An oversight in Washington’s 2016-17 fall turkey hunting seasons is allowing camouflaged hunters in the field during the general modern rifle deer season.
Washington seasons for turkey hunters — as well as archery and muzzleloader big-game hunters who are allowed to wear camouflage — are normally separate from modern rifle seasons, in which hunters are required to wear hunter orange clothing for safety.
“Fall turkey seasons were lengthened to take advantage of robust turkey populations,” said Kevin Robinette, Fish and Wildlife Department regional wildlife manager in Spokane.
However, it appears to be an oversight that fall turkey hunters are not included in a rule requiring small game hunters to wear hunter orange during portions of seasons that overlap with modern firearms seasons, he said.
The hunter orange rule says, “It is unlawful to hunt bear, cougar, bobcat, raccoon, fox, coyote, rabbit, forest grouse or hare during those times and in those places open to the taking of deer or elk during a modern firearm season, unless the hunter is wearing fluorescent hunter orange clothing.”
Robinette said it appears that “turkey” was left out of the list. Wildlife managers have not announced changes since it was brought to their attention two weeks ago.
The fall turkey season in specified game management units is open Sept. 23-Oct. 31. The hunter orange requirement isn’t an issue until Oct. 14, opening day of the modern firearm deer season.