bucks the last morning, I was unable to get a shot. It was a fun hunt though and we learned a lot about the whitetail hunting opportunities in this part of the state.”
On the west side of the state, the late blacktail hunt wrapped up on the 19th too, but there are no check stations like at Deer Park or Chattaroy. A friend who was out two of the four days struck out, but others found bucks, judging by fresh threads at Hunting-Washington.
While modern firearms season is now over, late archery and muzzleloader seasons for mule deer, whitetails and blacktails have begun or will start this week.