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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2020: Washington Deer and Elk

Washington elk and deer application strategy 2020

Washington's 2020 deer and elk application overview

Jump to: State InformationDraw SystemMule Deer BreakdownBLACKTAIL DEER BREAKDOWN WHITETAIL DEER BREAKDOWNROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK BREAKDOWNROOSEVELT ELK BREAKDOWN

Overall, Washington is an incredibly expensive state to apply for deer and elk because hunters need to first possess a nonresident deer or elk tag before applying for any special permit hunts. Additionally, Washington does not issue refunds for any purchased licenses.

For example, if you want to apply for elk in Washington, first, you’ll need to purchase a $497 elk tag. Then, you will need to cough up the $110.50 application fee for a special permit (but at least you get a point for free). So, at this point, you have paid $607.50. And, once the draw results come out, you don’t get a refund. But you will still have your general elk license.

This is why Washington isn’t on the list for many nonresident hunters as a state worthy of building points. Now, if you’re a Washington resident, things might be a little different.

What Washington does have is some over-the-counter (OTC) opportunities for deer and elk. So, if you need to fill up your fall and want to try to hunt a new state, Washington might be a place to consider because then you are also not tossing away your tag fees. Keep in mind that some areas of Washington have antler restrictions for deer and, with some of the elk general tags, you cannot take a branch-antlered bull.

Note: The all species application deadline for Washington has been changed from May 18 to their new application deadline of May 21 by midnight PST. Read more about the application deadline change here.

You can apply online here.


State information

Washington is home to a wide variety of deer and elk species. The Evergreen State is home to mule deer, Columbian blacktail deer, whitetail deer and Columbian whitetail deer in small numbers (Columbian whitetail deer are not legal to hunt). It also has Rocky Mountain and Roosevelt elk.

To view important information and an overview of Washington’s rules/regulations, the draw system, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map, check out our State Profile. You can also view the Species Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you identify trophy areas.

WASHINGTON STATE PROFILE Mule Deer Profile Columbian Blacktail Deer Profile WHITETAIL DEER PROFILE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK BREAKDOWN ROOSEVELT ELK BREAKDOWNDraw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • The application deadline is May 18.
  • You can apply online here.
  • Results for deer, elk, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, moose and turkey will be available by the end of June.
    • It is your responsibility to check your draw results.
  • Certain units have antler restrictions in place.
  • Washington does not refund any license or permit if the season has been scheduled and the hunter could have participated in the season or hunt regardless of whether the hunter did in fact participate or not. 
  • Hunter orange and/or fluorescent hunter pink is required for anyone hunting in an area open to modern firearm general deer or elk seasons. Read more information here.
  • Columbian whitetail deer are found in southwest Washington, are a protected species and are not legal to hunt.

Information for first-time applicants in Washington

If you've never applied in Washington before, you will need to have WDFW verify your hunter education information before you can apply. First step is creating your WILD ID account. Then after that you will need to get your hunter education information added to your account, but to do that takes some time. So be sure to plan ahead.

There are three ways to add your Hunter’s Education certificate to your profile:

  • Send a photo copy of your certificate to licensing@dfw.wa.gov with your WILD ID or name and date of birth
  • Fax a photo copy of your certificate to 360-902-2466 with your WILD ID or name and date of birth
  • Visit any DFW dealer location with your certificate and the dealer can enter the certificate into your WILD account.

Cost to apply

You must front the entire cost of the application fee and the cost of a tag when applying.

Residents 

Resident big game annual license cost

License Cost
Deer, elk, bear, mountain lion with discounted small game $119.50
Deer plus elk license $85.50
Deer plus elk with discounted small game $107.50
Deer license $45.50
Deer with discounted small game $67.40
Deer, elk, bear, mountain lion $97.50
Elk license $50.90
Elk license with a discounted small game license $72.90
Big game special hunt permit applications
Multi-season deer or elk permit application $7.10
Special hunt permit application
(price per application)
$7.10
Special hunt permit application — quality* $13.70
Big game special hunt licenses and tags
Multi-season deer tag $139.10
Multi-season elk tag $182.00
Second deer tag $43.40
Second elk tag $22.50
Incentive elk tag
(see harvest reporting requirements)
$22.50
*Special hunt applications that are in the categories quality elk, quality deer, any moose, any ram and goat.

