District biologists have provided hunting forecasts for their
district based on surveys and field work.
Counties: Skamania, Clark and Klickitat
David Anderson and Eric Holman, District Wildlife Biologists
District Nine is located in the southwest/central part of Washington and is the only district in the state that includes significant amounts of both west and east-side habitats. Game Management Units (GMUs) in District 9 include 554, 564, 568, 560, 572, 574, 578, 388 and 382. Hunters can choose a variety of habitats including areas covered by west and east side season dates and permit regulations.
The geography of District 9 is dominated by the Cascade Mountain Range that divides the district into west and east sides zones. Topography varies from near sea level along the Columbia River and its lower tributaries to alpine habitats associated with Mt St Helens and Mt Adams in the Cascade Range. Dominant west-side river drainages include the Lewis, Washougal and Wind Rivers. Major east-side watersheds include the White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers. Rock Creek in eastern Klickitat County is the primary watershed in ponderosa pine/oak and shrub steppe portions of the district. The southern border of the district is bounded by the Columbia River.
District 9 is one of the most diverse habitat areas of the state that include west side coniferous forests dominated by Douglas fir and western hemlock. These forests give way to Oregon White Oak and Ponderosa Pine as you travel to the east side of the Cascade Mountains. In eastern Klickitat County, pine and oak habitat transition into shrub steppe dominated by grassland and sagebrush.
The majority of the west-side forest land is dominated by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and state land owned by the Department of Natural Resources. These are public lands open to public access. East-side forest and shrub steppe/grassland habitat is primarily in private land ownership and varies in public access. Large timber company lands are generally open to public hunting, but generally not open to private motorized vehicles. Most grassland/shrub steppe habitat in Klickitat County is in private hunt clubs restricted to access by fee only.
Pheasant: District 9 has very little wild production of pheasants. Essentially all hunting opportunities are associated with pen-raised birds and the formalized release sites in Klickitat County (Eastern Washington Pheasant Release Sites) and Clark County (Western Washington Pheasant Release Sites).
2011 Statewide Small Game Harvest Statistics: Pheasant - Statewide and by County
Quail, Gray Partridge, and Chukar: Spring conditions have not been favorable in 2012 for upland bird populations in Klickitat County. Fall hunting prospects should be poor to moderate based on reports from landowners. Most hunting is located on private lands in eastern Klickitat County, which is dominated by hunt clubs with limited access. Prospective hunters should seek permission in advance of the season to access upland bird hunting areas.
2011 Statewide Small Game Harvest Statistics
Forest Grouse: Grouse numbers should be low in 2012 due to an abnormally wet and cold spring and early summer. Prospective hunters should focus on brushy riparian zones or overgrown abandoned logging roads for the best chance at success.
2011 Statewide Small Game Harvest Statistics: Forest Grouse - Statewide and by County
Wild Turkeys: Populations in Klickitat County continue to be healthy, and hunting conditions for the fall of 2012 should be good. Late brood counts indicate poor nesting conditions this spring and summer, but decent size broods have been observed. Skamania county turkey populations are located primarily along the eastern and southern margin, i.e. near Klickitat County. Clark County offers little to no turkey hunting opportunity.
Waterfowl: Hunters are reminded of the complex goose hunting regulations in area 2A designed to protect wintering populations of the dusky Canada goose. Dusky populations remain below objectives and liberalization of the hunting season structure is not likely in the near term. Goose hunters should be aware of an increase in the cackling component of the goose bag limit in area 2. Hunters will be allowed to take 3 cacklers as a portion of their 4-goose daily bag limit.
2011 Statewide Small Game Harvest Statistics
Duck hunting: Locally produced mallards and wood ducks will provide some early season opportunity for duck hunters. Improved duck hunting opportunity is dependent on the arrival of migratory birds pushed southward from northwestern Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. This year’s waterfowl breeding season is reported to be excellent and fall/winter hunting prospects should be good. Two pintails are again legal per day, during the 2012-13 season.
2011 Statewide Small Game Harvest Statistics: Duck - Statewide and by County
Dove: Klickitat County continues to have the best dove hunting in our district, but opportunity is limited. Like other bird hunting for 2012, harsh spring conditions have had an impact on local populations. Hunters should remember that most quality hunting areas in eastern Klickitat County are associated with private hunting clubs. Some dove hunting opportunity in the Vancouver lowlands, i.e. Shillapoo Wildlife Area.
