Wind farm hunting closes Nov. 30


Luis Pineda

Hunters have taken advantage of hunting by reservation at WHWF since April 1.

Jack Belcher, Staff Reporter

Luis Pineda
Hunters have taken advantage of hunting by reservation at WHWF since April 1.

Wild Horse Wind Farm, which is about 20 minutes east of Ellensburg, has been open to hunters since 2007. The 9,000 acres of land provides plenty of hunting grounds, provided that hunters have a permit

Right now, Wild Horse Wind Farm is in its busiest time of the year, according to Senior Wind Resource Advisor Jennifer Diaz. It is modern firearm elk season.

“We see about 600 hunters come through the wind facility; not all of those hunters have a permit,” Diaz said. “So just during that nine-day season we limit it to 50 permits per day because of the amount of people that are up here.”

R.J. Johnston, a senior majoring in law and justice, has been hunting since his sophomore year.

“My buddy at the time was really into hunting, so I decided to get my license and go through the safety course and all that,” Johnston said.

Johnston tries to get out to hunt every weekend, sometimes multiple times a week, and although he doesn’t catch things very often, he still enjoys it.

While Johnston hasn’t actually been to the Wild Horse Wind Farm for hunting, he is considering going this year. He said that he had heard about people getting elk in the area.

The main reason that Johnston has not gone hunting at the wind farm in the past is because he believes it is too crowded and that he wasn’t going to catch anything.

Diaz said that they have fixed this problem. It was caused by an unlimited number of hunting permits that have been allowed in the past.

This year, hunters still don’t need a permit to drive through the wind farm, but a permit is necessary to hunt in the boundary of the wind farm. The land is privately owned by Puget Sound Energy (PSE), where hunters can pick up a permit online, two weeks in advance.

“We actually partner with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish a hunting program here at the facility. People are required to get permits through the Department of Fish and Wildlife “Hunt by Reservation” program and they are issued all online,” Diaz said.

Hunter Hohmann, another student at CWU, said that he didn’t know that much about the Wild Horse Wind Farm area.

“I knew that you could hunt it, but it never really crossed my mind to go check it out,” Hohmann said.

Hohmann usually hunts in the Taneum and Naneum units, each close to the Ellensburg area, but he said that he would also consider hunting in the wind farm.

“I thought I would go explore, I always like to check out new places and learn new areas.” Hohmann said.

Hohmann’s interest in hunting started through his grandfather, who took him out when he was young. He now goes out with his older brother, who lives in Belfair, Wash. Hohmann said that he goes hunting often.

“My brother and I will usually draw the multi-season deer tag here in Washington, so we will usually hunt archery season, rifle season and the muzzleloader season until we tag out on an animal,” Hohmann said. “We elk hunt as well, which has an early season in September and a late season in November.”

To tag out on an animal is to hunt until the hunter catches the animal they are hunting for, or until hunting season ends.

For example, if someone was to hunt elk, they would hunt for elk until one is caught or the season is over.

The hunting season starts Apr. 1 and lasts until Nov. 30 at the Wild Horse Wind Farm.