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Washington State Mule Deer Tips

If you can contribute information click here Submit information (tips, area suggestions, etc)

This hunting information is provided as advice only.  It is the duty of the hunter to ensure that he or she is complying with all current laws and regulations.

 

For this species there are a few basics you need to understand in order to hunt them legally with the proper licenses and tags.  The WDFW regulations have a number of exceptions to the information provided below, these are general statements meant to help point the beginning hunter in hunting this particular species.  It is also the duty of the hunter to ensure that he or she is complying with all rules and regulations put in place for that season, species, and area they are hunting.

Mule deer reside on the eastern side of Washington State.  Mule deer hunting generally has the most restrictive seasons and little to no allowance for general late season rut hunting.  A hunter purchases a deer license (transport tag) and must choose a weapon (Modern Firearm, Archery, or Muzzleloader)  The deer license allows you to hunt any open area statewide and for all three managed species of deer.  You do not have to hunt just this species.   The WDFW has allotted seasons and areas for each of the weapon types.  You cannot hunt any other area or season outside of your weapon choice. The general season limit is one animal per year.

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.

There is no single "right" way to hunt Washington Mule Deer... being flexible and paying attention to your surroundings will increase your success.

Gear                                                                                

  • Some hunters have been able to effectively use tree stands for mule deer.  This will work especially well if you set up on a migration trail and have some patience. HWS staff

  • More and more timber company lands are being gated.  Buy a nice mountain bike and pedal into the area.  You’ll be amazed at how much area you can cover.  If you are handy or go to the local bike shop, you can have the freewheel noise disabled for a really silent bike. HWS staff

  • Be careful when hunting snowy logging roads.  Carry chains (even if you have a 4 x 4) a portable hand winch, survival gear and the like.  It does not take much to get yourself stuck way back, far away from help. HWS staff

  • When bowhunting Mule deer, keep spare arrows and even a spare bow.  This country is rough and you do not want to possibly ruin your entire hunt because something went wrong with your bow or supply of arrows. HWS staff

  • Bring an inexpensive digital camera with you.  The pictures will prevent your hunting buddies from lying or for them thinking you are a liar. Hint: (You can use photo editing software later to either add or subtract details from your hunting pictures.) HWS staff

  • You can buy a used external backpack from a thrift store to make an inexpensive pack board for hauling out those hind quarters.  Simply remove the fabric portions of the pack.  Don’t forget to include rope with the pack board to lash the meat on.

  • New LED flashlights are very cheap and last a long time.  Buy them in the bulk packs from Home Depot or Lowes.  Stash the extra flashlights in coat pockets, backpacks, camper, you name it.  Having all these extra lights around helps when you may have forgotten yours at home or back at camp. HWS staff

  • Don’t skimp on a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope.  The best way to hunt Mule deer is to find a spot that allows you to see the biggest portions of a drainage and sit down and glass… glass… glass…  The better your optics the better chance of you seeing that deer. HWS staff

  • Gather some vegetation from the area you plan to hunt. Store all of your hunting clothes in garbage bags with the vegetation. Even your underwear, pack, etc. This is the best scent mask I have found. (tip: courtesy Jeff D)

  • I would recommend a 25-06 or larger, also dress head to toe in camo these deer are smart wear it even if you are going to put orange over it, and wear a lot of clothes, you can always take it off, but you cant put it on if you do not have it!!! (courtesy Craig N.)

  • Packing along a small trail axe may add to the weight of your pack, but, will make field dressing your animals and clearing brush much easier. (Robert L, Sedro Wooley)

  • Make the investment of buying different types of boots for different terrain and weather.  It makes no sense to try to use a perfect lightweight early season boot during the colder winter months.  Likewise, you don’t want to use an insulated boot when it is warm out which may cause excessive sweating and smell. (John L, Redmond)

  • Keep your scoped rifle in the trunk or bed of the truck when in the field (when moving between hunting areas during the day).  Two reasons for this is 1) safety 2) your scope will already be acclimated to the temperature and humidity of the outside air.  You don’t want your scope to be foggy and wait for it to become acclimated. (John L, Redmond)

  • Anonymous tip regarding the above tip.  This would only happen if the outside was warmer than inside your vehicle and it was humid outside.  creating a cold glass entering a humid environment causing condensation.  (for the beginning of the day's hunt) I keep my gun in the cab where it is warm and dry and It does not fog up on me when I get out in the cold air because the glass is already warmer than the outside temp.  not the kind of conditions we deal with in the North West.  (added clarification to the above tip about moving from hunting site to hunting site throughout the day. (anon, and HWS Staff)

