Big Game Hunting
Big Game Units
400 series unit information
As more and more information is added to each individual unit's information, we will dedicate full pages to them.
Hunting success requires significant planning and preparation. Very few hunters can be successful without properly scouting an area or preparing well before the season starts. The most serious (and successful) hunters "hunt" year-round. That is to say, they are continually improving their woodmanship, marksmanship, and knowledge of their quarry. The most successful hunters are in the field every month of the year. They know their quarry and their hunting areas very well. Hunting is an activity that is directly affected by the amount of front-end work a person puts into it.
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WAC 232-28-334 Game management units (GMUs) boundary descriptions -- Region four.
(all harvest statistics are from the WDFW).
WDFW Wildlife Areas Region 4
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 422) ( Elk - 1) ( Bear - 11) ( Cougar - 0) (Turkey - 3)
This area is mostly privately owned. It is a very agricultural area and access could be had by knocking on a few doors before the season starts.
Sumas mountain is public, but very crowded at all times of the year by non hunters. _______________________________________________________________________
GMU 410-ISLANDS (San Juan and Island counties):
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 462) ( Elk - 0) ( Bear - 1) ( Cougar - 0) (Turkey - 1)
There are deer literally everywhere in this unit. You will easily harvest your deer if you secure permission to hunt private land. Most public access is not known at this time. Cypress Island NCRA is a possible area to hunt for those with a boat that can reach the uninhabited island.
Hunter success rates are very high in this unit and second deer tags are really easy to obtain. You could contact a local grange or a local co-op who may have a lead on someone who will allow a bowhunter or shotgunner on their land. The prevalence of high fences and sheer number of deer seen on a given day lends itself that for those who wish to do some foot work, this could be the easiest hunting in the state.
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 108) ( Elk - 0) ( Bear - 48) ( Cougar - 1) (Turkey - 1)
Church Mountain to the North of Nooksack holds quite a few deer both high and low. There are some great logging system roads along Hwy 542. This unit is always socked in with weather so hunt the snowline, if possible. Be prepared for lots of rain.
You can also try the slide mountain area south of Kendall. There are some clearcuts in this area. Lyman hill has a huge network of roads and mixes of different stands of forests. Sumas Mountain holds quite a few deer, be careful of non hunters riding mountain bikes in the area.
population of permit only Elk are in many spots of the unit. Almost
all of it is on private land.
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 13) ( Elk - 0) ( Bear - 1) ( Cougar - 0) (Turkey - 0)
This area comprises the Ross lake National Rec Area. Deer can be found in this unit, but, it is high alpine forest and deer densities are low. You can either boat or hike up Ross Lake and hunt around the multitude of campsites on the Eastside of the lake. The terrain is steep and unforgiving!
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 140) ( Elk - 6) ( Bear - 29) ( Cougar - 1) (Turkey - 0)
Finney Creek area just south of Hwy 20 and off the Concrete-Sauk Valley Rd. Lots and lots of roads (and hunting pressure) to hunt on. Check out the ditched roads or closed roads, the other road hunters will do a great job of keeping the deer moving in your direction. Little Deer and Deer Creek has some decent access to prime blacktail habitat. A lot of road hunters in the unit, so use that knowledge to your advantage.
Sauk Mountain area has some later stage clearcuts and some high mountain terrain. However, this area has considerable non-hunter use as it is so close to HWY 20.
Walker Valley ORV Trail System provides 10+ square miles of trails and woods. This area is reserved for ORV use, so if you can get in to the areas that are isolated (NE section). You can find some solitude, a few deer, and some grouse. The system is just East of Mount Vernon off of HWY 9 and up Lake Cavanaugh Rd.
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 127) ( Elk - 0) ( Bear - 50) ( Cougar - 1) (Turkey - 0)
Boulder River Wilderness is remote and rugged and holds deer. Be prepared for remote and tough hiking. There are a number of areas to hunt right off the Mountain Loop Hwy. Green mountain, just north of Verlot has a few roads getting in to it. Access Through FR 41 on the West side. Huge storms have been through this area over the past couple of years. A number of the areas hold washouts and closed roads. Hike up past the closures and you are guaranteed to get into some solitary hunting.
