Hunters, both Native Americans and non-Native, are noting a stark lack of elk and deer in hunting areas of the West End. Some veteran hunters, who started searching in August and September, have yet to get a shot. Earlier in the season, females and young elk and deer could be seen but now, even they are reported not being seen.
Hunters have been speculating for several years regarding the reason (s) for their difficulty in finding bulls and bucks. People poaching at night or out of season is raised as a possible or probable cause. Displacement of game due to controlled fires or wildfires, is another consideration.
With the soaring cost of groceries, the ability to get elk and deer is even more crucial to sustaining families. The extensive hours needed for hunting and high cost of gasoline is creating an intolerable hardship for hunters and their families.
This merits investigation. Are there sufficient numbers of fish and wildlife officers, and are they patrolling these areas, at different shifts, throughout the year? Are regulations being enforced?
If you have similar concerns, here are some contacts for our area: Director of Region 6: Director Chris Conklin (360) 249-4628; Local Contact: Jennifer Meyer (360) 902-2936, Option 1 or 8.