2011 Statewide Small Game Harvest Statistics: Dove - Statewide and by County
Deer: Deer populations are generally stable in lower elevation units such as Washougal (568) and Battle Ground (564), as well as the Klickitat County GMUs, i.e. West Klickitat (578), Grayback (388) and East Klickitat (382). However, deer populations remain suppressed in the Cascade Mountain GMUs, i.e. Lewis River (560), Wind River (574) and Siouxon (572). 2012 should offer no better than average deer hunting opportunity as the previous spring was unusually cool and rainy with above average snowpack in the Cascades.
Successful hunting for black-tailed deer is primarily a function of the effort, focus and energy that hunters put into the hunt. Black-tailed deer thrive in heavily vegetated habitats and are often very nocturnal in nature. This means that successful blacktail hunters must be in position early in the morning and carefully hunt near sources of food and in secure cover.
Bucks travel more during the rut when they cover large amounts of territory searching for does in estrus. This makes bucks more vulnerable as they spend less time hiding and are sometimes found in “open” habitats, i.e. clear-cuts and meadows. Not surprisingly, approximately one-third of the annual buck harvest in Region 5 occurs during the 4-day “late buck” hunt held each November.
District 9 - 2011 Game Harvest Statistics:
- Deer General Harvest
- Deer Special Permits Harvest
Elk: Significant changes were implemented in 2010 for elk seasons in several game management units. Elk hunters are strongly encouraged to review the 2012 Big Game Regulations to be clear on these new opportunities.
The new regulations from 2010 affect elk hunting in GMUs 568 (Washougal), 574 (Wind River) and 578 (West Klickitat). ANTLERLESS ELK ARE NO LONGER LEGAL DURING ANY GENERAL MODERN FIREARM OR MUZZLELOADER SEASON IN THESE GMUs. Additionally, the THREE-POINT ANTLER RESTRICTION HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED IN THESE GMUs FOR ALL GENERAL SEASONS.
Antlerless elk hunting in these GMUs is now offered through the special permit process. Antlerless elk permits are available for both modern firearm and muzzleloader hunters. Tag numbers have been allocated at a level intended to maintain harvest and hunting opportunity at a level similar to that of the past 5-years in these GMUs. Again, please review the pamphlet and be familiar with these significant changes in elk hunting regulation in Washougal (568), Wind River (574) and West Klickitat (578).
District 9 - 2011 Game Harvest Statistics:
- Elk General Harvest
- Elk Special Permits Harvest
Hunters harvested 611 pheasant in Klickitat County last year, nearly double the 2010 harvest.
Hunters took 874 quail in District 9 during the 2011 season, all but 31 of them in Klickitat County. Although thatís more than double the 2010 harvest, itís 29 percent lower than the five-year average.
Hunters harvested 161 chukar (up 347 percent from 2010) and 304 gray partridge is District 9 last year, all of them in Klickitat County.
Grouse hunters harvested 961 birds in Skamania County and 489 in Klickitat County, for District 9 total of 1,450 birds.
Eighty-seven percent of the deer harvested by hunters in District 9 during the 2011 general hunting season were bucks, and three-quarters of those deer were taken by modern firearms hunters. The district-wide harvest total was 1,964 deer. Hunter success among modern firearms users was also good, at 15.3 percent. Archers had a 14.6 percent success rate, while muzzleloader and multiple-weapons hunters both were over 21 percent.
Modern firearms hunters in GMU 382 (East Klickitat) enjoyed a spectacular 28-percent success rate and gave up 467 deer, more than any other unit in the district. Muzzleloader hunters in the East Klickitat unit were even more successful, with a 31.9 percent success rate. GMU 388 Grayback) produced 326 deer, GMU 568 (Washougal) 381, more than 91 percent of them taken by modern firearms hunters.
District 9 hunters harvested 522 elk during the 2011 general season, about 81 percent of them bulls. Modern firearms hunters accounted for just under half of the total harvest, but had a success rate of just 4.8 percent for the season. Archers harvested 150 elk, muzzleloader hunters 98 and multiple-weapons hunters 16. Hunters is GMU 560 (Lewis River) harvested 241 (46 percent) of the elk taken in District 9.
Hunters harvested 144 black bear is District 9 during 2011. The top bear-producing units in the district were GMU 560 (Lewis River), GMU 568 (Washougal), GMU 654 (Mashel) and GMU 578 (West Klickitat). Hunters harvested at least 24 black bear from each of these units.
Hunters took 14 cougar from hunting areas of District 9 during the 2011 general season. The top units for cougar harvest were GMU 560 (Lewis River) with five and GMU 578 (West Klickitat) with four.
District 9 hunters took 5,576 ducks last year, as the harvest increased by 63 percent in Skamania County and decreased by seven percent in Skamania County from 2010 to 2011.
Goose hunters harvested 417 birds in Klickitat County and 408 in Skamania County for a district total of 825 geese.