  • Also... never ever leave your weapon loaded (either in the chamber or magazine) in a vehicle, it is against the law and it is just plain dangerous.  You can be sited by game officials for simply resting a loaded weapon on or against your vehicle. Empty the weapon well before you get to your vehicle. (HWS Staff)

  • Organize all of your pack gear into ziploc baggies.  Washington State is a wet state.  Keeping everything in ziplocs keeps everything dry and odor free. (HWS Staff)

Habitat                                                                             

  • Mule Deer in Washington State reside only in the Eastern side of the State.  Their close cousins, the Blacktail deer, reside only on the West side.  There are some “cross” deer in the areas around White Salmon and along the Cascade Crest.   Pay attention to the hunting regulations to know if the deer in your hunting unit are considered Blacktails or Mulies “officially” WDFW  definition Mule Deer: Any member of black-tailed/mule deer (species Odocoileus hemionus) found east of a line drawn from the Canadian border south on the Pacific Crest Trail and along the Yakama Indian Reservation boundary in Yakima County to the Klickitat River; south down Klickitat River to the Columbia River. HWS staff

  • Mule deer populations are beginning to decline in Washington State, due to a number of factors including an exploding Whitetail population and increased land development in sensitive wintering areas. HWS staff

  • In units where Whitetails and Mule Deer are found together look for the whitetails down low and the mulies up high. HWS staff

  • Rut bucks will be around does, look for the doe. HWS staff

  • During the rut (Late Nov through Early Dec) Bucks will build harems of 4 or more does.  Watch for the solitary doe as this could mean that the doe has temporarily broken off from the harem and is in estrus.  The buck will be close by. HWS staff

  • Facts about poop: Moist pellets will mean that the animal was there within the last 12 hours.  Dry pellets mean the animal was there days, weeks, or months ago.  Soft and clumpy poop means the animal has been feeding on fruit of wet leafy greens.  Poop size is usually associated with the size of the animal.  The larger the poop, the bigger the animal.  Poop pellets spread out mean that the animal was walking when it pooped.  Poop in a pile means the animal was stationary. HWS staff

  • Buckbrush is the preferred browse for Mule Deer in the late fall and winter.  You will see mule deer hanging around buckbrush, especially when there is snow on the ground. HWS staff

  • Gated areas are becoming hot spots with untouched areas available for hunting. HWS staff

  • When hunting in deep snow, pay more attention to the Southern exposure sides of the hills.  The Southern exposure will tend to have significantly less snow and therefore more deer.  Subsequently, just because an area you have encountered has a huge snow cover, there could be isolated pockets up higher with absolutely no snow on them. HWS staff

Early Season Mule Deer in Velvet

  • When hunting Mule Deer in Washington State, it is advantageous to hunt from the highest point down…  Mule deer will typically spend the day on benches high on the side of hills and will watch for trouble coming from below.  Many Mule deer can be spotted in these beds and can be stalked up on.  Most of these benches will be difficult to see from below, but will stand out like a sore thumb from above. HWS staff

  •  Mule Deer will hang out in bachelor pockets up high in the mountains.  Most of these pockets are going to be in wilderness areas or miles and miles away from roads.  Consider one of the early rifle high buck hunts.  The success rates can vary, but, the biggest Mule deer bucks are going to be up in these areas. HWS staff

  • Mule deer generally shed their antlers anywhere between late December and late February.

  • Mule deer are very aware of the scent they leave behind and are continuously watching their backtrail.  Mule deer almost always bed downwind from their backtrail by looping back on their trail. Try to not hunt the trail but hunt 50 to 70 yards downwind of a known trail. (courtesy Mike D.)  Here is a diagram of how they bed.

  •  Mule deer have large ears for a reason.  They can hear very well and over long distances.  Pay attention to the noise you make.  It has also been said that Mule Deer have the best eyesight of any mammal in the US outside of the Pronghorn Antelope.  Be aware of this and do not let mule deer see you.  Courtesy Mike D

  • Older and wiser Mule Deer tend to hold in their beds more than a younger buck or doe.  The Buck that gets shot most often is the one that moves.  Go slowly through Mule deer territory.  Do not assume that the deer you spooked out of that draw were the only deer in there. Courtesy Mike D

  • Deer are diurnal, meaning that they are most active at dusk and dawn.  Cloudy days increase the time that a deer will spend in the open as the lower light levels will be more spread out.  (courtesy Mike D)

  • When observing browse or feeding areas, remember that the lighter the color of the nipped shrub or twig, the fresher the sign.  Older browse browns with age. (courtesy Mike D)

  • Mule deer tend to hit the tall timber during stormy weather.  During these stormy days, still hunt the timber.