Nonresidents 

Nonresident big game annual license cost

License Cost
Deer, elk, bear, mountain lion with discounted small game $958.80
Deer plus elk license $740.00
Deer plus elk with discounted small game $836.80
Deer license $434.80
Deer with discounted small game $531.60
Deer, elk, bear, mountain lion $862.00
Elk license $497.50
Elk license with a discounted small game license $594.30
Big game special hunt permit applications
Multi-season deer or elk permit application $110.50
Special hunt permit application
(price per application)
$110.50
Special hunt permit application — quality* $110.50
Big game special hunt licenses and tags
Multi-season deer tag $139.10
Multi-season elk tag $182.00
Second deer tag $252.40
Second elk tag $341.50
Incentive elk tag
(see harvest reporting requirements)
$341.50

Mandatory hunt reporting

Washington is a mandatory hunter reporting state. If you do not submit your report, you will be charged a $10 penalty. This penalty must be paid before you can buy a license the following year. There is an incentive for turning in this information early. Read more on that in the section below.

By Jan. 31, 2021, at midnight, hunters must report their hunting activity for EACH special permit acquired AND each deer, elk, bear, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and/or turkey tag purchased in 2020 even if you did not hunt. For each transport tag, you will owe a general season hunting activity report AND you will also owe a hunting activity report for EACH big game special permit awarded. You cannot submit this information by mail or email.

If your season extends beyond Jan. 31, the hunter report is due within 10 days of the close of that season.

You will receive a confirmation number for each successfully submitted hunter report. Sending in tags or licenses to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) does not fulfill the reporting requirements.

Incentive permit drawing for early reporting

Hunters who report harvest by Jan. 10, will be entered into a drawing for a special incentive permit. The nine special permits include two any elk permits for western Washington, two any elk permits for eastern Washington and five statewide any deer permits. If your special permit hunting season extends beyond Jan. 31, you will be included in the incentive drawing if you make a report within 10 days of the close of that season. The incentive drawing is usually held in April.

Incentive permit season

Incentive permits are valid for areas open to general hunting seasons or special permit hunting seasons. The hunt dates are Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The permits require a hunter to use archery equipment during archery season, muzzleloader equipment during muzzleloader season, and any legal weapon at other times if there are no firearm restrictions.

Paying for incentive permits

Hunters who win the special incentive permit must send the appropriate license fee to the WDFW headquarters office in Olympia. WDFW will mail the license and transport tag to the permit winners.


2020 Washington snowpack

Washington current snowpack 2020

Washington snow water equivalent update as of May 7, 2020. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

The Washington draw system

An interesting part about the draw system in Washington is that both residents and nonresidents are drawn from the same pool and, thus, have the same odds of drawing a tag.

In order to apply for special permits in Washington, you have a few steps to follow. First, you will need to purchase your hunting license and transport tag.

For deer and elk, the transport tag must match the tag specified for the hunt listed in the special permit tables. You must select your transport tag, including weapon type and location, before you can purchase a special permit application.

Next, you will purchase your special permit application.


Unlocking Washington's system

The points system

You gain a point each year that you purchase an application. So, the first year that you apply, you will go into the draw with one point. There isn’t a zero point level, which is pretty interesting.

A weighted point permit drawing system is used (squared points), which gives applicants who have failed to be selected in the past a better chance to be awarded a permit in the future. It is based on the application history of each applicant. 

Points are accumulated in each species category. 

The purchase of an application results in one accrued point for the category purchased.

When a hunter is selected, the hunter's point total for that category drops to zero.

Everyone has a chance to be selected, but those with more points have a better chance of being awarded a permit. Points cannot be transferred between individuals or categories.

Multiple hunt choices

You can apply for a maximum of four hunt choices per application except for the quality deer and elk categories. For quality deer and elk hunts, only two hunt choices are allowed. You do not have to apply for more than one hunt. If more than one hunt choice is requested, each hunt will be considered in the drawing in order of the priority you chose

Purchase the required hunting license and select the appropriate transport tag(s). For deer and elk, the transport tag must match the tag specified for the hunt listed in the special permit tables. You must select your transport tag, including weapon type and location before you can purchase a special permit application.

