The scope on hunting in Pierce County

8:15 pm September 24th, 2012


By Bob Brown


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have updated its web page with the new 2012 hunting prospects. Dave Ware, Game Division Manager for the department said “We have 17 districts across the state, and each is staffed with professional wildlife biologists. These knowledgeable individuals have written a forecast of the upcoming hunting seasons for their particular district, to help hunters decide when and where too hunt this fall. Included in the descriptions of the various hunting opportunities are reminders on most of the significant regulation changes this year.”

Ware also said the department will soon launch additional features to aid in hunting efforts and suggests hunters check back on the department’s website often. The next item to be added is an upland bird hunting page, with tips and techniques for hunting pheasants, quail, grouse, chukar and Hungarian partridges. This fall a completely – revised and improved GOHUNT mapping program will also be launched.

Also this year, hunters are being asked to report either seeing or hear what might be a gray wolf. To aid in suspected observations a Wolf Observation Form has been created to aid hunters in distinguishing the different characteristics between wolves and a coyote. Wolves are repopulating Washington, and it is important to know the extent of their movements. Black-tailed deer surveys have been limited in Pierce County (District 11), however branched antler, spike, doe and fawn ratios are stable and have been increasing over years.

The Vail Tree Farm (GMU 667) is expected to experience about the same hunter pressure as last year. The Skookumchuck (GMU 667) produced 37 percent of the district’s total harvest last year. Overall, modern firearm hunters had a 16 percent success rate last year, while bow hunters had a 15 percent success rate, and multiple weapon hunters had a 16 percent success rate. Hunters took six cougars in District 11 last year’s general season. Five of those cougars were taken in the Skookumchuck area (GMU 667).

Last year, 284 elk were taken during the general season in District 11. GMU 852 (Puyallup) and GMU 667 (Skookumchuck) produced 92 and 96 elk respectively. One in five hunters in the Puyallup Unit harvested an elk. Also, 80 black bears were taken in District 11 with GMU 654 (Mashel) producing 33 of those bears.

District 11 is not a major dove area with only an average of 15 birds harvested in Pierce County and about 60 in Thurston County for any given year. However, band-tailed pigeon harvest in Pierce County has been the fourth highest in the state. The best hunting location for band-tail pigeon in District 11 is the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (Pierce County) and Mud Bay in Thurston County and along marine shorelines. Forest grouse hunters harvested 1,994 birds during District 11’s 2011 grouse season. About 56 percent of the harvest came from Thurston County, 48 percent from Pierce County.

Duck harvest was down about ten percent from 2010 in both Pierce and Thurston counties, but up from the five-year average, as hunter’s bagged 19,349 ducks in District 11 last season. Pierce County produced about 54 percent of the total harvest.

A special two day youth hunting season for waterfowl and upland birds is scheduled for September22 -23. To participate hunters must be under 16 years of age and accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not hunting. Goose management areas 2A and 2B are not open for Canadian geese during this hunt.


Bob Brown can be reached at “

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