You can breathe easy (but not too deep), fellas: Just because Washington is the earthly equivalent of Mordor at the moment does not mean hunting seasons are closed.
Yes, there are fires; yes, it’s smokey as hell; yes, the sun’s this weird pink-red orb thing; yes, the moon’s orange; yes, the gods have dandruff; yes, I’m hacking up chunks of the Norse Peak Wilderness, but …
“No Washington hunting seasons are closed due to wildfires.”
So says WDFW this afternoon after reporting Eastside offices have been getting calls from hunters concerned about the wildfires burning in the Cascades.
But as firefighters battle blazes like Jolly Mountain, Norse Peak and others, be aware that some lands have been closed to allow them to do their jobs — for which we’re all thankful for — as well as to ensure public safety.
Say, so that nice big buck, bull, bruin or blue grouse you just bagged — along with yourself — doesn’t get barbecued on the spot.
“For example, current access closures from the Jolly Mountain fire in Kittitas County affect the Teanaway Game Management Unit (GMU 335); closures from the Jack Creek fire just to the north in Chelan County affect access to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area (where some Sept. 15-25 High Buck Hunts traditionally occur); closures from the Norse Peak and American Ridge fires affect the Little Naches and Bumping River Game Management Units (GMUs 346 and 356); as the closures expand west of the Pacific Crest Trail into Pierce and King counties, the White River GMU (653) may also be affected,” says WDFW.
The Diamond Peak Fire closures in the Pasayten Wilderness will also affect this month’s High Buck Hunt.
The agency points out that there are many other options available across the state to most hunters.
Yeah, as someone who got locked out of my woods due to 2007’s Tripod Fire and had to hunt some utterly deerless terrain in Chelan County, that sucks, but it’s not the end of the world.
“Special draw permit holders unable to access any area for which a permit is valid, due to wildfire closures, will be contacted by WDFW about possible point restoration,” the agency adds, but notes that refunds aren’t available as tags are still good in general seasons.
Best way to stay on top of the changing conditions is through Inciweb.
It’s got daily updates, maps, photos, links, you name it to stay abreast of any restrictions or lifting of them as conditions moderate as we move out of this godawfully long, hot, dry summer. Eventually, I suppose.
In the meanwhile, remember, there’s a statewide burn ban, so no campfires and for god’s sake, no fireworks!