Glacier Peak Wilderness is very remote, but holds great up-country game. Early season deer and elk can be found in pockets and feeding in the open meadows. Follow any one of the trails in the extensive trail system and hike. Get up high and glass in the early morning.
According to the WDFW all other lands in this unit are hunted primarily by local residents who have access to private lands in the foothills. (2007 Game status and trend report)
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 16) ( Elk - 0) ( Bear - 9) ( Cougar - 0) (Turkey - 0)
Forest Rd 65 provides access to this unit. Not a lot of deer in the area, but, they can be found. The area is mountainous and rough. Look around the Meadow Creek area.
Suiattle, Sauk, and White Chuck Rivers will leave the crowds behind due to
its remoteness. But, the hunting in these areas can be quite
productive for a person wishing to do a little bit "extra." This area
is in the Wilderness area and is available for early season high buck
hunting. Look for that trophy "benchleg" buck.
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 220) ( Elk - 58) ( Bear - 23) ( Cougar - 0) (Turkey - 0)
Taylor Mountain just east off Hwy 18. Weyerhauser land (across from Tiger mountain parking area) Area is gated, but, excellent for bike or boot in hunting. Look for deer trails in amongst the reprod.
WDFW has reported a significant number of complaints regarding elk and deer damage to ornamental shrubs and gardens from home owners. You might find an opportunity to harvest one of these urban bucks
or bulls if you knock on the right door...
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 132) ( Elk - 20) ( Bear - 36) ( Cougar - 2) (Turkey - 0)
Itís important to note that there are nice deer and Elk herds in this unit, but, as the Puget Sound area grows in population, the once easily accessed lands are quickly turning into 10 or 20 acre homesites. You can access active Hancock logging lands. Good access can be had by the Griffin Creek access gate. This area is gated and is only allowed by boot or bike. Coming in from the North off of Hwy2 will get you in to the North side of the Snoqualmie tree farm. The farm makes up most of the prime deer habitat in this unit and is very popular. However, if you are willing to take a bicycle in to the gated areas. you can find some really remote areas to hunt. The area is a very active logging operation. Look for two to 5 year old clear cuts, hunt the fringes.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness holds some high country deer and is a great early high hunt for rifle hunters. Be prepared for lots of non-hunters in the unit as it is only 30 minutes from Seattle and is a popular day/weekend hiking area. If you can find areas with fringe habitat away from trails, you should get into some animals.
The significant majority of GMU timber areas are managed for timber production. Annual rotational timber harvests create optimum deer and elk habitat.
The Snoqualmie Tree Farm up here is now owned by Hancock who bought it from Weyerhauser in 2003. They have locked gates on nearly all of the forestry roads, except the main road. However, you can buy a vehicle pass for your immediate family for $250 at the beginning of December at the North Bend Ace Hardware. These sell out very quickly so you want to move on them as soon as you can. You are welcome to go past the gates for non-motorized use without a pass, but the steepness of the terrain makes for quite the hike/bike. There are plenty of deer and elk in the valley floor on private land, but there is definitely a noted lack of deer and elk in the tree farm. I have heard this repeatedly from long time hunters here and it jives with my experience hunting Hancock for two years in 2007 and 2008. It would be worth a call to the Mill Creek WDFW office for the latest information on this forest before you spend the money for a pass or the time hiking. Hunting the valley floor generally means getting permission to hunt on private land. (courtesy Andrea G)
Hancock Snoqualmie Website (courtesy Don C)
2006 General Harvest = (Deer - 14) ( Elk - 6) ( Bear - 7) ( Cougar - 0) (Turkey - 0)
Stampede Pass is effective anywhere in the unit. However, Snow is your friend here. As the snow flies, itíll push the deer further down the mountainside and congregate them at lower elevations. Go South from I-90 up FR 54 and hunt any of the logging roads in the area. Check out the Green River drainage, but be aware of where the watershed boundary is.
GMU 485-GREEN RIVER (King County):
"Lots of glassing. Lots of roads. Luck of the draw. I put in for ten years before I drew. Don't shoot the first buck you see unless he is a bruiser. You have a week to hunt the unit and there are plenty of shooter bucks that you can take at the end of the hunt if you don't see the BIG ONE." (courtesy Spike N.)
GMU 490-CEDAR RIVER (King County):
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