  • Mule Deer have a special ability of bounding to move up and across nasty terrain efficiently.  For this reason alone, Mule deer will often bed in blow downs and really nasty tangles.  Look for these areas and watch carefully.  Mule deer bank on the idea that hunters think that blowdowns and seemingly impenetrable tangles will not hold deer.  They will hold in these areas really tightly, be prepared to see parts of antler tines or be prepared for the spooked buck and a quick opportunity for a shot. (courtesy Mike D)

  • When deer approach a waterhole or a water crossing, they will slow down and scan the area considerably.  Use these areas to ambush a deer.  (courtesy Mike D)

  • Mule deer crop damage complaints are rising in the areas around Vineyards. Use a wine tour to scout for new areas to hunt. You might find a willing winemaker to allow you access to their land to stop the mulies from munching on their prized vines.

  • Deer are usually considered "browsers" not grazers like cows, sheep and elk.  Think like a browsing animal when looking for deer. (courtesy Bill P)

  • In open country, deer will tend to bed near the only shrub or tree grove available.  Look for these islands to hold your deer.   Approach them from up-wind and remember that they will be usually watching from that
    direction.  It is also possible to find pockets of deer in low lying areas (depressions, gullies, washes and the like) not readily visible.  These animals have spent a lot of time being safe in these areas as they are very difficult to sneak in to without being detected. (courtesy Timothy T)

  • Easiest piece of advice regarding whether there are any bucks in an area..  If there are fawns... There are bucks (at least during rutting season) (courtesy R. Johnson)

  • Mule deer country is typically very dry, if hunting unpressured deer, take a stand near a water hole.  If hunting pressured deer, watch the trails leading to and from water holes. (courtesy Bill W, Cheney)

  • A big mistake we used to make was scout our deer in mid summer and wonder why the deer weren't there in the fall.  Speaking to game biologists later on we were told that is not uncommon that bucks move between a designated summer range and a distinctly different fall range. (Joel, Wenatchee)
     

Techniques                                                                   

  • First rule!  Know what you are shooting at !!!  There is no excuse for accidentally shooting something you did not intend to. HWS staff

  • Hire a guide for one season.  Chances are that guide will teach you more during your hunt than you would learn from years of "trying to figure it out on your own."  Guides are willing to teach and are getting paid to give you all their attention.  Most guides will be flattered if you continually pick their brains for information.

  • Wait along the fringes of clear-cuts, just inside the timber. HWS staff

  • Get out of your vehicle and walk away from the road.  Mule deer are smart, they recognize vehicle sounds and vary their routine accordingly.  You will find deer by driving logging roads, but, you will see many more quality animals by simply walking along a clear-cut or up a closed logging road. HWS staff

  • When you get up on a deer watch it closely to find out what your next move is.  Deer with ears turned toward you and tail up means you've been busted and the deer is just about to bolt.  Deer with ears toward you or the ears are constantly moving and stomping a front foot means they've busted you, but not really sure what you are yet.  The stomp is intended to get you to make a move.  Deer with ears constantly moving and the head is bobbing up and down usually means they think something might be there, but, they are not too alarmed.  If you don't move, these deer will settle down and provide a shot. HWS staff

  • Use a crowded hunting day to your advantage.  Find a bench or a saddle in the area you are hunting, get there before first light and wait for other hunters to kick the deer in your direction.   Saddles are the most heaviest used escape routes for bucks, especially on opening morning. HWS staff

  • When the snow flies… go hunting!  There is nothing better than tracking deer in fresh snow.  The snow starts falling typically during the late hunts (November and December.) HWS staff

  • Mule deer have a tendency to bound away when spooked.  Many times they will stop and look at their back trail to see if you are in pursuit.  This trait could present an opportunity with a lucky enough hunter. HWS staff

  • Conditions during late season hunting will be weather dependent.  Six inches of
    snow will get the deer moving, depths greater than 12-14" typically move deer out.  If there is not significant snowcover, deer will have moved close to winter ranges, but not necessarily onto winter ranges, in that case, I would concentrate my efforts between 2000-3,500' elevation.  If there is significant snow cover, you should be able to see plentiful deer in open, south-facing areas by glassing between 1,000-2,000'.  If snow is absent, deer will be in and along forested edges,
    and more difficult to see.  Both scenarios presume fog has not set in, which sometimes happens in Muley areas; should that occur, you would be well-advised to seek areas above or below the fog belt, if at all possible.

