LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Hunters get set for elk season

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

HUNTING SEASONS HAVE such a small window for success because they come and go so quickly.

The modern firearm deer hunt, which started less than three weeks ago, is already over.

But replacing it will be the modern firearm elk season, which begins Saturday.

By all accounts, the deer hunt didn’t go well for you hunters.

The weather was bad for a good portion of the 18-day hunt, and not many deer were seen.

Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said more does were seen towards the end of the hunt.

He also saw a number of elk, which could bode well for that hunt.

“It will be wet and nasty, but the elk are out there,” Aunspach said.

“It should be a good rifle season.”

That isn’t to say hunting elk will be easy.

“They’re one of the biggest challenges for hunters,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.

Menkal compares hunting elk to fishing for steelhead. You either have to be incredibly knowledgeable and skilled or have unbelievable luck.

Elk are able to go to places where deer, and hunters, struggle to reach.

“There are no places they won’t go,” Menkal said.

“When they feel pressure, they’ll go to the swamp or deep timber.”

Sometimes when elk are in the thick brush, it is almost impossible to even see them.

Preparedness is crucial.

“You have to bring rain gear and a change of clothes, because you’re probably going to use them,” Menkal said.

Especially with the weather conditions being what they are, and what they are expected to be.

After spending August and September looking at various weather forecasts to see when the North Olympic Peninsula would get rain, now we’re kind of wondering when it is going to stop.

In fact, now we’re getting flood warnings.

Season breakdown

Here are the elk season details from the state department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2012 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet:

■ Duration: Saturday, Nov. 3 to Wednesday, Nov. 14.

■ License: Valid big-game hunting license that includes elk as a species option.

■ Antler point requirement: Three-point minimum.

An antler point must be 1 inch long to qualify. A three-point minimum elk will have three antler points on one side with at least two antler points above the ear.

■ Methods: Modern firearm, archery and muzzleloader.

■ Bag limit: One elk per hunter during the season, unless you hold a second elk special permit.

You can view the regulations pamphlet online at http://tinyurl.com/huntingregs, or pick one up at most outdoor retailers.

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Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 31. 2012 6:02PM
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