If a youth is awarded a youth permit and turns 16 before purchasing the hunting license and tag, the full resident or nonresident price will be charged. Permit price is determined by the youth's age at the date of the special permit purchase. No refunds or exchanges will be made for those purchasing a hunting license for mountain goat, moose or bighorn sheep.

Party applications

Decide if you want to apply as an individual, as the leader of a group or as a member of a group. If you want to apply as a member of a group, you must choose a group leader. The leader of the group must submit all group members and the hunt choices at the time of submission. 

When applying as a group, each member must be eligible for the hunts that the group is applying for. If a group application is selected for permits, all of the hunters in the group receive a permit and each hunter can take an animal. The points accumulated by each hunter in the group are averaged and applied to the group application. If the number of permits available in a hunt category is less than the maximum group size, then the maximum group size is equal to the number of permits.

The maximum group sizes for each species category are as follows:

  • 8 - Deer and elk
  • 2 - Bear and mountain lion
  • 2 - Mountain goat, moose and bighorn sheep
  • 4 - Turkey
  • 2 - Multi-season deer and elk

Points only option

If you want to continue to build points, but want to ensure you do not get selected for a permit, use the "points options" when submitting your application(s). Note: this isn't a "cheaper" option because you still need a license to do this. This is mainly beneficial to residents due to the cheaper fees.

Check stations

An interesting part about Washington is that they provide the information for check stations around the state. Note that the times and locations of check stations are subject to change.


Special deer permits

You may purchase and submit up to seven deer special permit applications — one permit application per hunt category that you qualify for as listed in the following tables.

  • You may only hunt with the hunting method in compliance with your tag.
  • Only one deer may be taken per hunter during the hunting season, except for successful second deer permit applicants.

Quality deer

What does quality deer mean in Washington? Hunters can expect lower than average hunter densities, a greater potential for success and/or good hunt timing during these hunts.

Up to two hunt choices may be selected for quality deer.

Buck deer

Up to four hunt choices may be selected for buck deer.

Second deer

You must purchase a second deer tag to participate in this hunt and only the second tag can be used in the second deer permit hunt. The second tag must be the same weapon choice as your first tag.

Youth deer

Only hunters possessing the required license/transport tag under 16 years of age when they purchase their special permit application may apply. You may hunt only with the hunting method in compliance with your tag.

Note: Hunters must be accompanied by an adult during the hunt.

Deer — 65 Years or over

Only hunters possessing the required license/transport tag who are 65 years and older at some point during the license year. You may hunt only with the hunting method in compliance with your tag.

Deer — hunters with disabilities

Only hunters possessing the required license/transport tag registered with WDFW as a hunter with a disability designation may apply. You may hunt only with the hunting method in compliance with your tag.

Exception: If you have been issued a specific WDFW Special Use Permit for Accommodation.

Deer - Master Hunter

Only hunters possessing the required license/transport tag with a current WDFW Master Hunter card may apply.


Washington 2020 mule deer breakdown

Washington classifies a mule deer as a deer 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 and south down Klickitat River to the Columbia River. Basically the eastern two-thirds of the state hold mule deer.

In total, there are 75 units for mule deer.

Washington manages their mule deer units more for opportunity than trophy potential. The trophy potential statewide is average at best and the units that can provide you a chance at a true mature buck require so many points that the bulk of applicants are out of the running. 

If you want an opportunity to hunt, Washington is a great state, but do not plan on the chance at a buck of a lifetime.

The goHUNT hit list units for Washington mule deer

While this state isn’t known for the giant mule deer like other states, there are a few units that are capable of producing some great bucks. Keep in mind that you’re going to be in for an extremely long wait for any of these units. This is why when it comes to hunting in Washington, your time is probably better spent hunting some of the general units.

Washington statewide permit season deer harvest statistics - 2020

Top hit list units to consider for 170” or better mule deer

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
% 4pt or
better
218 170"+ 19:100 14%
224 170"+ 19:100 19%
231 170"+ 19:100 14%
242 170"+ 19:100 19%
245 170"+ 19:100 33%
246 170"+ 19:100 19%
247 170"+ 19:100 15%
290 180"+ 24:100 67%
329 170"+ NA 67%

How to uncover hidden gems

In a state like Washington, figuring out and sticking to a certain general unit is going to be your best bet. This will allow you to learn a unit throughout multiple years, which could eventually lead you to find a honey hole. Note: if you want to get away from the pressure, it is best to pick up a primitive weapon and/or learn to get away from the crowds.

