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Guide to Hunting Access and Closures

Military Installations

  • Permit Requirement: Hunting on military lands generally requires permission or a permit.
  • Procedure: Check with the specific military installation for access and regulations.

State Lands

  • General Rule: Most state lands are open to hunting, barring specific state, local, or municipal closures.
  • State Parks: Closed to hunting and trapping.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Areas

  • Natural Resources Conservation Areas (NRCAs): Open to hunting in remote areas away from public access sites and trails, subject to WDFW rules. Management plans may have site-specific restrictions.
  • Natural Area Preserves (NAPs): Hunting access determined by site-specific management plans; most NAPs are closed to wildlife and plant removal unless specifically approved.
  • Additional Information: Visit www.dnr.wa.gov/managed-lands/natural-areas for conservation details in DNR natural areas.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge Lands

  • National Wildlife Refuges: Specific restrictions on species, season dates, access, permits, and legal weapons.
  • Recommendation: Visit www.fws.gov/refuges for detailed information or contact the specific refuge for clarification.

Tribal Reservation Lands

  • Regulations: Each reservation has unique restrictions on species, season dates, access, permits, and legal weapons.
  • Advice: Direct contact with the reservation for detailed information is advised.

Private Lands

  • Trespassing Laws: Unlawful to trespass on fenced, posted, cultivated, or commercially used lands without permission.
  • Landowner Permission: Essential to obtain before entering private property.
  • Specific Restrictions:
    • Hunting in areas marked as 'Hunting Only by Written Permission' requires a signed permission card.
    • Hunting or shooting behind 'Safety Zone' signs is prohibited.
    • Operating a motor vehicle behind 'No Unauthorized Vehicles' signs without specific landowner authorization is illegal.
    • Disobeying posted notices or signs on lands under cooperative agreement with WDFW is unlawful.
  • Weekend Access: Some private lands may only be open for hunting on weekends.
  • Public Hunting on Private Lands: Check 'Hunting Access on Private Lands' for available options.

Parker Lake (GMU 117, Pend Oreille Co.) Hunting Restrictions

Parker Lake, located within GMU 117 in Pend Oreille County, is subject to specific hunting restrictions. The designated "CLOSED AREA" encompasses lands south of Ruby Creek Road (USFS Road 2489), north of Tacoma Creek Road (USFS Road 2389), and west of the Bonneville Power Administration power lines. This area is off-limits for hunting wild animals and birds throughout the year, with the sole exception of special hunts sanctioned by the fish and wildlife commission. The closure is primarily to safeguard the U.S. Air Force Military Survival Training Program conducted in this region.

Columbia River Hunting Limitations

Hunting restrictions extend to the Columbia River, including all islands (except those privately owned) within the river, the Benton County shoreline below the high water mark, Central Hanford Department of Energy property, and peninsulas originating on the Benton County shoreline. The designated "CLOSED AREA" stretches from Vernita Bridge on Highway 24 downstream to the Richland city limits. However, waterfowl hunting remains permissible below the high water mark between the old Hanford townsite power line crossing in Section 24, T 13 N, R 27 E, and the Richland city limits.

Green River (GMU 485, King Co.) Hunting Prohibitions

In the Green River area (GMU 485) in King County, a comprehensive hunting ban is in place for big game throughout the year, with the only exception being GMU 485 permit holders. These permit holders may hunt black bear and cougar with the appropriate license and tag options. Additionally, during the general westside elk season and general and late deer seasons, all forms of hunting, including wild birds, are prohibited in this area. The City of Tacoma strictly enforces trespassing laws on its lands within GMU 485 year-round.

McNeil Island (Pierce Co.) Hunting Ban

McNeil Island, part of GMU 652 in Pierce County, enforces a year-round hunting prohibition, making it completely off-limits for any form of hunting activity.

Loo-wit (GMU 522) Regulations

The Loo-wit area within GMU 522 enforces a hunting and trapping ban, with the only exceptions being elk and mountain goat hunting by special permit holders during established seasons in designated areas.

Big Game Hunting Closures in Various Counties

Specific counties in Washington have enacted big game hunting closures:

  • Clark, Cowlitz, Pacific, and Wahkiakum Counties: Hunting for Columbian white-tailed deer is banned.
  • Cathlamet (within GMUs 506 & 530): Deer and elk hunting is closed except for special permit holders, to protect the endangered Columbian White-tailed deer.
  • Colville Indian Reservation: Prohibits the hunting of big game or grouse and the trapping of furbearers.
  • Cottonwood and Howard Islands in GMU 564: Closed to all deer hunting.
  • Westport: Hunting of big game animals is prohibited on the Westport Peninsula north of State Hwy 105.
  • Willapa National Wildlife Refuge: Certain portions are closed to big game hunting. Contact the Refuge for detailed closure boundaries.
  • Walla Walla Mill Creek Watershed (GMU 157): Closed to hunting, except for special deer and elk permit holders during open season, and requires a U.S. Forest Service permit for entry. Motorized vehicles are banned, and the area is off-limits outside of the designated hunting season.
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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.