Deer Opener Roundup

It’s foggy here in bay city this morning, but weather pushing in could make for improved hunting conditions in Eastern Washington for the second and final weekend of mule deer season, Westside deer chasers whose hunt extends through Halloween and Oregon blacktail hunters whose Cascade hunt reopens this Saturday.

I’m chomping at the bit to get back to the Okanogan — though Amy is NOT VERY HAPPY about that — after I received a cell phone shot of my friend’s dad’s 5×5, shot early yesterday morning.

RICHARD BELL'S FIRST BUCK. (ERIC BELL)

But in the meanwhile, here are takes from outdoor reporters on how season has gone so far around Washington, starting with the Methow Valley News:

Scott Fitkin, regional biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Game said harvest reports and hunter inquiries indicate that the season appears to have gotten off to a start comparable to or a little better than last year. The numbers of bucks recorded at the check station and hunter information booth in the Winthrop Barn parking lot shows buck numbers running slightly ahead of last year while the number of hunters may have decreased marginally from last season.

The new location of the check station could account for that difference,” Fitkin said, “because we have relocated the station from the East Chewuch to the Barn this year.”

Fitkin added that access to all units is better this year than he can recall for some time because there is no snow at any elevation to interfere with access routes.

Another benchmark for hunter success has been the number of hides dropped by Katie Russell’s carcass skinning and hide processing shed located just north of the Twisp city limits and on the west side of Highway 20. Monday morning, as she was removing the hide from a buck that was shot by a Vancouver, Wash., hunter, Russell said she has received about 24 deer hides so far this season.

“Last year I received 30 for the season so chances are there will be more this year,” Russell said.

Another checkpoint for deer hunters is the Antlers Saloon and Cafe in Twisp, where for years now hunters have stopped by to have a photo taken of their bucks. As of Tuesday morning, 23 photos were stapled to the trophy wall. Out-of-town hunters accounted for 17 of the three-points-or-better bucks  …

The Seattle Times:

“Success was really dependent on location, and overall it was a pretty average weekend due to the nice climate,” said Jerry Nelson, with the state Fish and Wildlife game management division.

“We often see a slow start on first weekend of the west side blacktail hunt, and then we make up a lot of ground heading into the late buck season,” Nelson said. “Moving toward the east the Okanogan area looked pretty good (in the Methow and Winthrop areas).”

The Vail Tree Farm check station saw 821 hunters Oct. 16 with 18 spiked bucks, 15 branched bucks and one doe; and 715 hunters Oct. 17 with 11 spiked bucks, six branched bucks and two does.

Hunter turnout was strong in the Klickitat Wildlife area, but Nelson said success was slow. On Oct. 16, 143 Klickitat hunters in the Grayback area had seven deer.

In northeastern Washington at the Deer Park check station, 229 hunters on Oct. 17 had 15 white-tailed bucks and six mule deer bucks for a success rate of 9.3 percent.

In southeast Washington, the deer-hunting opener appeared to be fair last weekend with high hunter pressure in the Jasper Mountain area, and light pressure in the Prescott region.

In the Chelan and Douglas County areas, Nelson reports spotty success.

The Everett Herald:

Ware said the Chelan area was spotty and relatively slow. Some 80 hunters were checked over Saturday and Sunday with only 2 animals. “That’s a migratory situation,” Ware said, “and it always shows better later in the year.”

A new check station in Winthrop seemed to work out well for Okanogan County hunters, Ware said, and weekend results were pretty good. Hunting pressure was about the same as last year, and state personnel checked 31 deer and 1 bear. Ware said fawn recruitment in Okanogan mule deer herds has been improving, and so has the number of 3- and 4-point animals. Herds are “Healthy and growing,” he said.

In other hunting-related news, the Omak Chronicle has a troubling story about hunters held at gunpoint by a landowner:

Patrick M. Shivnen, 51, Tenino, was arrested late Sunday by Okanogan County sheriff’s deputies, Sheriff Frank Rogers said. He was booked into the county on suspicion of first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, harassment-threats to kill, unlawful imprisonment and theft of a firearm.

Around 3 p.m., two hunters – a 39-year-old Tacoma man and a 50-year-old Lake Stevens man – shot a grouse on Prior Loop Road, Rogers said. The two were not identified by name.

They told deputies they were confronted by Shivnen, who owns a cabin in the area and told the men they were trespassing.

“The two hunters stated that Shivnen repeatedly told them that he was going to kill them,” Rogers said.

EDITOR’S NOTE 10-21-10, 12:40 p.m.: Tabbing malfunctioned on an earlier version of this post.

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One Response to “Deer Opener Roundup”

  1. Backstraps For Dinner (Just Not For Me) « Northwest Sportsman Says:

    […] I caught and the bee sting I got over the first weekend, and my incessant posting about the stupid weather — not to mention my big story in the October issue of the magazine (yes, we do do a magazine, […]

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