Hunters in Washington benefit from not only the wildlife and games in the state but also the beautiful weather during Washington hunting season. Washington is a mountainous state, and these mountains house large games such as elks, deer, bears, etc. There are also hunting opportunities for migratory birds and small games in the state.
Washington Hunting Regulations
Hunters that want to take game animals in Washington must abide by the state hunting laws, regulations, and requirements provided by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Some of the most important hunting regulations in Washington include the following
General Hunting Laws and Prohibition
Washington hunting requirements and unlawful hunting activities prohibited in Washington include the following:
- Hunters are required to have in their possession a photo identification card such as a driver’s license or any other valid means of identification accepted in Washington while hunting.
- Hunters must be in possession of a state valid hunting license while hunting in the state. The license should either be in an electronic or hardcopy printed format.
- Hunters must respect the orange dressing requirement for the season it is appropriate for.
- It is a prohibition to take game animals or birds while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance.
- It is a prohibition to take any game animals that are not deer on the starting day of the deer firearm season. Exceptions to this prohibition are allowed for harvesting sea ducks in the sea duck zone.
Use of Artificial Lights from Vehicles.
It is a prohibition of hunting laws in Washington to illuminate artificial light from vehicles on residential homes, orchards, game animals and birds, livestock, farming lands, or woods in the name of hunting.
In some counties, you are allowed to illuminate artificial light from vehicles on wildlife and games until 9 pm at night, only for observation or taking photographs. However, it is a prohibition to have any hunting weapon or device in possession while casting artificial lights in these counties.
Washington Safety Hunting Zones
It is a prohibition to discharge a firearm, take or trap wildlife within a distance of at least 150 yards away from a residential building or camp where people live without obtaining permission from the occupant of the building.
For archery hunting, the safety distance required is 100 yards in Anne Arundel County, and 50 yards in some counties.
It is a prohibition to discharge firearms within a distance of about 300 yards in public areas or school areas in the name of hunting. But this prohibition is only for regular school hours and when building structures are occupied. Also, hunters should note that this regulation does not affect home schools, colleges, and universities in Washington.
For trapping in Washington, it is a prohibition to illegally touch a catch from traps that have been lawfully set within a hunting area.
Hunting Bag Limits in Washington
Hunters must abide by the bag limit for the game they want to take and the hunting season they are a part of. Bag limits are enforced to restrict the number of specific game animals that can be taken in a hunting season.
Bag limits may either be daily or seasonal, based on the type of animal. Daily bag limits will restrict the number of games that can be taken within a day. Seasonal bag limits will restrict the number of games that can be taken within the start date and ending date of a hunting season.
Bag limits are defined by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and they vary based on the number of species that are available for that year. Violating bag limits will carry penalties which could be a fine or license revocation.
Hunting on Washington Private Lands
To hunt or set traps on private land areas of Washington you need written permission from the landowner. The only exception to this regulation is if you are the landowner.
Liabilities for Hunting on Private Lands in Washington
You will be held liable for any damage that occurs to private properties while hunting on private land. Also, the owner of the land cannot be responsible for any injury or damage that happens to a hunter, either accidental or not, regardless of if the landowner gives permission to hunt on the property or not. Hunters are advised to obtain the needed knowledge on all laws concerning hunting on private properties in Washington.
Restriction for Hunting on Private Lands in Washington
Landowners that want to restrict hunters from taking games and wildlife on their lands can make use of visible signs. In this case, it is a prohibition for a hunter to proceed to take game animals on the land, hence the hunter can be charged for trespassing.
Washington permits landowners to use blue stripes and signs to restrict movement in their properties. Vertical signs should have a minimum of 2 inches width and 8 inches length and be at the center (a minimum of 3 feet, but should not exceed 6 feet) from the water or ground areas. The color accepted for this sign is bright blue and its paint must be oil-based.
Washington Lands Regulations
Some of the regulations for hunting in state-owned lands include the following:
- It is a prohibition to shoot at targets on state-owned land, except in designated parts of the land where it is permitted.
- It is a prohibition to make use of tree stands or hunting blinds on state-owned lands or other properties that are controlled. Exceptions are allowed for those with permits from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the blinds or tree stand must be temporary and removed at the end of a hunting period.
- It is a prohibition to set traps on state-owned lands without obtaining permission from the agency in charge.
- It is illegal to set baits on state hunting lands.
Open Carry While Hunting in The State.
Yes, you can open carry during a legal hunting activity in Washington.
Although you can open carry while bow hunting in the state, you must meet the following requirements to do so:
- You must be at least twenty-one years old.
- You must carry a firearm for personal protection.
- You cannot openly carry a firearm to take a wildlife animal while bow hunting in the state.
Washington has hunter harassment for the protection of such activities in the state.
They include the following:
- Nobody shall open carry on private land, or hunting areas under the state government, without permission.
- Nobody shall deliberately interfere with any legal hunting activity in any wildlife area of the state.
- Nobody shall harass or disturb any wildlife animal to prevent lawful hunting activity in the state.
