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October 24, 2007

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100 Best Public-Land Hunts: Washington

Newport Ranger District, Colville National Forest
Location
: northeast Washington
Size: 149,269 acres
ZIP: 99156

Most of Washington's public-land whitetails are in the three northeastern counties of Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry. This is big timber country, with small farms interspersed among huge industrial forests and national forestland. "Some people think you can't get a big buck on public land," says wildlife biologist Steve Zender of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, "but there's so much land and it's so heavily timbered that we do see some good bucks." Still-hunt central Pend Oreille County, where Game Management Unit 113 and 117 in the Newport Ranger District of Colville National Forest are split by the Pend Oreille River. Thick stands of Douglas fir, cedar and ponderosa pine blanket rolling hills and mountains. "It can be really dense and difficult to get through," Zender says, "but to get big deer you have to suck it up and hunt the thick stuff." The pay-off could be huge: About 19 percent of bucks harvested here in 2006 delivered five-points or better on one side.

Three Rivers Ranger District, Colville National Forest
Location
: northeast Washington
Size: 483,916 acres
ZIP: 99141

West across the Columbia River, Game Management Unit 101 in Colville National Forest's Three Rivers Ranger District in Ferry County offers an excellent opportunity for bowhunters. Most of Washington's mature buck harvest comes during the late firearms season, which ends just before the peak rut and the onset of late archery season in mid-November. But Unit 101 doesn't hold a late modern firearms hunt. As a result, bowhunters can look forward to more bucks and less disruption, and they get to hunt the entire rut. Three Rivers Ranger District tends to be more arid, and the forest here is more open-and thus more suited to the tree-stand hunting bowhunters in the state seem to prefer. "Those archers do take a higher percentage of nice big bucks," Zender says.

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Comments

adam

Sounds like you would have to hunt the thick stuff for the big bucks.

Shaun Sevigny

Just moved out to WA from WI and living in Puyallup. Where is a good place to hunt whitetail on public land on the east side of the mtns?




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100 Top Public Lands
Field & Stream reporter Steven Hill spent two months interviewing state game agency officials, deer biologists, and whitetail experts to identify the absolute best public whitetail hunting grounds in the nation.

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