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not a true spike.  Not legal in true spike areas.


Many obscure terms are used by hunters.  This page is dedicated to those terms and what they might mean generally to most hunters.  Some serious, some fun...

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

Big Game

  • Hawg  - very large buck or bull

  • Raghorn - Bull or buck with unimpressive antler growth.

  • Slick Head  - Doe or Cow

  • Forkie - Two point deer or elk

  • Pisscutter - Small animal like a spike or a yearling

  • A-typical - Antler growth which does not fork typically (off a single beam or branch)

  • Beam - Main antler coming off an animal

  • Tine - Antler point

  • 140, 150, 160 class buck, bull, etc - total measurement and score of an antlered animal.  Trophy hunter speak for size of antler growth.

  • 28, 29, 30 inch buck - Inside measurement of the antler spread of a deer.

  • Bambi - yearling deer, elk, or moose. Also a fictional cartoon character.

  • Bench Leg - Mule Deer/Blacktail cross usually found along the pacific crest trail where the two subspecies intermix.

  • Piebald - Calico colored deer either with white splotches or different colored splotches.

  • 4 X 4, 3 X 2, 5 X 4 - Specific antler count specifying number of forks on each side of a deer or elk's antlers.  "Eastern count" adds all points together. "Western count" typically only counts a single side.

  • Royal bull - 6 X 6 (6 points to a side)

  • Imperial Bull - 7 X 7 (7 points to a side)

  • Monarch Bull - 8 X 8 (8 points to a side)

  • Spike - Single pair of tines no branching

  • True Spike - one point off each antler only.  No branching on either antler

  • Button buck - Button buck

  • Book animal - An animal whose antlers are of such a size to place in a record book.  Boone and Crockett (all weapons) or Pope and Young (archery)

  • Stand hunting - Sitting in one place either on the ground or in a tree and waiting for animals to come to the hunter.

  • Still hunting - Walking extremely slowly in a hunting unit while analyzing all details of the surrounding area and hoping to spot a deer unaware.

  • Spot and stalk hunting - Glassing or looking at a bedded or a stationary animal and planning your hunt towards that location or to an area with a better opportunity for a shot.

  • Track/Tag soup - an unfilled tag after the days hunt or the end of the season.

  • Wallow - Elk mud hole used for rutting and for keeping bugs away

  • Scrape - A pawing of the ground made by rutting deer.  Deer will mark their territory by scraping the dirt and urinating in it.

  • Rub - A place on a tree where deer and elk rub their antlers against.  Before the rut, this is to remove excess velvet off of antlers.  During the rut, this is to relieve the bull or buck of some frustration.

  • GMU - Game management unit as defined by the Washington Department of Wildlife.  These are subdivisions of counties which are managed as separate and distinct hunting areas.

  • Glassing - using binoculars or a spotting telescope to look over an area to search for animals.

  • Ranging - using a range finder to determine the distance an animal or area is away.

  • Timber tiger - Noisy chipmunk or squirrel.

  • Stick bow - Long bow - usually handmade.

  • Vitals - vital organs in an animal's body where a hunter can assure a quick and clean kill if properly hit.

  • Stand - Any place a hunter places himself in wait for game to pass by.  This can either be simply sitting on a treestump to very elaborate tree forts.

  • Hide - Another word for stand, but typically infers that the stand is a permanent structure.

  • Sticker/Trash  -  Any  irregular point coming off a normally forked tine.

  • Drop Tine -  Rare occurrence of an antler point which drops down from the main beam.

  • Full Curl / 3/4 curl - Bighorn sheep horn growth which twists in on itself either completely or 3/4 around the spiral.

  • Ivories - Elk have canine-like teeth on the upper part of their mouth.  Native Americans would remove these teeth to make jewelry or beads.

  • Palmation - Flat, Spread-out Antler growth.  (courtesy Steve F)  

  • Diurnal - Animals which are active either during the day or during the night.

  • Crepuscular- Animals which are most active during dawn and dusk.

  • Nocturnal - Animals primarily active at night.

  • Matutinal - Active only at dawn.

  • Vespertine - Active only at dusk.