Game Tagging in Washington
Washington hunting regulations require that it is compulsory to tag specific game animals after hunting them. Some of these animals are deer, turkey, bears, and elks.
Tagging requirements for hunting in Washington include the following:
- You must put the tag on the animal carcass according to the hunting requirement provided. The tagging instruction, regulation, or requirement will depend on the type of game you are taking.
- It is compulsory for the tag to carry important details such as the date for the animal taking, the signature of the hunter, and every other information needed for the specific game. It is a prohibition to sign a tag prior to hunting a game in Washington.
Washington Hunting Licenses, Permits, and Tags.
Washington issues hunting licenses based on residency, and the age of an applicant. Permits and tags in the state are available for specific game animals. For some game hunting seasons, hunters will need the combination of both the state hunting license as well as permits and tags.
Hunting licenses permits and tags issued in Washington include the following:
- Residents Apprentice Hunting License
This license is available for residents of Washington that have never possessed a state valid license. The license is valid for residents of any age. Apprentice hunters will only be allowed to hunt games in the company of licensed Washington hunters that are at least 18 years old. Residents' apprentice license costs $10.
- Residents Regular Hunting License
This license is available for residents of Washington that are between the ages of 16 and 64. Holders of the license will be allowed to take part in specific game seasons as long as they possess the permit. The license costs $24.5.
- Residents Junior Hunting License
This license is issued to junior residents in Washington that are under the age of 16 years old. Before juniors can apply for this license, they need permission in written format from either parents or guardians. The license costs $10.5
- Senior Residents Hunting License
The license is available for senior residents of the state that are 65 years or older. The senior resident can purchase this license in the year he or she will be 65 years old. It costs $5.
- Non-Residents Apprentice Hunting License
This license is available for non-residents that have never possessed a state valid license. The license is valid for non-residents of any age. Apprentice hunters will only be allowed to hunt games in the company of licensed Washington hunters that are at least 18 years old. Non-residents apprentice license costs $20.
- Non-residents Hunting License
This license is available for non-residents that are between the ages of 16 and 64. Holders of the license will be allowed to take part in specific game seasons as long as they possess the permit. The license costs $130.
- Non-residents Junior Hunting License
This license is issued to junior non-residents that are under the age of 16 years old and want to hunt in Washington. Before juniors can apply for this license, they need permission in written format from either parents or guardians. The license costs $32.5.
- Non-residents Senior Hunting License
The license is available for senior non-residents that are 65 years or older. The senior resident can purchase this license in the year he or she will be 65 years old. It costs $65.
- Non-residents Three Days Waterfowl and Small Game License
This license is available to non-residents and will allow them to take all possible games in Washington for 3 consecutive hunting days. Games that are exempted from this license are deer, turkeys, and bears. It costs $45.
- Non-residents Trapping License
Non-residents need this license to trap furbearers in Washington. However, they will also need a furbearer permit and a non-resident hunting license in addition to this trapping license. It costs $25.5
- Regulated Shooting Area License
In addition to a hunting license, hunters need regulated shooting area licenses to be able to take bird games that are raised in captivity. This license costs $6.
Washington Fishing Licenses, Permits, and Tags.
Fishing licenses, permits, and tags available in Washington include the following:
- Annual Non-Tidal Fishing Licenses
This license makes it possible to fish in non-tidal water bodies in Washington. It is available for residents at a cost of $20.5 and for non-residents at $30 minimum, or the same cost that the state charges as an out-of-state fishing license for Washington residents.
- Seven Days Non-Tidal Fishing License
This license allows holders to fish on non-tidal water bodies for 7 days. It is available for residents at a cost of $7.5 and for non-residents at the same cost that the state charges as an out-of-state fishing license for Washington residents.
- Three Days Non-Tidal Fishing License
This license allows holders to fish on non-tidal water bodies for 3 days. It is available for only non-residents at the same cost that the state charges as an out-of-state fishing license for Washington residents.
Trout stamps are available for fishers that want to harvest trout fishes. Residents and non-residents can purchase this stamp at costs of $5 and $10 respectively.
- Senior Consolidated Fishing License
A senior consolidated fishing license is available for senior residents of Washington that are 65 years old or more. This license can include the combination of other hunting or harvesting licenses available for seniors in the state. Non-residents cannot purchase this license. It costs $5.
This license will allow holders to harvest crabs in Washington waterbodies. It is available for residents and non-residents at costs of $5 and $10 respectively. For residents that possess the Chesapeake Bay and coastal sport fishing license or a senior resident with a consolidated fishing license, the cost will be $2.
Washington Hunting Seasons
Hunting seasons in Washington vary majorly based on the game animals you want to take and the type of hunting weapon you are using.
The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Washington includes the following:
Washington Deer Hunting Season (White-tailed and Mule Deer)
- Archery hunting season (11th of September to 21st of October and 25th of October to 27th of November)
- Firearms Hunting Season (28th of November to 12th of December and 8th of January to 10th of January)
- Muzzleloader Hunting Season (22nd of October to 24th of October and 19th of December to 2nd of January)
- White-tailed deer hunting in Washington is available in only some counties in the state. The date for this hunting will vary throughout the state.