Washington statewide general season deer harvest statistics - 2020

High buck hunts

A unique opportunity in Washington is the early high buck hunts. These hunts open up Sept. 15 and go until Sept. 25. They are found in Units 203, 215, 218, 244, 245 and 249.

Modern firearm general mule deer

101 through 145, 149, 154, 162 through 169, 172 (except Deer Area 1040), 175 through 186, 203 through 272, 278, 284, 328, 330 through 368, 372*, 373, 379, 381, 382* (except closed in Deer Area 5382), 388

Top units to consider for mule deer based on harvest success and at least 25% public land
(modern firearm general)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bucks 4
point+
Public land
%
105 130”+ 31% 13% 41%
121 140”+ 29% 12% 15%
209 150”+ 26% 14% 25%
233 150”+ 26% 15% 45%
278 160”+ 26% 26% 30%
330 130”+ 24% - 24%
111 130”+ 23% 13% 65%
117 130”+ 23% 13% 41%
162 150”+ 21% 13% 26%
239 150”+ 21% 25% 52%

Another great way to find a hidden gem in Washington is utilizing Filtering 2.0 and sorting the units by season, harvest stats, trophy potential, buck:doe ratios and percentage of 4 point or better bucks. There are a plethora of general season weapon options in Washington.


B&C entry trends for Washington mule deer


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Washington's top B&C producing counties since 2015 for typical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Okanogan 2 203, 218, 215, 209, 224, 231, 233, 204
Chelan 1 244, 242, 239, 246, 243, 245, 260, 247
Kittitas 1 388, 382, 273
Walla Walla 1 154, 162, 166, 169

Map of Washington's top producing B&C typical mule deer counties all time - 2020

Washington's top B&C producing counties since 2015 for nontypical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Yakima 2 388, 364, 368, 372

Map of Washington's top producing B&C nontypical mule deer counties all time - 2020


Managing points and expectations

It should come as no surprise, but if your goal is to hunt a special permit in Washington, you’re in for a long wait. The point system is deep in Washington. As of 2019, the maximum number of points in Washington was 30. If you had maximum points and were going for a rifle quality deer permit, the draw odds were still less than 10% in some of the highly coveted units like 247, 251 and 371.

If you have the extra money to apply for the permits in Washington, and have time on your side, then, by all means, continue on your path and build points. 

For example, out of all the quality deer rifle hunts, at 10 points, you still only have less than a 26% chance at two of the units. The rest of the units are mainly single digit draw odds.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT MULE DEER DRAW ODDS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT MULE DEER DRAW ODDS HERE


Washington's 2020 Columbian blacktail deer breakdown

Out of all of the states/provinces that have Columbian blacktail deer, Washington currently ranks third (out of four places with Columbian blacktail). But don’t let that sound as some sort of alarm. Washington boasts great hunting for blacktail deer. While it will be a challenging hunt, it’s a fun and rewarding experience.

Top B&C Columbian blacktail deer locations all time - Updated 2020

Just like with mule deer, a lot of general season hunts exist that are OTC; however, keep in mind that the best season dates are reserved for the special permit draw hunts.

Washington classifies a deer as a blacktail if they are found west 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 and south down Klickitat River to the Columbia River.

How to uncover hidden gems

Unfortunately, hidden gems for Columbian blacktail deer are going to involve a lot of sweat equity on general season OTC tags.

One of the best ways to gain an edge is to jump to Filtering 2.0 and start utilizing the filters to find the best hunt for you. Note: if you want to get away from the pressure, it is best to pick up a primitive weapon and/or learn to get away from the crowds. There are so many options when it comes to deer hunting in Washington.

There are 72 different units that hold Columbian blacktail deer in Washington.

