Written by: Devn Schumacher
May, 10 2021
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.
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
Washington hunting requirements and unlawful hunting activities prohibited in Washington include the following:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some of the regulations for hunting in state-owned lands include the following:
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:
Washington has hunter harassment for the protection of such activities in the state.
They include the following:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
Fishing licenses, permits, and tags available in Washington include the following:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Some of the most common wildlife and games available in Washington include the following:
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.
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.
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.
Duck hunting in Washington takes place in the majority of the WMAs. They are evenly distributed in the state.
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 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.
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.
Shooting ranges in the state that is open to the general public include the following:
Hunting lands for sale in Washington include the following:
Hunting lands for lease in Washington include the following:
Public lands for hunting in Washington and the types of game they offer include the following: