Experts: Deer may be in shorter supply this hunting season - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Experts: Deer may be in shorter supply this hunting season

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Some of the most popular hunting in the Inland Northwest begins Saturday, but if you're planning on hunting deer, they may be harder to come by this year.

Deer, duck and goose hunting with a firearm starts Saturday and experts believe deer are in shorter supply this year than years past.

More than 25 percent of the state's annual deer harvest usually occurs in Eastern Washington during modern firearm season, but Wildlife Biologist Dana Base of Colville says this season's deer harvest may be somewhat lower than the 10-year average.

Base says the long-term population trend for whitetail deer continues to drift downward with the loss of acreage in cereal grain and alfalfa hay farm production caused by "two hard winters back-to-back and excessive snow and cold."

The declining numbers are not keeping hunters from doing what they love.

"If you're a hunter, it's in your blood, you're going out no matter what," said hunter Dave Baughman.

"I was out scouting yesterday and saw two nice bucks, so they're out there," said another hunter John Bergstrom.

Mule deer appear to have weathered the past two winters better than the whitetail, but their populations also show spotty pattern similar to whitetail.

If you not going after deer, there should be plenty of ducks and geese to hunt.

This season, there will be a deer harvest check station on Highway 395 just north of Deer Park. Officials will be looking at the health conditions of the deer. 

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