There has been hunting on Lopez Hill for many generations. Ever since wolves (the major predators of deer) were removed from the islands, the deer population has grown large enough to have a serious impact on plant communities. Hunting is the currently the best strategy for keeping the deer population down. The hunting season on Lopez Hill extends for half of the time for the rest of the state, in a compromise between safety and deer population control.
The hunting seasons for Lopez Hill are:
Archery: August 31 to September 30
Muzzleloader: October 3 to 11
Modern Firearms: October 17 to 31
- It is a good idea to wear ‘hunter orange’ during hunting season: a lightweight vest can be worn over your regular hiking or biking clothes. Be visible!
- Weekends tend to be busier than weekdays.
- Dogs must be leashed at all times, for their own safety and for the protection of wildlife.
Firearms restrictions are in effect in all of San Juan County. From the Washington State Big Game Hunting Pamphlet:
It is unlawful to hunt wildlife in the following firearm restriction areas with centerfire or rimfire rifles, or to fail to comply with additional firearm restrictions, except as established below.
In firearm restriction areas, hunters may hunt only during the season allowed by their tag.
- Archery tag holders may only hunt during archery seasons with archery equipment.
- Muzzleloader tag holders may only hunt during muzzleloader seasons with muzzleloader equipment as defined by department rule.
- Modern firearm tag holders may hunt during established modern firearm seasons with bows and arrows; crossbows; muzzleloaders; revolver-type handguns; or shotguns, so long as the equipment and ammunition complies with department rules.