Hunting Seasons – 2015

So that you don’t end up adorning the hood of a car, as an outdoor sport enthusiast you are advised to keep tabs of the different hunting seasons throughout the fall. It’s also a good idea to make yourself visible in something that a deer wouldn’t be caught dead in—you know, something optic like a hunter-orange baseball cap and/or a brilliant orange safety vest (also good for running or biking city streets). The neon-yellow shells cyclists often wear to improve their visibility on roads are also effective for improving your visibility in the woods. Like the schoolmarms of safety always say, “Better yellow than a dead fellow.”

Some areas around the region (e.g., the Colockum and Table Mountain) see a much heavier influx of hunters than other areas and hikers and mountain bikers are advised to avoid such areas altogether during the peak of hunting season (modern firearm season). Here’s a general synopsis of the different hunting seasons that we’ve compiled from Washington’s 2015 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations, published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

High Buck Hunt.  The high buck hunt runs from September 15 to September 25 this year. For our part of the world, this means hunting will be taking place throughout the Alpine Lakes, Henry Jackson, Glacier Peak, Chelan Sawtooth, and Pasayten wildernesses. Local places that are particularly popular for hunters accessing the wilderness by horses are Spider Meadows, Buck Creek Pass, Boulder Pass, Indian Pass, Carne Mountain and Frosty Pass.

Other Dates. Each county has a number of Game Management Units (GMUs) and the hunting season for different animals can vary between different GMUs. The dates below don’t apply to every GMU but, generally speaking, these are the dates applying to Chelan, Douglas, southern Okanogan, and Grant counties. These GMUs range in their designation from numbers between the 240s to the 290s.

  • Black Bears: Aug 1 – Nov 15
  • Bobcat: Sept 1 – March 15
  • Cougar: Sept 1 – Dec 31
  • Deer, Modern Firearm General Season: Oct 17 – 27
  • Deer, Archery General Season: Sept 1-15 or Sept 16-30 (depends on the GMU)
  • Deer, Muzzleloader High Buck Hunts: Sept 15 – 25
  • Deer. Early General Season: Oct 3 – 11
  • Elk, Modern Firearm Season: Oct 31–Nov 8 or Oct 31-Nov 15 (depends on GMU)
  • Elk, Archery Early General Season (some local GMUs): Sept 12 – 24
  • Elk, Archery Late General Season (other local GMUs): Oct 31 – Nov15
  • Elk, Muzzleloader Early Season (some local GMUs): Oct 3 – 9
  • Elk, Muzzleloader Late Season (mainly different GMUs than above): Oct 31-Nov 15
  • Forest Grouse: Sept 1 – Dec 31.
  • Goat Special Permit Hunts: Sept 15 – Nov 30
  • Pheasants (general season): Oct 24 – Jan 18
  • Quail (California), Partridge (general season): Oct 3 – Jan 18
  • Sheep (Big Horn) Permits: Sept 15 – Oct 10

Note: There are many raffled permits and special permits that are too complicated to synthesize in this article but that could have hunters in Central Washington GMUs between September 1 and December 31 hunting different animals with different weapons. Click here for a more detailed statewide summary of hunting seasons and dates and see this map of the Game Management Units (GMUs) in Washington State.