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Washington Hunting Laws

Washington Hunting Laws

Hunting in Washington state is like a get away for both, the hunters and the family. In order to hunt in Washington, you need to have the appropriate licenses along with tags and permits for the species you are looking to hunt.

Hunting in Washington requires proof that they have completed a hunter education class initially when acquiring a hunter’s license. Once the license has been purchased, it automatically displays in the system in order to avoid any complications that may occur. Hunter education classes focus on firearms, outdoor safety, wildlife management, and hunter responsibilities. Classes can last anywhere from 4-6 days with a total of 16+ hours of class time. Students must pass a written test at the end of the week to complete the hunter education class and be eligible for a hunting license. The Department of Fish and Wildlife certifies all instructors of hunter education classes.

Big game Washington hunting has many requirements, and regulations that need to be complied with. Big game includes deer, bear, elk, cougar, goat, bighorn sheep, and moose. The minimum size rifle to hunt deer, elk and bear is a 24 caliber or 6mm center fire. Rimfire rifles are illegal to use for hunting big game. Handguns must have a minimum four-inch barrel and fire a minimum of a 24 caliber center fire bullet. Deer, bear, and cougar may be hunted with 20 to 10 gauge shotguns shooting a #1 or larger buckshot. Other big game may be hunted with 10 to 12 gauge shotguns shooting slugs.

Fluorescent orange is required to be worn by all hunters during most hunting seasons. A minimum of 400 square inches must be worn on the exterior clothing of a hunter. The orange must be worn above the waist and be visible from all directions in order to prevent any safety hazards and to prevent clothing from being an extra contribution to accidents.

Washington hunting is very exciting, at the same time, Washington hunting likes to maintain a level of respect between fellow hunters as well as for the deer. One thing that is highly stressed is to not waste the game, and to not torture it by having it die slowly. You must make every reasonable effort to retrieve all game killed or crippled. Until such effort is made, such game shall be included in the daily bag. This rule does not allow you to trespass without permission of the landowner nor shoot game beyond established shooting hours. Whether on a deer hunt, or hitting a deer with your vehicle by accident, you must request a tag for the carcass through the Sheriff’s Department.

Always remember, hunting is a privilege, not a right. The only person who can create a cause of action to have their privilege revoked is you. Always keep that in mind, be friendly with your fellow hunters and do not try to torture or make the game feel lasting pain, that is not part of the sport.

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