September 18, 2017
Check out our special 2017 western deer forecasts for the latest hunting analysis and hotspots.
Just click on your state's name or region below.
The northern Rocky Mountains boast such abundance of wild public lands that some people choose to live here just because of that. It's a big draw. It's the outdoor lifestyle. Deer hunting is a big part of that life. Deer hunters in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have a lot to chose from, with millions of acres in national forests, BLM and national monument lands. Let's take closer look at what hunters could expect this fall.
My heart sank when I hung a right off the paved highway in Washington's North Cascades and realized that instead of the two-track curving along a hillside where bent grass and snowberries skirted giant Ponderosa pines above a creek bottom thick with deer food and cover, it now went straight into a dead zone, forbidding and seemingly barren. The hunting spot I'd dreamed about for months had been caught in the full fury of the Okanogan Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in Washington's history.
After five dry years, we needed the rain, and the end result for deer and other wildlife is more viable water sources, more moisture in the soil and healthier plant based food sources. As retired California Department of Fish and Wildlife senior biologist Tom Stone told me: 'Water is a good thing. Cool, rainy weather makes deer hunting better, and when the grasses green up due to timely fall rain, the deer have an easier time of it all winter long. We call it the green flush, and when conditions are right it happens in October. '