  • Deke  - Decoy

  • Suzy  - Hen Mallard

  • Drake - male duck

  • Mud Duck/Mud Hen - Coot

  • Block - Decoy

  • Spread -  Placed decoys in either the water or a field

  • Blind -  Any place you conceal yourself from incoming birds.

  • Pit Blind -  Any Blind dug out of the earth (usually permanent)

  • Coffin/Layout Blind - Blinds which make the hunter lay on their backs and then rise up and shoot from a seated position. 

  • Sky busting - Taking a long shot at a bird where it is unlikely that the shot will actually effectively kill the bird.

  • Bluebird day -  Warm, windless, cloudless day.  (typical opening day of ducks in Washington)

  • Cold duck hunting day - Below Freezing

  • Very Cold duck hunting day - You have to chip the ice off of your dekes every hour

  • Stupid cold duck hunting day - Your boat and decoys all freeze solid in the water and you have to come back in the spring to retrieve them.

  • Jake - Juvenile male turkey

  • Jenny - Juvenile female turkey

  • Tom - Fully matured turkey

  • Sprig - Pintail duck

  • Baldpate - Widgeon duck

  • Lesser - Small or juvenile Canada goose

  • Greater - Large or fully matured Canada Goose

  • Speck - Specklebellied Goose

  • Snow - Snow Goose

  • Jump shooting -  Locating resting or feeding ducks or geese and moving into effective range to shoot.

  • Sluicing - Shooting waterfowl while the birds are still on the water.

  • Choke - The end of the barrel will constrict or open to allow a tighter or looser shot pattern.  How much it constricts or opens is called choke.  So, 70% Pattern At Given Yardage:

  • Extra Full - 45 yards.
    Full - 40 yards.
    Modified - 35 yards.
    Improved Cylinder - 30 yards.
    Cylinder - 25 Yards.

  • Redleg- Typically the name given to a big Northern fat mallard

  • Flagging - Waiving of a sheet, kite, or other attracting decoy-like material to produce movement in your stand or blind to catch the attention of passing birds.

  • Flood and Ebb - High tide and low tide, respectfully

  • Bobwhite - Quail

  • Grey Mallard - Gadwall duck

  • Can - Canvasback duck

  • Sawbill - Merganser

  • Oldsquaw - Longtailed duck

  • Bluebill - Scaup duck

  • Mudhen - coot

  • Whistler - Goldeneye duck

  • Zombie - duck which comes alive after you are "sure" that it's dead.


  • Draw - convergence of two hills where there typically will be a stream or stream bed.

  • Saddle - a dip along a ridge which is lower than the surrounding hills.

  • Bench - A typically small area on a hillside that is flat and will be a favored place for an animal to bed down.

  • Clearcut - Any wide open area where trees have been removed either by loggers or by fire.

  • Burn - Any wide open area which has been burned over.

  • Reprod -  Any clearcut which has been replanted.

  • Jack Fir - Reprod between 10 yrs old and 20 yrs old.

  • Old Growth - Forest which is older than logging.

  • Second Growth - Forest which is growing in an area where logging has occurred.

  • Corridor - any area frequently used by animals as a travel zone

  • Riparian - Land area which butts up against water.  Typically the brushy sections in an area that surround streams, ponds, creeks, and the like.  Riparian zones are the most key and elemental area in wildlife habitat.

  • Tanktrap - This is a deep cut depression dug into and across a road by a backhoe to prevent vehicle travel.

Optics (riflescopes, spotting scopes, range finders and binoculars)

  • 10x42, 8x30, 12x40, ... Definition of the type of optics you are using.  The first number is the magnification and the second number is the size of the aperture.

  • Magnification - How big an object looks through optics, as opposed to the naked eye.  Example: using 10x binoculars will make an animal standing 1000 yards away look like he is only 100 yards away. (1000/10 = 100)

  • Aperture - The diameter of the objective lens of an optical device.

