Helpful hunting tips for both beginners and seasoned veterans. If you’re looking to do some hunting in Washington State read these hunting tips to get started.
In 2016 40% of the U.S. population 16 years and older participated in wildlife-related activities such as hunting and fishing. That’s over 100 million people! If you’re just diving into these activities you may be looking for some hunting tips on where to get started. Where hunting is concerned, we always recommend hunter safety classes prior to your first outing. Moreover, if you’re an experienced hunter looking to explore more areas in Washington State, read on!
Bird Hunting in Washington
In Washington State one of the best hunting tips is the state offers public and private lands for bird hunting. These areas play a significant role in the migratory bird pathway known as the Pacific Flyway. It consistently ranking in the top two of the 12 western states in waterfowl abundance, hunter numbers and harvest.
Some of the popular public areas include: Potholes Reservoir in Eastern Washington and the North Fork of the Skagit River. The city of Brewster – located near the Columbia River – offers miles of rivers and backwaters. And at the Lake Terrell Wildlife Area in Ferndale you can both visit a waterfowl refuge and also do some bird hunting at the Cherry Point Refinery Pheasant Release Site.
Private Lands Hunting Access is also available in Washington for bird hunting through a state reservation system. There are four types of access available:
- Feel Free to Hunt
- Register to Hunt
- Hunt by Written Permission
- Hunt by Reservation
Headlamps are a must. Many bird hunters head out in the early hours of the morning to reserve the best blind. A good knife is also important – some hunters use a “bird knife” and others a small, curved boning knife. It will also be important to have some fowl shears on hand if you’ll be cleaning birds onsite. And most of all, don’t forget to get your hunting license!
Duck Hunting and Decoys
Decoys are another item you’ll want on your hunting gear list. Make sure you’re purchasing durable decoys that will last you a few seasons.
“I use a mix of goose decoys in the spread – mallards in one group. Then wigeon and ring necked, and diving ducks off to the side,” says hunting expert Jay Longfellow. “I use a J- Style spread – a large clump of decoys is placed into the wind and then a trailing set downwind. From the air it looks like a comfortable and inviting flock of birds gathering together.”
Hunting with Dogs
The American Kennel Club recognizes over 340 breeds of dogs. Choosing the right one can either make hunting with dogs a success, or a failure.
Water retriever dogs are usually great swimmers and were originally bred for hunting although many are now more known as being great pets.
The Popular Labs
Yellow, Chocolate and Black Labradors are flushing dogs (they work to put birds into the air to allow a hunter a shot) and make excellent fowl dogs. You can train them to point, but they really want to make the birds fly.
The Golden Canine
Golden Retrievers, with their long hair, are not great for muddy waters but make great retriever dogs. They are able to be trained for field hunting although it is not their best quality.
Retrievers Live up to Their Name
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are more popular up North. They’re big, super thick dogs and therefore are good in cold water but are also extremely hard-headed animals.
“Tolling” Retrievers are about the size of a Collie, have high energy, and are very intelligent. They were bred to hunt and usually have an instinct to find and retrieve birds. With some training, these dogs can be a huge asset to your hunting outings. They get their name from their ability to act as a decoy and lure waterfowl within gun range by “tolling”.
Don’t Let the Poodle Fool You
Standard Poodles are wicked smart and are referred to by many as the “master of most dogs” as they can outrun, outswim, and outhunt any other breed. They are easy to command, have webbed feet that make them good swimmers, and their curly hair acts as a wool jacket in damp conditions. In other words, they’re great for waterfowl hunting.
When hunting upland game like pheasant, grouse and chukar, you’ll likely want a dog with short hair that is able to run well on land. For example, Cocker Spaniels, English Setters, and the Weimaraner breed are all good choices. German Shorthaired Pointers are also widely used for upland game, deer, and fowl hunting. A good hunting dog will really depend on the time and effort you take to train them. YouTube is a great place to find tutorials on “how to train hunting dogs.”
Hunting Tips for Elk Hunting
There are a few things to consider when elk hunting in Washington State. For instance, will you be using archery, a muzzleloader/black powder, or a modern firearm? Understand the area you want to hunt in, the time of year open for hunting, and type of elk you can hunt. For example, if you’re hunting using archery (although more challenging than a modern firearm), you can usually begin hunting about a month before the next round opens.
When obtaining your elk hunting license you have to pick your tag – Western or Eastern Washington – as certain areas are open for certain animals during given times of the year. Regulations change from time-to-time therefore, you’ll want to review them each season.
Some of the best places to go elk hunting are the Blue Mountains, the North Cascade/St. Helens and Colockum and Yakima regions, however each year can be different.
The Best Backpack for Hunting
You’ve obtained your hunting licenses and chosen the perfect blind or area to hunt. Now grab all your gear and head outdoors! The Paxis Twin Lakes backpack allows you to get what you need and never stop moving. It’s available in a convenient color perfect for hunters – Long Range Grass Camo. Store your headlamp, knives, shears and more in the Shuttle Pod and simply pull the release handle and swing all the things you need to the front. Designed for easy access, this backpack provides users with the ultimate convenience. The Paxis Twin Lakes backpack is available in 4 nature-inspired colors along with some great accessories.