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INTRODUCTION: Seattle Recreation and the North Cascades

in the North Cascades and Surrounding Areas

Highway 2 Hunting
Highway 20 / North Cascades Highway Hunting
Mountain Loop Highway Hunting
Mt. Baker Highway Hunting

By Tom Wilson, Copyright © 2008,

From deer, to elk, to black bear, and even rabbit, the North Cascades offer a number of opportunities for hunting. Except for the national park (North Cascades National Park), hunting is allowed in just about every other area of the North Cascades.

In specific areas of the North Cascades there is a "high hunt", where hunters often use horse-packed base camps and then often use these animals to haul out their kill. Nowadays, where ATVs are allowed in forest service lands outside the National Park, these are also used to haul out fresh kills.

A hunting license is required. The fall hunting season starts on a date set by the the State of Washington. Check with the local U.S. forest service, as well as most outdoor supply and / or sporting good stores:

Basic Hunting Tips

Deer, of course, is the most common animal sought by hunters, and if you're going after deer, here are some basic tips to make taking down that first buck relatively easy.

Start Your Hunt Early - The sooner you can get your blind set up, and get yourself safely hidden inside, the better. Of course, hunting laws restrict hunters from shooting any guns before sunrise, so be sure to keep your trigger finger to the side until the sun is rising.

Sunrise (and sunset, as you'll read in a moment) is also a time that makes it harder for deer to see you, especially if you're waiting for deer with the sun to your back and hoping for the deer to appear in front of you. Of course, if this buck shows up behind you, then he may be harder to see because now you may be looking into the rising sun as well.

Stay Late - It's reported that deer continue to feed late in the day, and when the sun is going down, once again you can use the light of the sun to your advantage. As long as your back is to the sun -- and the deer appears in front of you at any distance -- the deer is likely not see you. Essentially, sunrise and sunsets become great times for hunting bucks.

Of course, there are going to be cloudy days also, and this is where other hunting tips are going to have to come into play, to give you the best chances at hunting deer.

Be sure to mask your scent with the smell of wilderness - In other words, don't shower or shampoo or wear cologne or clothes with any other scents, that will give you away and likely frighten off any deer that would otherwise come your way.

Consider running your hunting clothes through the washing machine at home a few times, without using detergent. Then, dry them without any add-ins, and then throw your clothes immediately into a plastic bag and tie it shut (so you don't pick up any scents from your house).

Drive to the nearest section of woods and get out, and rub tree branches with pine needles and bark all over your clothes.

Throw your clothes back in to a different plastic bag, and this time throw in some tree branches, bark, and even grass and bushes. Let them sit in this bag for a couple days, soaking in the scent of the woods.

Now your clothes will smell a lot more like the forest when you show up to start your hunt.

Body Odor - It might not be a bad idea to do the same with your boots, hat, and gloves. To try to cut down on your body odor, a couple days before leaving on your hunt, shower only with water, and don't use any soap or shampoo. Don't use shaving cream or deodorant or anything else that leaves a scent on your body.

You can even pick up smells from your car, so if you can, try to rinse off in a river or lake when you start your hunt, and put on the clothes you packed away in a sealed bag with the branches, pine needles, etc. inside.

Quiet in the Woods - Be prepared to hunt in complete silence if possible. Make sure your hunting partners understand that the jokes and conversation need to be kept to a minimum, and barely at a whisper. If they can handle it for extended periods, completely drop the verbal communication and use your hands to signal each other either to move forward, to silence, to pause, etc. Practice moving with stealth and silence through the woods, teaching yourself to walk lightly and slowly. Also, listen to the gear you're carrying, and if any of it makes a sound. If so, do something to wrap it up, tie it up, or not even carry it at all.

Don't give away your position. Don't make any noise when you're on the move.

See Also:

Washington Hunting Outfitters and Guides
Washington Hunting
Guided Deer Hunting Trips in Washington State

Find a Hike in the North Cascades

Primitive Camping in the North Cascades
Hikes for Children - The Boulder River Trail
Highway 20 Hiking
Mountain Loop Highway Hiking
Mt Baker Highway Hiking
Highway 2 Hiking attempts to list hiking trails as we either trek them ourselves, have them recommended by friends or other readers, or read about them through other resources, such as books, news articles, and websites.

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