The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (WFWC) adopted new hunting regulations through 2020 for deer, elk, waterfowl and other game species at its April public meeting.
The WFWC, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also authorized the department to purchase 1,275 acres in Chelan County’s Stemilt Basin to protect critical wildlife habitat.
Key changes in hunting rules approved by the commission for the upcoming season include:
- Waterfowl: The limit for pintail ducks was increased to two birds a day in all general waterfowl seasons, due to improved conditions in their breeding areas. In addition, special seasons for hunters under age 16 will be staggered to allow an individual hunter to participate in youth hunts on both sides of the state. The special youth hunt is set for Sept. 22-23 in western Washington, followed by a youth hunt Sept. 29-30 in eastern Washington.
- White-tailed deer: Hunters will be allowed to take antlerless white-tailed deer in game management units 101-121 in northeast Washington. Special permits will be available to seniors and hunters using modern firearms, while other hunters can take antlerless deer during general hunting seasons.
- Elk: The early general bowhunting season for antlerless elk in the Yakima and Colockum elk herds has been reduced to six days from 13. This change, as with previous permit reductions for hunts with modern firearms and muzzleloaders, is designed to meet and sustain population objectives for those herds. The season for bull elk is not affected by this change. The commission also approved a proposal to allow hunters to use primers designed for use in modern cartridges during muzzleloader seasons, but explicitly banned the use of “unmanned aircraft” also known as drones while hunting.
These and other new hunting rules will be incorporated into the 2018-19 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet, which are available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/, and at WDFW offices and hunting license vendors across the state starting the last week of this month.