Deer Forecast-West

north-central Washington

In north-central Washington, near Okanagan, the mule-deer herd counts are up and the buck-to-doe ratios (27 per 100) are the best in recent years. Concentrate your efforts for a trophy buck in Game Management Units (GMUs) 215, 224 and 239 in Okanogan County. Blacktail deer have suffered low fawn survival and habitat changes due to timber harvest, but there are productive areas in the southwestern region where there are good numbers of sizable bucks and hunter success runs 20 to 25 percent. Two areas to target are GMUs 672 and 667, southeast and southwest respectively of Olympia. Over most of Washington, the winter was mild and deer fared well. In 1999 (2000 figures were not available at press time), 35,760 deer were harvested-roughly 50 percent blacktails and 25 percent each muleys and whitetails. The harvest is expected to slightly improve for whitetails and substantially improve for mule deer. As in a good number of Western states, whitetails in Washington are on the increase, with the northeastern part of the state being the place to watch. GMUs 17 and 121 in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties produce good bucks and high hunter success.