  • On sunny days, hunt from the shadows.  Never stop with the sun beating down on you, this is a great way for deer to see you.

  • When scouting look at areas where you see tall horse fences around gardens, orchards, and the like.  More than likely, that homeowner has a deer or elk problem.  You may have a pretty good shot at getting on their land to hunt their nuisance deer.

  • Be aware of how you are hunting mulies... You typically cannot pattern them like you can a whitetail.  The most effective way to hunt mulies is by spot and stalk, period.

  • Scent tips

  • When tracking a deer, pay attention to its tracks in the dirt or snow.  A meandering path signals a deer which is feeding or is looking for a place to bed.  A straight path signals that a deer is on the move and is moving from one point or other.  A path which is straight but shows the deer stopped and turned around is a sign that a deer knows it is being stalked. A spooked mule deer will leave tracks that show all four hoof prints near each other.  Mule deer bound when spooked.  The bounding allows the mule deer to cover a significant amount of territory without regard to blow downs, creeks, and the like (courtesy Mike D)

  • Get in the habit of erasing deer tracks you come upon in areas that you will hunt more than 1 day.  By erasing those prints, you will be able to tell with great precision when new tracks were made.

  • When hunting open draws, get above likely brushy bedding areas and throw pebbles into the tangle.  Oftentimes even small brushy areas will hold a bedded buck just waiting for you to walk right by. (courtesy Mike D)

  • Some hunters have been able to successfully rattle Mule Deer.  Mule deer tend to not be as aggressive before, during or after the rut as whitetails or blacktails.  Rattle softly and focus on knocking around saplings and brush which is how real bucks react with other bucks in the area. (courtesy Mike D)

  • When looking over terrain for bucks.  Watch for things other than deer.  Bucks will rub on saplings which make the tree move.  Also, deer moving through tall brush will move the brush as they walk.  Look for these signs and you will find a chance at seeing deer. (courtesy Mike D)

  • If at all possible, try to hunt mule deer from the top of a ridge down.  Mule deer tend to bed on benches which have a good vantage point of the terrain below.  They rarely look above unless that is a common direction where hunters come from in the area.  (courtesy Jeff L, Seattle)

  • If you see mule deer moving during the day, it would be best to sit on a stand overlooking possible funnel areas.  Let the deer do the work and come to you. (Bill M, Walla Walla)

  • We hunt in a large group of guys.  We get our deer every year by driving the mulies up the ridges where we have standers sitting and waiting for the bucks we push to them.  Those of us who have filled our tags just go after grouse or yotes to participate in the push.  We do a lot of coordination of our locations and wear a lot of hunter orange to prevent accidents. (TIm S., Pullman)

  • Get in the habit of breaking up your walking gait.  A sure sign that a human is walking is the steady pace of his footprints.  Break up your walking pace like a deer or elk would and walk 10 paces, stop, walk 2, stop ...mix it up! (courtesy Ron P, Woodinville)

  • Best way to hunt Washington Mulies is to glass for them.  In the morning, the mulies will be moving to their beds, look for movement.  In the midday, look for bedded bucks on saddles and benches, in the evening, look for bucks on the move to night time feeding areas. ()courtesy Bill W, Cheney)

  • When archery hunting open country for mulies plan to stay out all day. 80 plus degree days are not uncommon. As deer bed down in the morning they favor areas that provide shade. As the day progresses these early bedding areas are exposed to full sun. Thus, as the sun rises deer tend to move to cooler areas. Perfect for spot and stalk hunting after high noon! Plus mulies do respond to the rattling of antlers. Does and bucks alike.  However, a buck that is hot on a doe is not likely to leave a sure thing. Typical guy!  (courtesy Bob T)

  • Many hunters think that a bright full moon all night will affect the next day's hunt.  What it will do is is make the animals get up and move in the middle of the day rather than in the early morning or late evening.  Animals won't bed down all day long and still need to eat, drink, and stretch their legs.  (courtesy Smith J.)

