Washington Deer News

Rare deer still struggle April 26, 2016 Washington, Chinook Observer
... trying to save the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer since the late 1960s, with mixed results...  while their range has expanded somewhat, their small population size, fragmented habitat and low-quality food sources are hurting chances of recovery... The Roseburg population includes at least 6,000 animals ...

Know the laws before claiming road-kill deer April 26, 2016 Washington, Eatonville Dispatch
... It is permissible to salvage and transport a deer or elk that is accidentally killed by a motor vehicle collision, except for any deer killed by a motor vehicle in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties... A salvage permit must be obtained from the department within 24 hours ...

Port Townsend, Deer census in Port Townsend tallies 230 animals in 30 minutes April 15, 2016 Washington, Peninsula Daily News
...  Volunteers counted 230 deer within the Port Townsend city limits during a half-hour census of the population.  About 60 people participated in the count that began at 7 a.m. Saturday, with 13 areas designated and divided for each group... Port Townsend School of Woodworking Executive Director Tim Lawson spent a lot of time developing the website ... 

Colmbian white-tailed deer April 12, 2016 WDFW News
     State wildlife managers are seeking public input on their recommendations to keep Columbian white-tailed deer ... on Washington’s endangered species list...  The public can comment through July 9 on the listing recommendations .. The draft review for the Columbian white-tailed deer is available online ... 
     Native to the Pacific Northwest, Columbian white-tailed deer can be found in two isolated populations. The larger population (roughly 6,000 deer) occurs in Douglas County, Oregon, while the second group of deer occupies the northern shores and islands of the lower Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. Both populations were listed as endangered in 1973 by the federal government, which has since removed the southern Oregon population of white-tailed deer from the list.
     The Columbian white-tailed deer was listed as endangered by Washington state in 1980. The population of these deer has fluctuated from a low of 545 in 2002 to 966 in 2015, when the federal government began the process of downlisting the Columbia River’s population of Columbian white-tailed deer to threatened status. Much of the upland prairie that Columbian white-tailed deer prefer has been lost, despite activities to protect and restore habitat....

Wildlife Commission approves roadkill rules, limits deer and elk baiting April 11, 2016 Washington, Longview Daily News
... Starting in July, people will be able to legally salvage elk — but not deer — killed by motor vehicles in Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark counties... measure is not designed to prohibit the use of bait when hunting deer and elk, but rather to curb its excesses,

Baiting restrictions adopted for hunting Washington big game; roadkill salvage OK'd April 8, 2016 The Spokesman Review
... After more than two years of contentious discussion, the commission voted to limit bait use to no more than 10 gallons. Previously there were no limits on the amount of bait, such as apples, that could be dumped to attract deer or elk.  Some hunters had proposed that Washington come in line with most states to prohibit baiting...

... Buck deer taken in antler restricted game management units (GMUs) must meet minimum antler point requirements. Minimum antler point requirements are antler points on one side only. Eye guards are antler points when they are at least one inch long ... There were 17 comments that were opposed to the deer general season recommendations. The most frequent theme among those writing in opposition to the changes in this WAC expressed concerns about not enough late season opportunity, too much opportunity being offered, not agreeing with consistency between mule deer and white-tailed deer seasons, and not agreeing with the calendar date adjustments that happen every year which influence season length...

Port Townsend, Deer count tallies 238 in Port Townsend  April 6, 2016 Washington, Port Townsend Leader
... first-ever Port Townsend Deer Count spotted 238 ...  More than 60 volunteers took part in the count, from 7 to 7:30 a.m. on that Saturday morning. Each counter was given a photocopied map of their section of town, and a tally sheet on which to note the exact time and location (by address) of each deer they saw ...
 
Commission should review its role before vote on baiting April 4, 2016 Washington, The Spokesman-Review
... The commission's job ... is to direct the agency charged with looking after the welfare and sustainability of our state's wildlife while providing reasonable wildlife recreation... But baiting is not in the best interests of wildlife... The Fish and Wildlife Department already has adopted a policy to discourage the feeding of big game because of the documented potential to concentrate animals and spread disease ...

... scheduled to meet this week ...  comment on proposed changes in rules for deer, elk ...

Baiting, The Fish and Wildlife Commission may make it legal to take home roadkill elk March 31, 2016 Washington, Longview Daily News
... baiting for deer and elk hunting is allowed ...  survey of deer hunters, 59 percent either opposed or strongly opposed baiting for deer... The proposed changes to state hunting regulations are available for public review ...

