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Top spots for buying, hunting wild game

Venison, elk and more available

Love wild meats? Hunters are bringing in the game this fall! File photo

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Since Neanderthal times, humans have hunted animals for sustenance. However, today, thanks to massive food corporations and smaller organic farms, it's no longer necessary to search for your own meat. Why hunt when you can just pick up a slab of steak at Fred Meyer? Well, even with our more convenient lifestyles, some people love the thrill of the chase, or perhaps there's something special about eating something you've killed yourself. Even if those aren't the case, you might prefer the taste of meat beyond the basics of beef, chicken, pork and seafood. Luckily, the Puget Sound provides many different opportunities to either hunt or purchase your own wild game, because who doesn't like to bring it back to the caveman days?

First, hunting isn't for everyone, so there are local shops for purchasing unique meats. Don and Joe's Meats, located in Seattle's Pike Place Market, is worth braving the tourists. Not only does it offer a large variety of more standard meats, such as six different types of sausage alone, but also unique, more exotic options, such as pheasant, quail, duck and other game birds. You can even call ahead with your order so you won't have to wait, if exploring Pike Place isn't something you're up for. Fair warning: Some of its game birds are only available seasonally and around the holidays. However, no time of the year has more holidays than fall, so you might be in luck. Check out for details.

If you prefer to hunt down the meat yourself, there are various places throughout the South Sound to do so. Easily the most prominent animal in the South Sound is elk, and many areas are abundant with the majestic animals. Perhaps closest to the Tacoma area is Elk Areas 6013 and 6014, located right next to each other in the backwoods of Bonney Lake and Buckley, near Lake Tapps. This might be the perfect spot if you don't want to stray too far from civilization.

If you want to descend into the wilderness, however, the Mashel Game Management Unit, near Eatonville, is a truly mountainous location and perfect for hunting down your prey. The Twin Satsop Farm to the west of Olympia is also a prime spot for those in Thurston County, as well as the Skookumchuck GMU, the greatest name for any place ever, next to Centralia.

If elk isn't on the menu, there are also pheasant release sites near Joint Base Lewis-McChord and at Mason Lake, near Belfair. At a pheasant release site, the birds are released two or three times a week, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and you must have a special license for participating. If you want simple deer, there are plenty of great areas ... if you're okay with driving to Eastern Washington.

What's most important when hunting is that your licenses are up to date and that you're hunting legal game in legal spots at legal times. For more information about licensing and hunting locations, and for all the facts and guidelines you'd ever need, visit

Happy hunting!

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