For many, hunting and fishing in the Walla Walla Valley during the fall is a lifelong tradition, for others it’s a new activity. Fortunately for them both, handy information is available.
In Washington and Oregon, booklets of regulations are available from each state’s fish and wildlife departments, online and at license vendor locations in the appropriate state.
At this time in Washington, all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, are required to take a hunter education class and have the completion card to prove it. Information about the training is available at wdfw.wa.gov.
Wearing florescent orange and/or florescent pink is also required to hunt — 400 square-inches of it, not just a hat. It must be above the waist and obviously, the outer layer of clothing. This is for your own protection; you want other hunters to see you and know immediately you’re not a game animal.
In addition to being trained, hunters must purchase a big or small game license with a specific species option tag, such as deer and elk. In Washington, deer can be hunted over many locations depending on the season, while in Oregon you have to be in one specific location. Another factor is the type of weapon that will be used in the hunt.
You can purchase a hunting license from vendors, by phone at 1-866-246-9453, or online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov. Revenue from license fees supports statewide wildlife management.
To find out the rules and regulations, pick up the free booklet “Washington’s 2020 Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations” from retail vendors such as Cascade Farm and Outdoor, Bi-Mart, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Walmart and Big 5 Sporting Goods.
Always refer to the state manual.
Modern Firearm General Deer Seasons
Black-tailed deer, Oct. 17-Nov.1, specified Game Management Units and type of animal.
White-tailed deer, Oct. 17-27, specified GMUs and type of animal.
Mule Deer, Oct. 17-27, specified GMUs and type of animal.
Late General Season
Black-tailed deer, Nov. 19-22, specific GMUs and type of animal.
White-tailed deer, Nov. 7-19 specific GMUs and type of animal.
Early archery, generally Sept. 1-25, specific GMUs and type of animal.
Late archery, general deer season, generally mid-late November to mid-late December, check regulations, specific GMUs and type of animal.
Early Muzzle-loader General Deer SeasonsBlack-tailed deer, white-tailed deer and mule deer, Sept. 26-Oct. 4, specific GMUs and type of animal.
Applications may be made for special permits for deer hunters with disabilities.
To hunt elk in Washington you need a big game hunting license with elk as a species option. Then choose whether you want to hunt in Eastern or Western Washington and select the tag for that area and method: modern firearm, muzzle-loader or archery.
Modern firearms, Oct. 31-Nov. 8 and Nov. 15, specific areas
Early archery, Sept. 12-24, specific elk areas.
Early muzzle-loader, Oct. 3-9, specific elk areas.
Late muzzle-loader, Oct. 31-Nov. 15, specific elk areas.
A wide variety of animals beyond deer and elk are considered game, including cougar, black bear, goat, moose, bighorn sheep, bobcat, coyote, fox and more. As with deer and elk, check the Washington state regulations for important details.
For both practiced and beginning hunters in Oregon, “Big Game Hunting Regulations” provides information for safe and lawful hunting, available at Ranch and Home on Highway 11 near Milton-Freewater. You can get more information online from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at dfw.state.or.us and at the new hunting and fishing site myodfw.com.
Licenses, tags and controlled hunt applications can be obtained at license agents in the state, online, by mail, by fax or in person at the headquarters office.
The booklet “Oregon Game Bird Regulations” will give you information on hunting game birds; “Sport Fishing Regulations” also provides information for fishing seasons and species.
Oregon General Season Dates
Species Season Dates Tag RequiredEastern Oregon deer center-fire firearm, controlled hunting, generally Sept. 28-Oct. 9.
Bow-hunting deer, Eastern Oregon, Aug. 24-Sept. 22, and controlled hunts.
General black bear, statewide, Aug. 1-Dec.31.
General cougar, statewide, Jan. 1-Dec. 31.
For detailed information refer to your state’s manual or call the Department of Fish and Wildlife for your area.