Modern firearm general season blacktail deer hunts

Any buck

407, 418, 426, 437, 448, 450, 454, 460, 466, 501 through 505, 506, 510 through 520, 524 through 556, 560, 568, 572, 574, 601 through 621, 624 (except Deer Area 6020), 627 through 654, 658 through 699

Any deer

410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 419, 420, 421, 422, 564*, 655 and Deer Area 6020

3 point minimum

578

Late general season modern firearm blacktail deer hunts

Any buck

407, 454, 466, 501 through 505, 506, 510 through 520, 524, 530, 550 through 560, 568, 572, 601 through 621, 624 (except Deer Area 6020), 627 through 654, 658 through 684, 699

Any deer

410 through 417, 419 through 422, 564*, 655, Deer Area 6020

Top units to consider for Columbian blacktail deer based on harvest success and at least 25% public land
(modern firearm general)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bucks 4 point+ Public land
%
603 110"+ 31% - 53%
672 110"+ 31% 4% 25%
556 110"+ 25% 3% 30%
612 110"+ 25% - 38%
524 110"+ 24% 9% 25%
568 140"+ 24% 3% 51%
621 110"+ 21% 1% 72%
638 100"+ 21% 13% 86%
426 140"+ 20% 9% 100%
607 110"+ 20% - 76%

B&C entry trends for Washington Columbian blacktail deer


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Washington's top B&C producing counties since 2015 for typical Columbian blacktail deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
King 2 652, 654, 653
Skagit 2 407, 437, 448
Snohomish 2 460, 454

Map of Washington's top producing B&C typical columbian blacktail deer counties all time - 2020

Washington's top B&C producing counties since 2015 for nontypical Columbian blacktail deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Pierce 1 652, 655, 654

Map of Washington's top producing B&C nontypical columbian blacktail deer counties all time - 2020


Managing blacktail deer expectations

Again, if you’re a nonresident and are looking to hunt blacktails in Washington, can you wait out the long draw odds for the permit hunts and, maybe even more importantly, can you afford the expensive fees? If you can, keep applying.

Out of the 30 quality rifle blacktail deer hunts, at 10 points, you only have two units that have 50% draw odds or higher.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT COLUMBIAN BLACKTAIL DEER DRAW ODDS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT COLUMBIAN BLACKTAIL DEER DRAW ODDS HERE


Washington's 2020 whitetail deer breakdown

Whitetails in Washington are found east of the Cascade crest in Regions 1, 2 and 3. Washington might not be brought up when you hear people talking about hunting whitetails, but for the whitetail junky, this state does have some great whitetail hunting.

Some of the best whitetail hunting can be found on the eastern edge of Washington and the extreme northeast corner near Idaho. Be sure to check out Filtering 2.0 to explore all of your options.


B&C entry trends for Washington whitetail deer


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Washington's top B&C producing counties since 2015 for typical whitetail deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Spokane 1 124, 127, 130
Stevens 1 101, 105, 108, 121

 

Washington's top B&C producing counties since 2015 for nontypical whitetail deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Stevens 2 101, 105, 108, 121
Ferry 1 101, 121
Spokane 1 124, 127, 130

Washington's 2020 Rocky Mountain elk breakdown

There are a total of 75 units in Washington that have hunts for Rocky Mountain elk and 21 of them have the potential to produce 300”+ bulls.

Some of the best elk hunting is going to be in the central and southeast corner of the state, but the wait will be long if you ever hope to pull one of these tags for a quality elk hunt.

If you just want to hunt general elk, then Washington is actually relatively inexpensive when you compare it to all the other OTC elk states. Keep in mind that most Rocky Mountain elk hunts are highly regulated and very few units offer the opportunity at a branch-antlered bull. Most units are open to spike or antlerless elk. However, this can change depending on the unit and weapon type.

Rocky Mountain elk units are the 100, 200 and 300 series GMUs.

How to pick up a tag to hunt in Washington

To hunt elk in Washington:

  1. Purchase a big game hunting license with elk as a species option.
  2. Choose the elk tag for the area (eastern or western Washington) you will hunt in and the hunting method you will use. You must select one hunting method: modern firearm, archery or muzzleloader.
  3. Check the general season dates for the hunting method you have chosen.
  4. You may apply for hunts that are open to hunters by special permit only.
  5. When you are finished hunting, you must report your hunting activity online (fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov) or by calling 1-877-945-3492. See page 10 for more information.

Hidden gems

Washington statewide general season elk harvest statistics - Updated 2020

Like every species in Washington, hidden gems are going to be found on the general hunts.