  • While the actual time can vary... The Mulie rut usually begins full swing in mid November and goes through the first couple of days of December.  You will see Mulies in rutting behavior Sept through December, but most of the actual breeding happens around Thanksgiving.  Most of the rut Mule deer seasons are by special permit only. (courtesy R. Johnson)

  • In the open country of most Eastern WA non forested areas,  hunt the lone trees and the lone scrub islands.  The bucks feeding in the fields use these places for their bedding areas.  Approach these hotspots prepared to see a deer.  (courtesy Dean T, Walla Walla)

  • It has been my experience that Mule Deer use their vision much more than any other deer.  Smell is not as important to Mulies as other deer. (courtesy Dean T, Walla Walla)

  • When pre season scouting, I go through the area I intend to hunt as quickly as I can and cover as much area as I can.  You will spook the animals, but note where they were and what they were doing.  It makes no sense to still hunt in pre season as you won’t cover nearly enough ground for a proper scouting trip. (Tripp K, Everett)

  • When packing out an animal’s head, cover it with a brightly colored cloth so that you aren’t mistaken for a live animal. (Tripp K, Everett)

  • Keep your head down or crawl when you approach or are stalking an animal.  You are less likely to spook an animal. Think like a 4 legged animal.  In nature, something up on two legs is generally considered aggressive posturing and will automatically put animals at alarm.  (Tripp K, Everett)

  • When glassing an area, get into a position where you will be relaxed and comfortable.  You will need to glass an area for quite a while and don’t want to be cramped up to chase after that spotted animal.  (Tripp K, Everett)

  • Don’t still hunt for rut bucks.  These guys are moving around to breed as many does as they can find.  Hunt the scrapes and the travel corridors and resist the urge to try to still hunt a constantly moving animal. (Dan T, Seattle)

  • Grunt tubes and doe bleats can effectively stop or slow down a deer moving away from you.  Make one of these noises to get the deer to stop and present a shot.

  • When scouting areas… do not overlook areas that you think wouldn’t hold any animals.  Sometimes, these areas are precisely where the animals go. (Mitchell K, Clarkston)

  • When tracking or hunting on a game trail, resist the urge to continually look down and watch the animal’s tracks.  Stop and watch where the tracks go to and go to that next point keeping your head up the whole time.  You don’t want to be caught looking at your feet when the animal may be just yards in front of you. (Dean T, Walla Walla)

  • Early season Mulies are rarely found on South facing slopes.  It's too hot for them.  Look on the north slopes for bedded bucks.

  • I never hunt on the weekends.  I only hunt Monday-Friday.  Far fewer hunters in the woods (courtesy Mike D)

  • When packing out your animal during Modern firearm season, tie orange surveyors tape around antlers...Even though you are wearing orange, if all other hunters see is the antlers of your animal, they may wanna take a shot...safety first.. (courtesy S Glenn)

  • In Palouse country, the bucks tend to bachelor up and is very common to see them way out in the middle of a field with no cover and where you would least expect them.  We look over every portion of our leased land. (Pat, Colfax)

 

Miscellaneous___________________________________

  • Get in shape!  You need to be in shape to trudge through Washington State Mule Deer country. Most mule deer habitat is steep, tall and unforgiving.  When Washingtonians talk about mountains... we really mean mountains.  It is not uncommon to climb thousands of feet of vertical during a typical day's hunt.  Not to mention if you bag something, you are going to have to haul the animal out.  Your hunt will go significantly smoother if you are physically prepared.  Run, jog, lift weights, bicycle, whatever it takes! HWS staff

  • Washington Mule deer reside in the east-side of the state.   HWS staff

  • Keep alcohol back at camp or the hotel.  Guns and booze never mix. HWS staff

  • Be careful when hunting snowy logging roads.  Carry chains (even if you have a 4 x 4) a portable hand winch, survival gear and the like.  It does not take much to get yourself stuck way back in the woods, far away from help. HWS staff

  • When scouting look at areas where you see tall horse fences around gardens, orchards, and the like.  More than likely, that homeowner has a deer or elk problem.  You may have a pretty good shot at getting on their land to hunt their nuisance deer.

  • Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife Game Wardens are using elk and deer decoys (aka robo deer) to nab poachers and rule violators.  Don't shoot from the road, your vehicle, in closed seasons/hours or any other situation which is not 100% legal.  Youtube is filled with videos taken by game wardens where lazy hunters think they have an easy shot at an animal only to find that they are shooting at a decoy with wardens close by videotaping them.  No buck or bull is worth the fines and sanctions implemented when you are convicted of a game violation.

