Hunting Activity Reporting in Washington

In Washington, hunters are required to report their hunting activity in a timely and accurate manner. Here are the key details regarding hunting activity reporting:

  • Deadline: By January 31, midnight, hunters must report their hunting activity for EACH special permit acquired AND each deer, elk, bear, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, and turkey tag purchased in 2023, even if you did not hunt.

  • Cougar Reporting: For cougar, please see specific requirements on the Cougar General Season Page.

  • Transport Tags: For each transport tag, you must submit a general season hunting activity report. Additionally, you must submit a hunting activity report for EACH big game special permit awarded. Special hunt permit reports should be completed at the end of the special permit season.

  • Extended Seasons: If your hunting season (including special permits) extends beyond January 31, your hunter report is due within 10 days of the close of that season or on March 31, whichever date occurs first.

  • Penalty: Failure to complete all required reports by the deadline will result in a $10 penalty that must be paid before purchasing a license for the following year.

  • Confirmation Numbers: Hunters will receive a confirmation number for each successfully submitted hunter report. It's important to keep all confirmation numbers for reference.

  • Tag and License Submission: Do not send in your tags or licenses to WDFW, as they do not fulfill the reporting requirement.

  • Cougar Transport Tags: You are not required to report cougar transport tags unless you harvest a cougar.

Incentive Permit Drawing for Early Reporting

In Washington, hunters have the opportunity to participate in an incentive permit drawing for early reporting of their harvest. Here are the details of this incentive program:

  • Reporting Deadline: Hunters who report their harvest by January 10 are eligible to participate in the incentive permit drawing.

  • Incentive Permits: The incentive permit drawing offers a chance to win one of nine special permits. These permits include:

    • Two any elk permits for western Washington.
    • Two any elk permits for eastern Washington.
    • Five statewide any deer permits.
  • Extended Seasons: If your special permit hunting season extends beyond January 31, you will still be included in the incentive drawing if you make a report within 10 days of the close of that season.

  • Drawing Date: The incentive drawing is typically held in the month of April.

Incentive Permit Season

For hunters who are fortunate enough to win incentive permits in Washington, it's essential to understand the details of the permit season. Here's what you need to know about the incentive permit season:

  • Permit Validity: Incentive permits are valid for hunting in areas that are open to general hunting seasons or special permit hunting seasons in the state of Washington.

  • Hunt Dates: The incentive permit season typically runs from September 1 through December 31. During this period, hunters can take advantage of their incentive permits to pursue their chosen game.

  • Equipment Requirements: Hunters holding incentive permits must adhere to specific equipment requirements based on the season:

    • During archery season, hunters are required to use archery equipment.
    • During muzzleloader season, hunters must use muzzleloader equipment.
    • At other times when there are no firearm restrictions, hunters can use any legal weapon of their choice.

Paying for Incentive Permits

Congratulations to the lucky hunters who have won special incentive permits in Washington! Here's the process for paying for and receiving your incentive permits:

  • Payment: As a permit winner, you are required to send the appropriate license fee to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Headquarters office in Olympia. This fee covers the cost of your permit.

  • Receiving the Permit: Once you have submitted your payment, WDFW will process your request. They will then mail the license and transport tag for the incentive permit directly to you.

Reports Required for Hunters

Hunters, it's important to fulfill your reporting requirements to comply with Washington state regulations. Here's what you need to know:

Mandatory Hunter Reports are Required from:

  • Deer Hunters
  • Elk Hunters
  • Black Bear Hunters
  • Moose Hunters
  • Bighorn Sheep Hunters
  • Mountain Goat Hunters
  • Turkey Hunters

Reports Due By:

  • January 31, 2024

Two Ways to Report:

  1. Call: You can report your hunting activity by calling 360-902-2464, Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Additionally, during the month of January ONLY, you can make hunter harvest reports 24/7 through an after-hours call center.

  2. Online: Visit to submit your reports online.

Note: Reports are not accepted by mail or email.

For cougar hunters, please note the following reporting requirements:

  • Early Season Cougar Hunters: Report your cougar hunt activity along with any other big game species via the WILD system by January 31, 2024.

  • Late Season Cougar Hunters: Report your cougar hunting activity (separately from the early season) via the WILD system and report by March 31, 2024.

Wild Advisor Pro


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.