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The state of Washington is a land of extravagant natural beauty. The terrain varies greatly, with coastal waters that are overlooked by massive mountains, and the largest peak in the lower 48 states. The only thing that can compete with the view is the variety of game species that live among it. Few places provide the opportunity to dig oysters in the evening and then hunt elk the following morning, all with the bustling city of Seattle smack dab in the middle of it all.
Washington is one of a select few states that is home to blacktail, whitetail, and mule deer. This trio offers a unique opportunity to hunt three of the most popular deer in the country in the same state. However, only one deer is allowed per year, so choose your favorite species and dial it in. If you cannot pick one, you’re in luck, as muleys and whitetail occupy much of the same areas, so you can choose in the heat of the moment when a big buck of either species walks out. However, if the only thing that gets you going is a body penetrating bugle at the end of September, then all you want to hear about is elk.
Elk occupy much of Washington state, and live in abundance on both private and public ground. Hunters have many options to choose from, whether it be a backcountry hunt miles from any road, or a guided hunt on an incredible ranch. If you choose to go it alone and strike off into the wilderness, more power to you. However, with lower elk densities and a success rate of around 11 percent, your odds of not going home empty handed will be much higher with a skilled guide. The old adage says that 10 percent of hunters kill 90 percent of the elk. These successful few are the ones that spend a lot of time with elk, and they are often guides. Book with a professional hunting guide on HuntAnywhere.com, and give yourself an edge in the woods this fall.
Washington is also home to a population of over 25,000 black bears, and with such a high number of animals, your odds of running into one is pretty darn high. Because of this, you may consider applying for a full big-game license that includes, deer, elk, bear, and cougar. This combo is only fractionally more expensive than just an elk and deer combo and provides the opportunity to take advantage of that chance encounter.
If you’re looking to hunt something that is less likely to hunt you back, Washington has large numbers of trophy moose that can be hunted with a special draw permit. Tags are on the expensive side and the odds of drawing are slim, but if you are lucky enough to find yourself with the golden ticket, you will have the opportunity to hunt some giant Moose. Another incentive is that you only pay if you draw the tag, so there is no reason to not apply. If you still need to be sold on a Washington moose hunt, here goes. In 2018, a local hunter killed the Safari Club world record moose in Ferry County, Washington. The monster scored almost 505 inches, and weighed in at close to 700 pounds, a true giant. These tags are once-in-a-lifetime, meaning you can only draw them once, but with a success rate of over 90 percent, the potential reward can only be described as once-in-a-lifetime as well.
If you enjoy rare types of hunts, you will definitely also be interested in Washington Bighorn Sheep. Similar to the Moose hunt, Sheep tags require a special draw permit, but the extreme lack of pressure on these animals leads to extremely high success rates. It also allows for many of the rams to grow to monstrous sizes. These tags are very expensive, but again you only have to pay the fee if you draw, in which case the price is worth the reward.
Another highly sought after quarry is the Mountain Goat. Like Moose and Sheep, tags are allotted through special drawing. Found in the high Cascade Mountains, there are estimated to be around 3,000 goats living in a beautifully wild environment that will humble even the most experienced western hunter. Like all highly sought after hunts, tags are expensive and hard to draw, but the experience is invaluable.
Washington waterfowl hunters certainly know how to get it done, as they have knocked down over 430,000 ducks and 72,000 geese annually for the last five years. These numbers are just shy of half the birds that get killed in waterfowl meccas like Arkansas, proving that Washington is a fantastic duck and goose hunting destination. Also, with large numbers of National Wildlife Refuges, Bureau of Land Management areas, and the Private Land Access Program, hunters have innumerable options to chase birds.
Washington is home to a great number of upland bird species as well that include the blue grouse, ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, Hungarian partridge, ring-necked pheasant, California quail, northern bobwhite quail, and mountain quail. With such an impressive list of birds that an upland hunter would be hard pressed to find anywhere else, there is no doubt that a Washington bird hunt should be on your bucket list. Hunters must only purchase a small game license for most birds and a pheasant permit if they intend to hunt roosters, both of which are reasonably priced.
Whether you have drawn the tag of a lifetime and plan to brave the Cascades for a sheep or goat, love to hunt the marsh for mallards, or dream of 6×6 bull elk rutting in September, Washington has opportunities for hunters of all skill levels and interests. Check out our catalog of expert guides and outfitters at HuntAnywhere.com, and book the hunt of a lifetime today!