  • Exit Pupil Size - The size of the round disc of light you see at the eye piece, if you hold the binoculars up, just away from your eyes.  The larger the round disc of light, the brighter the object.  Human pupils only open 2-5 mm during the day.  5-7 mm at morning light and dusk.  You will need an exit pupil size which accommodates the differences in your pupil.  The exit pupil size can be measured by Aperture divided by Magnification.  Good quality optics will have an exit pupil size of more than 4mm and the disc of light in the eye piece will be very round, not boxy.

  • Real Field of View - The actual degree of declination that the optical device actually shows.  Or the width of the view you see through your optics, expressed in degrees of an arc, which starts at the point of the holder of the device.

  • Apparent Field of View - refers to the real field of view, with the magnification power of the binoculars taken into account as well.

  • Lens Coatings - Optical lenses take light and bend it.  These lenses are typically made of glass.  For all of the reflection off the glass and the lens dynamics itself, over 8% of the light captured will be lost.  Lens coatings perform numerous jobs and is why the higher end optics have multiple lens coatings.  Coatings can absorb light, reflect light back into the lens, prevent scratching, and the like.  Remember, scratched lens blur images and reduce light.  Take proper care of your lenses!

  • Image Stabilization - Gyroscopic, mechanical, or electrical methods to prevent images from shaking.  These features will add significantly to the cost of any binocular.

  • Quality -  Numerous things affect quality.  Generally speaking, the more expensive an optic, the higher the quality of features that device will have.  Things to look for in high quality optics:  Lens Coatings, High Exit pupil size, Magnification, Nitrogen purged, Waterproof, Shock Proofing, and most of all... they work well.  Take a look through many different brands and types of optics before you buy one.  You should be able to tell which optic is right for you by doing a simple "test drive."

  • WIndage - Variance of a shot pattern either to the left or to the right of a target either caused by wind or by misalignment of the scope/sight.

  • Elevation - Variance of a shot pattern either up or down of a target either caused misalignment of the scope/sight

  • DOA - Dead on Accurate

Politics and Other

  • 509er - Person who lives in Eastern Washington

  • Wet sider - Person who lives in Western Washington

  • Stick flinger - Bowhunter

  • Nimrod - Muzzleloader

  • 5 - O - Game Warden

  • OIL - Once in a Lifetime tag draw (like Mountain Goat, Moose and Bighorn Sheep)

  • OTC - Over-the-counter.  No special permit application is necessary to purchase an over-the-counter tag.

  • RCW - Revised Code of Washington - Acronym for Washington State Laws

  • WAC - Washington Administrative Code - Rules and/or further explanation of RCWs for proper administration of the Law.

  • BLM - Bureau of Land Management

  • CRP - Conservation Reserve Program -  Program thatprovides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner.  The program provides assistance to farmers and ranchers in complying with 
     Federal, State, and tribal environmental laws, and encourages environmental enhancement. The program is funded through the Commodity  Credit Corporation (CCC). CRP is administered by the Farm Service Agency,  with NRCS providing technical land eligibility determinations,  conservation planning and practice implementation.

  • Preservation vs Conservation - Preservation means non use of a resource while conservation means careful and thoughtful use of a resource.

Firearms and other hunting equipment (typical nomenclature)

  • Action - Type and style of how shells are injected and ejected from a firing chamber.

  • Breech - Where a shell or cartridge enters or exits the chamber.

  • Magazine - The portion of a firearm that holds extra ammunition.

  • Autoloader - Semi-automatic / self feeding shotgun or rifle.  Either gas or springs eject the spent cartridge and cycles another shell into the chamber.

  • Rifling - The grooves cut into a rifle or pistol barrel which cause the bullet to spin.

  • Smoothbore - A gun with no rifling (typically a shotgun)

  • BuckShot - Large pellet cartridge used for shotgun hunting of big game.  Sometimes referred as 00 (double-aught) buck.

  • Slug - Single projectile cartridge used for shotgun hunting of big game.

  • Pump - Shotgun which has a slide "action" which ejects a shell and cycles another shell upon completing the full cycle.

  • Lever Action - (pronounced "Leever" action.  Typically a type of rifle where the action cycles the shells through the pushing and pulling a lever mounted below the breech.

  • Break action - Where the rifle or shotgun hinges open to reveal the breech to eject spent shells and inject fresh shells.