... In the video [on his Facebook page], you can see the yearling black tail deer stuck and struggling on a muddy hillside. The heavy equipment operator jumped into action, trying to clear mud from around it. Finally, he delicately scoops it up in his bucket,...

Hard winter will impact hunting opportunities March 22, 2016 Washington, Yakima Herald
... the heavy-snow winter of 2015-16 will take a toll on elk and deer populations ... The Colockum and Yakima elk herds have both been above management objectives... Deer populations, on the other hand, for several years have been nowhere near what hunters would like to see in this part of the state. And they may be going down even more in the near future...

Washington Deer Hunters Had Best-in-a-decade Hunt In 2015 March 19, 2016 Northwest Sportsman Magazine
... just over 40,000 blacktail, muley and whitetail bucks and does were killed during 2015’s general season and permit seasons ... The info comes from a presentation being made later today by Jerry Nelson, WDFW’s statewide deer and elk manager, to the Fish and Wildlife Commission...

Port Townsend, Counting our city deer herd March 16, 2016 Washington, Port Townsend Leader
... Volunteers, led by a team leader for each zone, are to walk or bicycle the streets ... This deer count is only that – a count, to see how many there are, not to decide what to do about them.  "I think of the deer as kind of a mascot for Port Townsend," ...

Elk damage Central Washington orchards March 2, 2016 Washington, Capital Press
...Elk-orchard problems on the east slopes of the Cascades are no more pronounced than in a normal snow year, Brown said. Deer, not elk, are more of a problem in the Okanogan where they are eating ranchers’ haystacks because so much vegetation was burned in wildfires the past two summers ...

These undercover robot animals are helping in the hunt for poachers February 24, 2106 Wasghington, Washington Post
... The Humane Society of the United States provides remote-controlled animal decoys to law enforcement officers to catch poachers ... A deer costs about $2,000 ...  Wolslegel — who does not hunt but instead raises deer in his backyard – makes the dummies out of hides acquired legally from hunters ...

... “Deer are by far the most common prey,” ... second-most common prey is moose, which account for about 22 to 28 percent of the animals killed by wolves...  about .3 kills per pack per day during the summer grazing season ...  equals one kill every 3.3 days, or about 110 kills per year ... “To put this into perspective, roughly 350 deer are killed on the highway in the Methow Valley every year,”

Deer weathering Methow’s snowy winter February 12, 2016 Washington, Methow Valley News
... The Methow Valley’s resident mule deer herd is enduring a winter with lots of snow and reduced winter range as a result of wildfires that destroyed vegetation on thousands of acres during the past two summers ... On average, about 52 percent of the mule deer fawns die during winter....

... Residents ... expressed concern after seeing half-eaten deer in the area, worried a cougar had left the deer ... biologists think its coyotes ... he drought over the summer pushed wildlife into urban areas searching for water and food...

Spokane Valley Fire crews rescue deer caught in a net February 5, 2016 Washington, The Spokesman-Review
... The deer’s antlers had become entangled in an old driving range net, which in turn had become wrapped around a metal pole ...

Use Prescribed Fire as a Tool or Wildfire Will Rule, Expert Says December 14, 2015 Washington, Emergency Management
... Prescribed burning alone in shrub-steppe grasslands can reduce the intensity of wildfires and reduce their impact on habitat for critters including prairie grouse and deer ... Many timbered areas can be better protected – and wildlife habitat can be enhanced – by using loggers to thin timber and then by following the work with a prescribed burn ...

New wolf pack appears in Washington November 24, 2015 The Seattle Times
... The confirmation of the newest pack brings Washington’s total minimum number of packs to 17, nearly all of them east of the Cascade ... The state most recently counted the number of wolves at a minimum of 68 in Washington in 2014, up from 27 just four years earlier.

... nearly half a dozen states ... have proposed an increase in cougar hunting quotas for a variety of reasons, including the desire to reduce human conflict, protect livestock or increase native deer populations. ...The harvest rate is currently set at 12 to 16 percent of the population. Wielgus’s research in Washington, along with other studies in Montana, has suggested that cougar populations tend to increase at a rate of 12 percent ...

