A near-record-size mule deer was the last deer to go through the Winthrop check station on Oct. 21, the final weekend of the general deer season in the Methow area.
”The last deer we checked for the season was a very large 9x10 point mule deer with a 33-plus-inch antler width,” said state Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin. “This is likely the largest set of antlers seen at the check station in at least the last 17 years. The lucky hunter harvested the estimated 4 1/2 year-old animal in the Tripod Burn area, which appears to be producing excellent summer deer forage six years after (a) fire.”
The Spokesman-Review Outdoors blog stated hunters had a success rate of about 20 percent at the Winthrop station. Results throughout Eastern Washington indicate hunters filled their tags at a higher rate than last year.
Waterfowl to pick up
Waterfowl hunters should start having more success in the Columbia Basin if the temperatures drop this month, which would drive migrant ducks and geese down from the north.
“Select areas to hunt based on the species you want to target,” said WDFW Columbia Basin district biologist Rich Finger in the November edition of the WDFW’s Weekender newsletter. “Diving ducks – like canvasbacks, redheads and scaup – are hunted along the Columbia River, particularly at Wells Pool, Wanapum Pool, and Priest Rapids Pool. They forage over beds of submerged aquatic vegetation such as pondweeds and milfoil. American wigeon will associate with diving ducks because they are ‘kleptoparasites’ — meaning they wait for the diving ducks or coots to bring up a bill-full of vegetation, and then quickly rush in to steal their meal.”
Notes: A short modern firearm elk season opened Oct. 27 will close in some game management units on Nov. 4 and others Nov. 15…Hatchery steelhead are being caught at about a rate of one fish per rod on the upper Columbia River and key tributaries, according to WDFW regional fish manager Jeff Korth. The fishery includes the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow, and Okanogan rivers.
Korth said the goal is to keep the fishery, which began Oct. 16, open through November.