  • Side by Side - Typically a type of shotgun that has two barrels mounted horizontally together to allow for two shots.

  • Over/Under - Typically a type of shotgun that has two barrels mounted vertically together to allow for two shots.

  • Bolt Action - Typically a type of rifle which injects and ejects shells by pulling back a bolt to cycle cartridges and place new shells into the firing chamber.

  • Grain - Unit of weight measurement for bullets and powder.  There are 437.5 grains to one ounce.

  • Gauge - Measurement of shotgun barrels as in 12 gauge, 20 gauge, etc.  Each number represents the number of lead balls with the same diameter required to make a pound.  The smaller the number the larger the bore size.

  • Lock, Stock, and Barrel - The three components of a muzzle loading weapon.

  • Possibles bag - The bag where muzzleloader hunters keep all of their weapon essentials (powder, bullets, caps, etc)

  • FFg, FFFg, Pyrodex - Different types of blackpowder used in blackpowder guns. 

  • Bullet point, Blunt point, Field point, Judo point, Broadhead point - All different types of arrow tips used for differing shooting situations.

    Green Dot road definition:


Hunting Slams

  • Washington State Big Game Slam
    -All species available in an over the counter (OTC) permit season.
    -Either sex  
    -All animals killed must have been harvested in a legal manner, under legal seasons and in strict accordance to fair chase rules and ethics.
    -Species: Eastside Elk (GMUs 100-300), Westside Elk (GMUs 400-600), Whitetail Deer, Blacktail Deer, Mule Deer, Bear, and Cougar.
  • Washington State Big Game Grand Slam
    -All species available in an over the counter (OTC) permit season.
    -Either Sex 
    -All animals killed must have been harvested in a legal manner, under legal seasons and in strict accordance to fair chase rules and ethics.
    -Species: Eastside Elk (GMUs 100-300), Westside Elk (GMUs 400-600), Whitetail Deer, Blacktail Deer, Mule Deer, Bear, and Cougar. And Coyote, bobcat, raccoon and turkey (any subspecies)
  • Washington State Big Game Super Slam
    -All species currently allowed a permit to hunt in the State of Washington including special draws.
    -Either Sex 
    -All animals killed must have been harvested in a legal manner, under legal seasons and in strict accordance to fair chase rules and ethics.
    -Species: Eastside Elk (GMUs 100-300), Westside Elk (GMUs 400-600), Whitetail Deer, Blacktail Deer, Mule Deer, Bear, and Cougar. And Coyote, bobcat, raccoon and turkey (any subspecies)  And Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, and Moose
  • Washington State Bird Slam
    -All species currently allowed a permit to hunt in the State of Washington including special permits.
    -Either Sex 
    -All animals killed must have been harvested in a legal manner, under legal seasons and in strict accordance to fair chase rules and ethics.
    -Turkey (any) Snow Goose, Canada Goose (any), Brant Goose, Quail (no subspecies differentiation) Pheasant, Chuckar, Hungarian Partridge, Dove (any), Duck (any), and Forest Grouse (any)
  • Washington State Bird Super Slam
    -All species currently allowed a permit to hunt in the State of Washington including special permits.
    -Either Sex 
    -All animals killed must have been harvested in a legal manner, under legal seasons and in strict accordance to fair chase rules and ethics.
    -Snow Goose, Canada Goose (any due to species harvest concerns), Brant Goose, Quail (any) Pheasant, Chuckar, Hungarian Partridge, Dove (any), and Forest Grouse (any)
    - & Turkey (Eastern, Rio Grande, and Merriam's)
    - & Duck (Mallard, Pintail, Wood Duck, Harlequin, Goldeneye, RedHead, Canvasback, Spoonbill, Ring Necked, Coot, Teal (any), Shoveler, Scaup (any), Widgeon (any), Gadwall, Bufflehead, Eider, Scoter (any), and merganser (any) 
    ..No other species will be considered due to the randomness of the appearance of migratory waterfowl.  Almost every North American (and some asian) species of waterfowl have the potential to show up in any decoy spread in Washington.  The list contains the vast majority of duck subspecies available to hunters in Washington State.




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