The Nisqually Watershed contains portions of several different Game Management Units (GMU) set up through the State of Washington. This includes GMUs 513, 654, 510, 667, 652, 666 and 667. It also includes part of the Puyallup River Elk Area. In short, the hunting units stretch from Mount Rainier to Puget Sound, offering opportunities to hunt large game, small game and waterfowl. Check with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for permit and access information. Below are a few specific areas in the watershed that allow hunting:
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
The portion of Gifford Pinchot National Forest
that lies within the Nisqually Watershed allows hunting, with the purchase of a permit. The areas open to hunting vary from year to year, so check with a ranger station before you head out.
Elbe Hills and Tahoma State Forest
According to WDFW, Elbe Hills and Tahoma State Forest
offers excellent small and big game hunting opportunities, and especially for deer and elk. Vehicle access to the forest during hunting season is limited only to those with a disabled access permit; all others may access the forest by foot, bike or horse.
is an experimental forest owned and managed by the University of Washington. Open to the public, it offers stunning scenery and the chance to hunt large and small game.
Restricted Hunting Access
The chance to hunt on Joint Base Lewis-McChord
requires prior permission. Likewise, hunting on Weyerhaeuser’s Vail Tree Farm
requires the purchase of a permit. These permits sell out fast! The tree farm allows dogs, but they may NOT be used for hunting and tracking game.
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Access to hunting grounds within the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
is restricted to boat, but offers incredible waterfowl hunting opportunities. Be sure to check first with the refuge to determine where hunting is permitted. The nearby Luhr Beach Boat Ramp provides access; vehicles must have a Discover Pass to park.