San Juan County, WA December 7, 2023 – The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office would like to acknowledge the community’s questions and continued interest in the November 18 hunting accident on Lopez Island. This is still an active investigation and the Sheriff’s Office is waiting to receive the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) portion of the investigation. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office cannot disseminate details of an ongoing investigation.
According to WDFW, deer season is still ongoing through December 15th for muzzle loader and December 31st for archery. Modern firearm (which includes shotguns) hunting is over for this season. As with any area where the state allows hunting on public lands, is it always advisable to be cautious when walking or hiking in those areas.
In Washington, about 50% of land is publicly owned and open to hunters and recreationists. These lands are managed by state or federal entities. State-owned lands open to hunting are managed by WDFW and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Washington State Parks also owns public lands, however, hunting is not allowed in state parks. Federally owned lands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, etc. State and federal lands all have different land management mandates that affect when and where hunting is permitted.
More details regarding the Lopez hunting accident will be released once the investigation is completed and doing so wouldn't compromise the integrity of the investigation.
Visit the WDFW website to learn more about hunting in the State of Washington: https://wdfw.wa.gov/.