Could we live in a better State for deer hunting? I think not. Texas may be known for it's monster White-tails, New Mexico for Giant Mulies, Mississppi for sheer numbers, but where else can you go and hunt those mighty white-tails, the incredible mulies, and those fabulous black-tails in one place? From the Olympic Peninsula to the Blue Mountains we have it all right here.
The Black-tail make their home throughout most of Western Washington. As we know Western Washington is covered in foilage, making it hard to see far or get around the woods without sounding like a freight train. I believe most of Western Washington to be prime Muzzloading country. I prefer a modified spot-and-stock on these critters. I like to do alot of scouting of areas which I am considering hunting, determine areas of high traffic and large populations, then try to establish routines. Once I have done all my homework then I like to return to an area several times before I hunt it to ensure the information I have gathered is both accurate and consistant. That is if I can gather all the time I need to do such extensive research ( I can't wait until retirement! ). I won't allow myself to give specific areas which I like to hunt, however, I can say that I like areas both on the Olympic Peninsula and some areas south of Mt. Ranier.
The White-tailed deer roam the Eastern plains of this great state and can be one of the most challenging achievements of a hunter. To successfully hunt white-tail deer you MUST do your homework. White-tail are creatures of habit, they drink from the same place, sleep in the same place, and follow the same trails. For these reasons I sugest tree stand hunting. With a properly placed stand you can hunt any weapon you choose, my personal preference for Eastern Washington is the good 'ol modern rifle. Because of the time involved with scouting and planning, a successful white-tail hunt can be the accomplishment of a hunters life. I have limited experience with white-tail due to the time involved in properly scouting an area and the fact that I am a Western Washington Native. I just can't get over to the far eastern reaches of the state often enough. For white-tail I prefer to hunt the North-eastern areas of Okanogan National Forest.
My favorite of all the deer hunting to choose from in the state has to be the Mulie. The Mule deer is a migratory animal making its home along the eastern slopes of the Cascades and in some areas run in with the white-tails. I prefer to hunt these animals in the North-western parts of Okanogan National Forest and use a spot-and stalk method. Unlike the white-tail and the black-tail deer, the mulie does not require as much time in the field scouting prior to the open of the hunt. I do however suggest scouting areas prior to the hunt as close to the begining of the season open as possible. The areas these animals live in, in my opinion, are ideal for the archery hunter. Overall my prefered method of hunting is with a bow and perhaps that has helped make the mule deer my favorite of the bunch.
I recomend, depending on your tag choice, covering yourself from head-to-toe in camoflauge. I used to think that scent eliminaters, scent blockers, and atracting scents were a joke, until last year. I decided to give the scents a try without alot of confidence and when I walked within 30 yards of a bedded down doe with a stiff wind at my back strait to her, I became a believer when she didn't flinch a muscle. Always be aware of wind direction. Patience is key in any hunting situation. I shot my first deer and went right after it and ended up chasing the thing across hell and back. Since that experience I will return to camp, share my excitement with anyone left at camp, celebrate ( a little ), have a drink, have something to eat, calm down, then after enough time has passed go pick up my kill. This can and will save you alot of walking and tracking. Know your regulations. Washington is divided into many seperate GMU's, know where you are and the regs for that GMU as they can differ widely. Be prepared for anything while hunting, make sure you have plenty of food and water to get you by. Bring a good map, a compass, and a GPS unit if you can. I also recomend two-way radios to stay in touch with camp or your hunting partners ( they can improve success as well if used properly ).