Electronic device helps find deer that have been shot November 7, 2015 Washington, The Spokesman-Review
... When big whitetails are shot with an arrow, they seldom fall dead in their tracks. They run ... The Game Vector system relies on a miniature transmitter housed in an aerodynamic module that attaches to the arrow...

Stray Bullet Bulldozes Into Deer Park Home November 6, 2015 Washington, KHQ Right Now
... "There could be 40 deer out there at a time," ... But, the preferred peace on this Deer Park property was punctured when a hunter's bullet bulldozed into their home...

Blue Mountains wolf was approaching cabin when shot, killed October 25, 2015 Washington, The Spokesman-Review
...  the wolf's teeth were worn and broken, it had an infected gash on its back and was infested with mites. The wolf also had healed-over wounds from previously being peppered with bird shot.  OR14 had been documented feeding on deer that had been dying from the region's bluetongue outbreak...

Officially a 5x6, or 6-point counting 1 inch eyeguards. This mule deer was captured on camera in Eastern Washington. He carries a 23" spread. - October 25, 2015


Deer hunting gets off to a strong start October 22, 2015 Washington, The Herald of Everett 
... “The number of hunters in the field, as counted at the Deer Park station, has been declining steadily since about 2006,” ... The state Department of Fish and Wildlife's check station out of Winthrop tallied 101 modern firearm hunters with 39 mule deer, about one for every 21/2 hunters and above average for the area ...

Deer check stations indicate hunters fared better on opening weekend October 20, 2015 Washington, The Spokesman Review
... Four or five of the 17 whitetail bucks checked on Sunday would not have been legal to shoot last year under the four-point minimum in units 117 and 121.  No more than a couple of the 15 antlerless whitetails taken by youth and seniors checked on Sunday would have been legal on opening weekend last year...

Cougars spotted on security cam in Mount Spokane October 20, 2015 Washington, KREM.com
... The department adds there are roughly 2,500 cougars hanging out across Washington and it is the deer they are stalking. ..

The Columbian 
... There are about 900 Columbian white-tailed deer around the Lower Columbia River. That’s a 10-year high, and about double the historic low point when the species was listed as endangered ... a private landowner would have more options to haze or relocate the animal ... A special rule proposed with the downlisting would also allow states, tribes and others more flexibility in moving the deer ... [More information from U.S. Fish and Wildlife,  use this link to view the proposal and instructions on how to submit comments]

Access fees result in few hunters -- but they do better for deer October 15, 2015 Washington, Longview Daily News
... Hunters may have groaned when they paid $150 for a permit to hunt on Weyerhaeuser Co. land last year. But ... in areas where Weyerhaeuser required a permit, the number of hunters declined. But their success rate went up... “They felt like it was uncrowded hunting,” he said. “Among those who chose to participate that way, it’s pretty positive.”...

Vashon-Maury Island, Annual limited deer hunt will close Island Center Forest for two weeks October 13, 2015 Washington, The Beachcomber
... roughly 200 acres of the Island Center Forest recreation area will close to all but permitted deer hunters for two weeks... Last year, 70 hunters registered for the hunt, and four deer were culled...

Drought driving deer to lower elevations October 9, 2015 Washington, Longview Daily News
... in the six-county Southwest Washington region, buck harvests are remarkably consistent from year to year, generally not exceeding or dropping more than 10 percent annually from the multi-year average.  The state Department of Fish and Wildlife rates deer populations as “generally stable’’ in low-elevation units ...

Hunting season outlook surprisingly good October 8, 2015 Washington, The Herald of Everett
... The Okanogan/Methow district supports the largest migratory mule deer herd in the state, and prospects are excellent despite the fires last year and this... Northeast Washington whitetail herds have benefitted from recent mild winters ...

Regardless of weather, time for hunting is here October 5, 2015 Washington, Yakima Herald-Republic
... The Yakima deer herd may actually be bouncing back a bit. Although the success ratios for deer hunters in our region are still the lowest in the state ... the mild winter was good for the already thriving Yakima elk herd — the state’s largest, with more than 12,000 animals living in the area...

Image of bluetongue-inflicted deer worth 1,000 words, but explanation still needed October 5, 2015 Washington, The Spokesman-Review
... A white tailed-deer struggles to get to its feet while clinging to life ... The most widespread outbreak of deer-killing disease [bluetongue] in the memory of area wildlife professionals. The disease has been confirmed in Eastern Washington, northcentral Idaho, northeastern Oregon and portions of western Montana...