  • Facts about blood after the shot:  Pay attention to where you shot the animal.   Bright pink, frothy blood means that the shot hit the lungs.  The animal will expire very quickly.  Regular Red blood will mean a heart shot or some other muscle group has been shot.   Wait 30 minutes minimum before going after the animal.  Dark red/Brown blood typically means a paunch shot animal.  Do not go after this animal for at least a couple of hours.  If this animal is not pressured, the animal will bed down and slowly expire.  If you push the animal, it could conceivably travel many miles before dying.

  • Never pass up on the first day what you would shoot on the last day of your hunt. (courtesy Smith J)

  • Here is a photo of the 1979 Bill Barcus World Record Archery Mule Deer Buck.  It is 38 inches wide.  Note the length of the tines as compared to the face and ears.  If you are looking for a record Mulie, look for antler width and girth like the picture shown below.  Any buck with a spread of 30 inches or more is considered a trophy.

  • When packing out quarters and you have to leave portions in the field overnight, hang your meat in bags from a tree.  Coyotes and ravens will easily find your gut pile and your remaining meat.  A small pack of coyotes will easily make off with your quarters.  (Todd G, Kenmore)

  • Be prepared! Know that a mature buck will weigh 250 to 300 pounds alive. Removing the entrails will only reduce it by about 40 pounds. If/when you kill a buck that is the start of a whole new adventure of getting it to your rig. Some unprepared hunters cheat by driving where they shouldn’t to retrieve their game; some pay with their lives because they are not in good enough physical condition to drag their game out. Be prepared, have a partner and a plan to assure you won’t waste or ruin your winter’s meat. (anon)

  • Know your gun and your abilities!  Know that most any wound from a firearm will eventually prove fatal to a deer when winter sets in. Be familiar with your firearm, and be sure to sight in your rifle every year to assure it is shooting accurately. Know your rifles and your own shooting limitations and do not take high risk shots. Be a responsible hunter. (anon)

  • Meth manufacturers and marijuana growers frequently use public land.  If you see or stumble into a site, clear out of the area as fast as you can and notify authorities.  These folks are ten times more dangerous than any grizzly you may encounter.

 

  • Special Seasons have been developed to hunt some species.  Special Permits are always required.   There are no general seasons. The Permits "grow in value" the more years you apply for them.  This is excerpted from the WDFW FAQ regarding special permits.

    Q: How do the hunt choices work?
    A: When the drawing occurs, it is as if all of the applications for a species are placed in a barrel. The computer spins the barrel by issuing random numbers to each application. The lowest random number that is issued to each application is the number used to order the applications from the lowest random number to the highest. It is the same as drawing cards from a barrel one by one. The application with the lowest random number is drawn first from the barrel and the hunt choices are checked. As each application comes up for consideration, the first hunt choice is checked to see if there is a permit left to be awarded. If there is none left, the second hunt choice is checked. If there is a permit available for that hunt choice, the application is selected for that hunt. If not, the process continues until all of the hunt choices on the application have been checked. If all of the hunt choices marked on the card have run out of permits, no permits are awarded to that application.

    Q: How do I build up points?
    A: Each person who applies for a special hunt permit for a species receives a point for applying. If that person is not awarded a special hunt permit during that drawing the point is retained. If the person is awarded the permit, that person's point total drops to zero. If the person who was not awarded a permit for that species applies the next year, they then have two points. A single point is built up each year the person applies for a species until the person is awarded a permit.

    Q: What is the value of building up points?
    A: Building up points is very much like putting more application cards into the barrel. Those that have more cards in the barrel have an advantage over those that have less. The more points a person has built up for a species over time, the greater are the chances that his/hers will be selected.

    Q: I heard that the points have multipliers on them. What is that for?
    A: Some permit drawing systems are designed so that one random number is issued for each point built up for the species by the applicant. It is the same as having one card in the barrel for each point (one point - one card, two points - two cards, etc.).

    Washington's system places a multiplier on the points. The number of points is squared and it is this number of random numbers that are issued to the application (or number of cards in the barrel). If a person applies for an elk permit for the first time, they have one card in the barrel. If a person has built up two points, they have four cards in the barrel. If a person has three points built up, nine cards are in the barrel and so on.

    Placing a multiplier on the points more noticeably increases the chances of being selected over someone who is a new applicant or was recently awarded a permit as points are built up.

    Special Permit Application odds (2008)

     

     

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