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Washington Deer Hunting Season

  • May 22, 2013 /

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to big game hunting in the State of Washington, before you get started you need to understanding the rules and regulations set forth by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife for Washington Deer Hunting Season. Familiarizing yourself with the rules will save a lot of problems down the road.

Types of Deer

Black tailed deer, mule deer, and whitetailed deer.

General Hunting Season

General hunting season is open from early September to late December. Check the specific dates on the state website. State lands are legal; state parks are not legal for hunting. General locations for each type of deer will be reported at this site as well. The site provides maps.

Licensing and fees

The license year begins in April 1 and ends March 31 of the following year, and is set by the State of Washington. There are various types of licenses for big game make sure to get the right one for Washington Deer Hunting Season.

There is different pricing depending on specific categories. Currently, the fees are as follows but are subject to change at any time.

Resident and senior resident (no special discount for seniors) – $44.90

Non Resident – $434.30

Youth under 16 – $21.80

Disabled individuals – $21.80 – There are restrictions associated with the disabled category. Applicants must be a resident of the State of Washington, a veteran with 30 percent service related disability, have a RCW 77.32.480 developmental disability, confined to a wheelchair, or blind (or visually impaired).

Where to buy hunting licenses

Vendor outlets

Obtain a deer hunting license at any one of the 600 outlets within Washington State. Visit wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors to find the closest vendor.

You can also purchase a license online or by telephone: 1-866-246-9453. The license will arrive in the mail between 7-10 business days.

Duplicate licensing or tags

It is a crime to possess duplicate licensing or tags, except if the originals were lost or stolen.

There are no refunds for licenses and no exchanges for a different license after the season has opened or a special permit was applied for.

Hunters must clearly display the vehicle access pass on the outside dashboard or have it hung from the rear view mirror.

Discover pass

The discover pass is not needed on WDFG lands but is required in other places. Go to discoverpass.wa.gov to find out where these passes are required.

Social Security Numbers

Anyone 15 years of age or older must produce their social security number to obtain a deer hunting license.

Proof of Hunter identification

First time hunters are required to take hunters education training and it is highly recommended that this course be taken in the beginning of the year as the places available are generally filled around August of each year. Furthermore, anyone born after January 1, 1972 must show proof of completing the class.

Every hunter is required to stop at the Wild life check station to show documentation and any wildlife they have in their possession.

Hunter orange clothing

Hunter orange clothing is required to be worn from the waist up; just wearing a hat is not sufficient. Anyone one who is hunting deer or elk and is using modern firearms in the modern firearms season or is hunting the designated areas is required to comply with this law.

Modern firearms

Deer must be hunted with minimum of .24 caliber (6mm) centerfire rifle

Handguns – 4 inch barrel, .24calber 9gmm) centerfire cartridge

Rimfire handguns are illegal

Shotguns – 20 gauge to 10 gauge shotguns shooting slugs or #1 or larger buckshot.


Muzzle loading shotguns .40 caliber or larger. Buckshot size #1 or larger may be used in a smoothbore of .60 calibers or larger

Hunting reporting activity

These reports must be filed by January 31, 2012. Failure to complete the reports for each license or tag you possess will result in a $10.00 penalty. You are required to fill out the report even if you did not do any hunting.

Incentive Permit Drawing for early reporting

If reports are filed before January 10 or at the end of the hunting permit date on time, hunters will be eligible for a drawing for five statewide deer permits.

More information on Washington deer hunting season can be obtained at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife site.