Deer Hunting in Washington

Back to All State Reports
  • B
  • 110,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 150,000 (includes whitetails, mule deer and blacktails)

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $44.90

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $434.30

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 200 3/8"

    Taken by James Cartwright in Stevens County in 1992 and is currently ranked No. 13 of all time.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 24

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 242 4/8"

    Taken by an unknown hunter in an unknown county in 1946 and is currently ranked 193rd.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 40

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Washington isn't known for whitetails, but it has a few. (Tim Irwin photo)

Season Dates (2020):

Archery season (for most) opens September 1 and ends either on September 20 or 25. The late archery season is from November 10, 20, or 25 to December 8 or 15, depending on location. Muzzleloader season runs from September 26 to October 4 and November 25 to December 8. General rifle season runs from October 17 to 27 or October 17 to 30, unit depending. Youth season opens October 17 and ends October 19, 27 or 30, depending on location. For some, it reopens November 7 to 19. Please check the state DNR's website to confirm season dates.

The Grade: B

Washington is home to blacktail, mule deer and whitetail deer and offers a total deer population estimated at 360,000. Its expanding whitetail numbers are mainly distributed throughout the eastern third of the state, with the highest density located in the northeast along the river bottoms, farmland and timbered hills in Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Lincoln counties. Whitetails typically comprise about 35 percent of the total deer harvest statewide with the vast majority of that occurring on public ground.

The complexity of Washington's unit systems, deer seasons and hunting regs don't bode well for its Antler Nation grade, though. While historically it received an A, we recently dropped its score to a B. The drop is mostly attributable to convoluted policies and rules, but also steep non-resident license fees and a limited whitetail range.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

If you want a western-style whitetail hunt, it's hard to pass on The Evergreen State. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) works diligently with private landowners to open private lands to public access. Go here to find enrolled tracts of land. There are also dozens of wildlife areas open to hunt, and these offer solid opportunities for deer hunters. Preliminary reports from agency biologists predict great public-land whitetail hunting in 2020.