Putney Woods on South Whidbey is open to deer hunting despite a mysterious sign to the contrary.
Steve Marx, Island County Public Works assistant director, said a “no-hunting” sign posted at the county-owned property was removed this week.
“Someone took it about themselves to post the sign because they didn’t think there should be hunting,” he said, adding that the sign-wielding suspect hasn’t been positively identified.
Hunting on Whidbey Island has been controversial in the past, with hunters and residents clashing over where it should be allowed.
While there is a proliferation of deer on Whidbey Island, there isn’t much in the way of public lands available for hunting. Much of it is heavily used by hikers, bikers, runners and horseback riders.
“The best place to hunt on the island, in my opinion,” Marx said, “is on private property that you have gotten permission from the owner.”
Archery season for black-tailed deer started Sept. 1 and the regular hunting season runs Oct. 13-31.
Whidbey is a firearm restriction area where it’s unlawful to hunt with centerfire or rimfire rifles.
Four county-owned properties allow for hunting.
On South Whidbey, there’s Putney Woods and Trillium Community Forest, both of which are about 600 acres, according to Marx.
Trillium Community Forest is managed by Whidbey Camano Land Trust. Horseback riding, biking and hiking are not allowed during hunting season.
There is no regular archery or muzzleloader season in Trillium.
The modern firearms season runs Oct. 13-31 and the late modern firearms season is Nov. 15-18.
The late archery season is Nov. 21-Dec. 21.
In Central Whidbey, hunting is allowed on two different county properties.
At Greenbank Farm, hunting is allowed on the northern 198 acres and the southern 58 acres. The southern property has less human traffic.
In Central Whidbey, people can hunt at the popular Kettles Trails, which is about 240 acres.
Marx said he doesn’t recommend hunting at the Kettles because deer are scared away by the constant human traffic. He recommends bow hunting because of the number of people in the area.
Deer, pheasant and waterfowl hunting is available on North Whidbey property that’s part of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, but hunters have to jump through hoops to get permission.
Department of Defense affiliated individuals interested in hunting on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island property during the 2018-2019 season must obtain a permit to do so. Civilian hunters interested in the pheasant release and upland game program on the installation must also agree to a National Crime Information Check background check prior to being issued an installation hunting permit, according to a Navy press release.
The permits are available at the Gallery Golf Course. Hunters with current base access will need to present a valid Washington State hunting license.
Those without current base access will require the background check and a valid hunting license.
The fee for the permit hunt on base is $13.
The request for base access to hunt and get a background check must be done at the base’s Pass & ID office (building 2853, phone number 360-257-5620) just outside Langley Gate at Ault Field.
The Langley Gate is located on Langley Boulevard and is open from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The background check will be done on the spot. No background check can be initiated after 3 p.m.
Specific documents required to get installation hunting permit are as follows:
• Pheasant and upland game hunters must bring Department of Defense-issued identification or state-issued identification and approved NCIC background check and a Western Washington Pheasant License (with odd/even selection).
• Waterfowl hunters must present Department of Defense-issued identification card, Washington state small game license, state migratory bird validation and federal duck stamp (attached to license and signed across the face).
• Deer hunters must present Department of Defense-issued identification card, Washington state big game license with archery-only deer option and a transport tag.