Archery general elk

Top units to consider for Rocky Mountain elk based on harvest success
(archery general elk)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bulls 6 point+ Public land
%
133 260”+ 44% 56% 6%
142 280”+ 27% 35% 4%
388 270”+ 23% 60% 10%
139 280”+ 19% 9% 3%
249 260”+ 15% 100% 100%
130 290”+ 14% 23% 8%
379 270”+ 13% 100% 21%
108 270”+ 11% 27% 23%
117 280”+ 10% 11% 41%
121 280”+ 9% 19% 15%

Only units open to branch-antlered bulls are listed. Units open to spike or antlerless elk only may have higher success rates.

Modern firearm general elk

Top units to consider for Rocky Mountain elk based on harvest success
(modern firearm general elk)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bulls 6 point+ Public land
%
382 260"+ 26% 38% 7%
372 310"+ 24% 41% 17%
130 290"+ 19% 23% 8%
127 290"+ 16% 15% 2%
379 270"+ 16% 100% 21%
381 Sub 260"+ 15% 40% 10%
121 280"+ 14% 19% 15%
139 280"+ 14% 9% 3%
142 280"+ 12% 35% 4%
124 290”+ 11% 28% 8%

Only units open to branch-antlered bulls are listed. Units open to spike or antlerless elk only may have higher success rates.

Muzzleloader general elk — early

Muzzleloader general elk — late

Top units to consider for Rocky Mountain elk based on harvest success
(muzzleloader general elk)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bulls 6 point+ Public land
%
284 - Late 260"+ 86% 17% 6%
127 - Early 290"+ 20% 15% 2%
142 280"+ 19% 35% 4%
139 280"+ 15% 9% 3%
130 290"+ 14% 23% 8%
133 260"+ 13% 56% 6%
124 290"+ 11% 28% 8%
105 270”+ 10% 25% 41%
121 280"+ 9% 19% 15%
108 270”+ 6% 27% 23%

Hit list units for Rocky mountain elk in Washington

Top units to consider for 315” or better Rocky Mountain elk
(quality elk)

Unit Trophy
potential
Bulls 6 point+ Public land
%
166 340"+ 76% 96%
169 340"+ 61% 100%
157 330"+ 86% 95%
162 330"+ 33% 26%
328 320"+ 18% 70%
329 320"+ 12% 79%
336 320"+ - 53%
340 320"+ 7% 71%
342 320”+ 13% 67%

Washington statewide special permit season elk harvest statistics - Updated 2020


B&C entry trends for Washington Rocky Mountain elk

Washington is not well known for producing trophy-sized bulls, but studying B&C entry trends can lead to discovering hidden pockets where trophy genes may be present in general OTC units.


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Washington’s top B&C producing counties since 2015 for typical Rocky Mountain elk

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Chelan 1 244, 242, 239, 246, 243, 245, 260, 247
Kittitas 1 388, 382, 273
Lewis 1 530, 505, 520, 667, 524, 550

Map of Washington's top producing B&C Typical Rocky Mountain Elk counties all time - 2020

Washington’s top B&C producing counties since 2015 for nontypical Rocky Mountain elk

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Chelan 1 244, 242, 239, 246, 243, 245, 260, 247
King 1 652, 654, 653
Kittitas 1 388, 382, 273
Okanogan 1 203, 218, 215, 209, 224, 231, 233, 204

Map of Washington's top producing B&C Nontypical Rocky Mountain Elk counties all time - 2020


Managing Rocky Mountain elk points and expectations

You’re in for a long wait if you are chasing any of the quality elk hunts. With 10 points, you have single digit draw odds for all of the quality muzzleloader elk hunts. Most quality rifle odds hover below 4% for almost all the rifle options even at 15 points.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK DRAW ODDS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK DRAW ODDS HERE


Washington's 2020 Roosevelt elk breakdown

There are a total of 59 Roosevelt elk units in Washington. These opportunities are located in the western half of the state. Unlike Rocky Mountain elk, there are very few restrictions in terms of the size of bull you can take.

Roosevelt elk units are the 400, 500 and 600 series GMUs.

Keep in mind that while there are a lot of options, Washington doesn’t produce the caliber of Roosevelt elk hunting like Oregon does.

If you want to pick up an elk tag and hunt, there are numerous general hunt options available. Like other species, this is the true value in Washington. 

Special information in regards to antlers

Certain units in Washington have antler restrictions.