Washington Turkey Hunting Season
- Fall General Hunting Season (31st of October to 8th of November)
- Winter General Hunting Season (21st of January to 23rd of January)
- Spring General Season (19th of April to 24th of May)
Washington Black Bear Hunting Season
- General Hunting Season (26th of October to 30th of October)
To hunt bears in Washington, you need a special permit from the state department of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. There is also a bag limit of one deer per season.
Washington Small Games Hunting Season
- Hunting seasons for the small game animals in Washington include the following:
- Rabbit Hunting Season (7th of November to 27th of February)
- Squirrel Hunting Season (5th of September to 30th of January)
- Quail Hunting Season (7th of November to 15th of February)
- Ruffed Grouse Hunting Season (3rd of October to 31st of February)
- Pheasant Hunting Season (7th of November to 28th of February)
- Crow Hunting Season (15th of August to 15th of March)
Game seasons vary for Washington hunting zones. Also, hunters are to know that bag limits, hunting regulations, laws, and requirements vary for game animals and seasons. Hunters are advised to visit the Washington Department for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to obtain important information about the specific hunting season in their unit.
Washington Hunting Wildlife, Games, and Fishes
Some of the most common wildlife and games available in Washington include the following:
Washington Deer Hunting
Washington Mule deer hunting and white-tailed deer are the most common species in the state. They can be found in a lot of the state hunting lands and Wildlife Management Areas. Deer inhabit the muddy habitats of Washington.
Washington Bear Hunting
Black bear hunting in Washington is restricted to only certain counties in the state. Special permits are issued for the hunting of bears and only one bear can be taken per hunting season.
Washington Turkey Hunting Season
Turkey hunting in Washington is common in the western part of the state. There are many wildlife managements where you can hunt for turkey in the state, because of its serene landscape of close to 10,00- acres, and its turkey population.
Washington Duck Hunting
Duck hunting in Washington takes place in the majority of the WMAs. They are evenly distributed in the state.
Washington Goose Hunting
Geese are migratory birds, and the most occurring ones in Washington are the Canadian geese. Goose hunting in Washington takes place on the eastern shore of the state where the birds usually inhabit during the hunting season.
Washington Pheasant Hunting
Washington public hunting lands have a great population of pheasants. Pheasant hunting in Washington is welcomed because the birds destroy farmlands in the state and cause losses to grasses and insects.
Washington Quail Hunting
The common species of quail found in Washington is the bobwhite quail that is small and round in stature. It is a ground-dwelling bird game that is fairly dispersed in the state. They occur mostly in the southern part and eastern shore.
Washington Shooting Ranges
Shooting ranges in the state that is open to the general public include the following:
- Boyd Mordhorst Memorial Shooting Range.
- Wolverton Mountain Gun Club
- Spokane Gun Club.
- Tacoma Sportsmen's Club.
- Sun Valley Shooting Park.
- Sumner Sportsmen's Association.
- Skagit Shooting Range.
- Mid Valley Gun Club.
- Norpoint Shooting Range.
- Renton Fish and Game.
- Poulsbo Sportsman Club.
- Port Angeles Gun Club.
- Plantation Range.
- Orcas Island Sportsman Club.
- Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club.
- Chewelah Trap Club.
- Cowlitz Game and Anglers.
- Clark Rifles.
- Evergreen Sportsmen's Club.
- Granite Falls Sportsmen's Club.
- Kenmore Ranges / Wildlife Committee of Washington.
- Issaquah Sportsman Club.
Washington Hunting Lands for Lease and Sale
Hunting lands for sale in Washington include the following:
- Tonasket, Washington (Okanogan County), 150 acres.
- Chehalis, Washington (Lewis County), 7.48 acres.
- Dayton, Washington (Columbia County) 87.2 acres.
- Trout Lake, Washington (Klickitat County) 1,112 acres.
- Hoquiam, Washington (Grays Harbor County) 60.34 acres.
- Chehalis, Washington (Lewis County) 11.89 acres.
- Trout Lake, Washington (Klickitat County) 641 acres.
- Tonasket, Washington (Okanogan County) 3,646 acres.
- 40 acre hunting tract just 20 minutes from Tonasket, Okanogan County.
- Davenport, Washington (Lincoln County) 40 acres.
Hunting lands for lease in Washington include the following:
- Awesome Land for Lease in Whatcom County, 350 acres for mule deer, turkey, elks and predators hunting.
Washington Public Hunting Lands
Public lands for hunting in Washington and the types of game they offer include the following:
- 4412 Acres in Okanogan county for hunting Mule Deer, Dove, Quail, and Exotics.
- 162 Acres in Chelan county for hunting Duck, and Exotics.
- 280 Acres in Lewis county for hunting Duck, Predator, and Exotics.
- 185 Acres in Grays Harbor county for hunting Duck, and Exotics.
- 5150 Acres in Habersham county for hunting Mule Deer, and Duck.
- 10386 Acres in Kittitas county for hunting Elk, Mule Deer, and Exotics.
- 8694 Acres in Okanogan County for hunting Duck, and Exotics