The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


December 17, 2020

Darrell Alexander

Guide Mike West

Enjoying Hunting and Fishing

As a boy growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it was expected that I would hunt and fish like my father. In 1963 at the age of 12 I took a hunter safety course sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in order to obtain a hunting license. From that day on until I was drafted into the army in 1969 I went hunting or fishing with my dad and friends. Something changed in me after returning from the army that the desire to hunt was no longer an interest to me for a variety of reasons. I am not as mobile as I once was, so fishing is no longer an option as well.

This brings me to the point. Throughout the years that I have enjoyed the area, I have noticed many times the hunters or those on their personal fishing trips. I would see their trucks parked on the side of the road at various spots and for the life of me I could not tell by first glance whether they were fishing or hunting. By further observation because of the time of the year and the location I did determine whether they were hunting or fishing. I also noticed that many of the local stores were selling fishing and hunting licenses and I would see many of the locals and out-of-towners buying accoutrements for their expedition. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's mission is to "preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities." In Washington State, there are over 600 water access sites with close to one million acres of land containing over a thousand lakes containing bass. There are 12 million trout that are stocked onto the lowland lakes every year. Washington State also has 10 big game species.

How does someone new to the area get a hunting license? What are the requirements? Although I no longer hunt, I realize there are so many in the Westend who love to hunt and would like to know the process. There is a process to become hunter education certified. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) offer hunter education courses online or in the classroom so those who pass the course can obtain a hunting license. All Washington State residents and military personnel must obtain a Hunter Education Exam Certification before they can purchase a hunting license. Active duty military and honorably discharged veterans are exempt from having to take the firearms skills portion of the certification exam. The military exemption form can be found at Active military must have a current LES (Leave Earning Statement), and honorably discharged veterans must be able to provide their DD-214 that indicates their honorably discharged status. One can e-mail the hunter education exam certificate, military exemption form, and the military approved documents to or mail them to: WDFW-Hunter Education Program, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.

One can register for the online class at One must pass the 75 question online and complete a four-hour Field Skills Evaluation demonstrating firearm handling proficiency. Register for the classroom instruction at One must attend the Hunter Education class and pass the 75 question test and complete a four hour field skills evaluation demonstrating firearm handling proficiency. The cost is only $24.95, and there is no minimum age requirement to take the online course. A person does not have to be a resident of Washington to take this online course.

This time of the year is bow hunting for elk. Mike West from Kalama is a guide for hunting and/or fishing trips. Those who are new to the area may want to have an experienced hunting guide to get the full benefit of the knowledge of the area. In the photo, Mike is attired in camouflage with his face camouflaged as well. His web address is You can also reach him at (360) 601-7421. I'm sure there are many hunting and nature guides, but Mike is the only local guide I have met. This is a great time for hunting enthusiasts to enjoy the great outdoors in this beautiful state.


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