3 point minimum: A 3 point minimum elk means that a legal elk in those units must have at least 3 antler points on one side. Eye guards are antler points when they are at least 1” long. A 1x3 and a 2x3 are legal elk in a 3 point minimum unit. Antler restrictions apply to all hunters during any open season. 

Antler points: To qualify as a point, an antler point must be at least 1” long, measured on the longest side. 

Hidden gems

Archery general Roosevelt elk units in Washington

Any elk: 407, 448, 454, 564, 666, 684, Elk Area 6014

3 point minimum: 460, 466, 506, 510, 513, 516, 524 (except closed in Elk Area 5066), 530, 601 through 618, 624 (except for Elk Area 6071), 627, 633, 638 (except Master Hunters only in Elk Area 6064), 642 through 651 and 658

3 point minimum or antlerless: 501 through 505, 520, 550, 554, 560, 568, 572, 574, 578, Elk Area 6061, 652 (Except Elk Area 6013 closed to antlerless), 654, 660, 663, 667 through 673, 681, and 699

Top units to consider for Roosevelt elk based on harvest success
(general archery)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bulls 6 point+ Public land %
684 250"+ 36% - 20%
602 260"+ 23% 5% 33%
454 290"+ 22% 40% 5%
607 270"+ 20% 18% 76%
612 280"+ 18% 5% 38%
506 280"+ 17% 5% 11%
601 250"+ 17% - 10%
673 290"+ 17% 3% 24%
460 290"+ 16% 44% 60%
638 280”+ 15% 17% 86%

Some units listed have 3 point minimum antler restrictions.

Modern firearm general Roosevelt elk units in Washington

Any elk: 407, 448, 564, 666

Any bull: 454

3 point minimum: 460, 466, 503, 505, 506, 510 through 520, 524 (except closed in Elk Area 5066), 530, 550, 560, 568, 572, 574, 578, 601 through 618, 624 (except for Elk Area 6071), 627, 633, 638 (except Master Hunters Only in Elk Area 6064 portion of GMU 638), 642 through 651, 652 (except for Elk Area 6014), 654, 658, 660, 667 through 681, 684

3 point minimum or antlerless: 501, 504, 663, Elk Area 6014

Top units to consider for Roosevelt elk based on harvest success and at least 10% public land
(modern firearm general season)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bulls 6 point+ Public
land %
603 260"+ 20% 13% 53%
654 290"+ 17% 43% 19%
506 280"+ 14% 5% 11%
660 270"+ 11% - 13%
673 290"+ 10% 3% 24%
520 280"+ 9% 30% 13%
530 280"+ 8% 10% 14%
618 290"+ 8% 7% 99%
513 300"+ 7% 37% 93%
524 280”+ 7% 31% 25%

Hit list units for Roosevelt elk in Washington

Top hit list units to consider for 290” or better Roosevelt elk
(quality elk)
Not in order of quality

Unit Trophy
potential
Bulls 6 point+ Public land
%
418 300"+ 60% 70%
510 300"+ 39% 33%
513 300"+ 37% 93%
516 300"+ 33% 93%
556 300"+ 6% 30%
560 300"+ 13% 90%
615 290"+ 31% 71%
618 290"+ 7% 99%
506 280"+ 5% 11%

B&C entry trends for Washington Roosevelt elk


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the district is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

Washington’s top B&C producing counties since 2015 for Roosevelt elk

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Grays Harbor 2 642, 648, 638, 651, 658, 660
Jefferson 2 615, 618, 624, 621, 607
Clallam 1 601, 602, 603, 607, 612, 624
Pacific 1 658, 673, 681, 684, 699, 506, 672

Map of Washington's top producing B&C Roosevelt elk counties all time - 2020


Managing Roosevelt elk points and expectations

As the trend in other species, draw odds are very bad for any of the Roosevelt elk hunts in Washington. For example, at 10 points under quality rifle elk, your highest draw odds are 5.8% for Unit 513 and the majority of draw odds are less than 3%. 

Archery quality elk is roughly the same trend. Even with 10 points, your highest draw odds are 13% for Unit 556. All other quality elk draw odds hover below 4% with the exception of Unit 653 at 7.9%.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT ROOSEVELT ELK DRAW ODDS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT ROOSEVELT ELK DRAW ODDS HERE

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