WSU lab confirms bluetongue virus killing deer, livestock September 30, 2015 Washington, WSU News
... The Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory located in the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine has confirmed bluetongue virus (BTV) in 42 animals submitted from Washington and Idaho this fall.  All samples tested negative for epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHD)...

2015 Draft Mule Deer Management Plan September, 2015 Washington, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
... Mule deer managers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are seeking public comments on the draft Mule Deer Management Plan. The Mule Deer Management Plan is a planning document that comes under the umbrella of the Game Management Plan (GMP) and is consistent with the recently adopted GMP. The plan divides the ecoregions of eastern Washington into Mule Deer Management Zones based on physiography, mule deer population characteristics, and mule deer management. It addresses statewide issues and objectives for mule deer. The plan also explains spending priorities related to mule deer and their habitat...

Another 'toasty' winter, another drought next year September 24, 2015 Washington, Mid Columbia Tri City Herald
... A strengthening El Niño weather system ... expected to bring warmer-than-usual temperatures and less precipitation to much of the Northwest ... wildlife also suffered in the 2015 drought. Wildfires destroyed vegetation, and the lack of water reduced the amount of remaining vegetation available ... An outbreak of bluetongue disease has killed more deer than usual ...

Deer population hit hard by blue tongue disease September 24, 2015 Washington, KXLY
... deer are dying from an outbreak of blue tongue disease.  Fish and Wildlife says the deer are coming to stagnant water sources because of the dry conditions and are being bit by disease carrying gnats. While it happens every fall this year is worse...

The region's wildlife has been hit hard by this summer's drought, as the Department of Fish and Wildlife reports deer are dying from an outbreak of blue tongue disease. KXLY4's Grace Ditzler reports.



Wildlife managers assessing fire impacts September 18, 2015 Washington, Methow Valley News
... massive wildfires that scorched four state wildlife areas in north central Washington ... Several wildlife areas are completely burned over,” Brown said. “The vegetation that supports deer, sharp-tailed grouse and other wildlife is gone...

Steady, but diseases are X factor September 18, 2015 Washington, Lewiston Morning Tribune 
... Deer numbers in Washington's District 3 are stable or increasing, but wildlife biologists say recent reports of EHD and blue tongue have potentially put a dent in the whitetail deer population.  The district includes Asotin and Garfield counties as well as Columbia and Walla Walla counties...

Bluetongue outbreak confirmed in Eastern Washington deer September 18, 2015 The Spokesman-Review
... Every year in late summer and early fall, some white-tailed deer are lost to bluetongue and a similar virus known as EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease)... the department does not know precisely how many deer have been affected ... Report sick or deer likely to be dead from disease to: ... The department’s dead wildlife hotline, (800) 606-8768...

Bluetongue virus confirmed in white-tailed deer September 18, 2015 Washington, wdfw.wa.gov
     The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has confirmed an outbreak of bluetongue disease in white-tailed deer in the state’s drought-stricken eastern region, but wildlife managers say this year’s hunting seasons will not be affected.  WDFW veterinarian Kristin Mansfield said today that bluetongue is a common virus transmitted by biting gnats at water sources where deer congregate during dry conditions. Every year in late summer and early fall, some white-tailed deer are lost to bluetongue and a similar virus known as EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease).
     She said the department does not know precisely how many deer have been affected, but reports are more widespread and numerous than in the past, probably because of the severe drought across the region. As of Sept. 17, WDFW had received reports of suspected deaths from bluetongue or EHD in several portions of the department’s eastern region, which includes Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman counties...

Trophy deer poacher convicted, fined September 18, 2015 Washington, The Spokesman-Review 
... A Chewelah, Washington, man and host of the former cable TV hunting show “Trophy State of Mind” has been convicted and fined $12,215 for trespassing and illegally hunting deer and elk in Montana...

Drought-related blue-tongue outbreak killing area deer September 15, 2015 Washington, The Spokesman-Review
... White-tailed deer in the Spokane region are dying, perhaps by the hundreds, in an outbreak of a drought-related viral disease called bluetongue ...  once the disease take hold, the deer can die, often salivating excessively, within a few days...

Wildfire reality in our region: 'The future is here now' September 11, 2015 Washington, Methow Valley News
... after large tracts of winter grazing lands were consumed in the Carlton Complex Fire, wildlife managers anticipate issuing more doe hunting permits in an effort to balance the population of deer with the reduced winter range ... 

...District 5 Deer hunting prospects September 11, 2015 Washington, Columbia Basin Herald 
... The 2014-15 winter conditions were favorable for mule deer survival ...  post-hunt buck:doe ratios typically range between 20–30:100. Fish and Wildlife observed 25B:100D (51 percent mature) and 33B:100D (38 percent mature) during the 2014 post-hunt survey ...

2015 Hunting Forecasts by District September, Washington, WDFW News
District biologists have provided hunting forecasts for their district based on surveys and field work.

Hunters defend sport as good for Washington's wildlife September 11, 2015 MyNorthwest.com
... Hunters spent $300 plus million, annually, in Washington. About 219,000 people hunt in Washington, and of those, about 19,000 are from out of state," he said. "The ripple effect from hunting is about $614 million. The Pittman-Robertson funds we pay go for conservation, the license and tag fees go for conservation...


Washington Data:  About 350,000 deer in 2015 based on preliminary harvest data.  Total deer population estimated at 300,000 to 320,000 in 2014 according to the Game Management Plan, p. 62 [PDF]. For 2015, an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 blacktails and about the same 90,000 to 100,000 mule deer.  The hard winter of 2015-16 will reduce deer and elk populations.  Whitetail deer in Northeast Washington are still recovering from major winters kills in the winters of '07 and '08.  White-tails predominate in the northeast, mule deer in the southeast. With the decline of logging and new forest management practices, the deer population has declined by about 40 percent in some parts of the Southwest since 2002, mostly blacktails; numbers are stronger in the interior Southwest.   Another major factor reducing deer habitat is the conversion of farm and forest lands into residential development and reduced alfalfa and cereal production [Deer Status Report, 2014, PDF].  Efforts are ongoing to support the few remaining Columbian white-tailed deer, once thought to be extinct.  2015 Draft Mule Deer Management Plan
     The 2013 total deer harvest was 33,657 with 27,448 antlered deer and 6,209 antlerless deer taken with a hunter success rate of 27.2 percent.The antlerless harvest rose from 15.7% of the total in 1998 to 25.6 percent in 2012.  Harvest Statistics   The total deer harvest in 2012 was similar to 1997, with a recent peak in the early 2000's at around 40,000.  Whitetail deer are about 35 percent of the harvest and are more numerous in the northeast, mule deer are found in the higher elevations, blacktails found along the coast are about 32 percent of the harvest.  The management goal for mule deer is 15 to 19 bucks per 100 does after hunting (Plan, see p. 3).  The low buck to doe ratio has been suspected as a factor in their decline.
    White-tail deer numbers were plentiful in in the 1800's, but were reduced by over hunting by the early 1900's.  Deer hunter numbers and also probably deer population peaked in 1979, with a recent peak in the 1990s.  From the 2015 Draft Mule Deer Plan:  "Although records of historic mule deer population trends are limited, Julander and Low  reported a marked decline in populations due to severe weather during the winter of 1889. They also reported an increase in population between 1935 and 1968... Mule deer populations apparently reached very low numbers in eastern Washington during 1969, 1971, and 1972, during unseasonably harsh winters. Mule deer populations increased from 1973 until the mid-1980s. Drought conditions developed in eastern Washington starting in 1986, and then eased somewhat in the mid-1990s, and became more pronounced in the early 2000s."
    Moose were not thought to be in the state until 1920 when some moved into northeastern areas.      
    Cougar population estimated at 2,500 in 2015 and 2008.
    Wolf population estimated at a minimum of 68 in 2014, up from 24 in 2010.

Report Poaching:  Information can be submitted anonymously:  Call the state Poaching Hotline, (877) 933-9847,  Email the tip to reportpoaching@dfw.wa.gov

Other useful links:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife  - 2016 Season Regulations
Mule deer Geodatabase     - Predator Ecology Lab
Blacktail Deer Society — IslandWood an outdoor education center on the 255 acres on Bainbridge Island 
I-90 Wildlife Watch is a citizen-based wildlife monitoring project that invites motorists to report wildlife sightings along Interstate 90 (I-90) in the Snoqualmie Pass region of Washington.
- List of Wildlife Rehabilitators, contact for information on injured deer
- Washington Prescribed Fire Council      - Washington Fish and Wildlife News

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