Tagging and Transporting Game in Washington State

Responsible hunting includes proper tagging and transportation of game animals in Washington State. It's essential to adhere to these regulations to ensure ethical and legal hunting practices. Here are the guidelines for tagging and transporting game:

1. Tag Your Big Game Immediately (WAC 220-413-020):

Immediate Tagging: After killing any big game animal or turkey, you must promptly tag the animal with the appropriate tag of the person who harvested it. Follow these steps:

  • Validation: Cut out and completely remove the month and day of the kill from the tag. Ensure that the month and day are entirely removed; a slit is not acceptable.
  • Secure Attachment: The tag must be securely attached to the carcass in a visible manner.

2. Transporting Wildlife:

Proper Tag Required: When transporting any big game animal or turkey, it is crucial to have the proper tag attached. The validated tag must remain with the meat until it is consumed, including when placed in cold storage.

Quartered Animals: If the game animal is quartered, the tag should remain with the carcass or the largest portion of the carcass. If you intend to take the head to a taxidermist and the meat to a processor, you can complete a taxidermy ledger or invoice to provide necessary information to the taxidermist. However, keep the tag with the meat at the processor.

3. Evidence of Animal's Sex (WAC 220-413-090):

Naturally Attached Evidence: It is illegal to possess or transport big game animals unless evidence of the animal's sex is left naturally attached to the carcass until the carcass is processed or stored for consumption. Evidence of sex is defined as follows:

  • Male: Evidence of sex for males includes the head with antlers or horns attached or the penis or testes. At least one of these must be naturally attached to at least one quarter of the carcass or to the largest portion of meat.
  • Female: For females, evidence of sex includes the head or udder, which must be naturally attached to at least one quarter of the carcass or to the largest portion of meat.

Antler or Horn Restriction Areas: In areas with antler or horn restrictions, the head or skull plate with both horns or both antlers naturally attached must accompany the carcass while in transit or in possession.

Possession and Use of Wildlife in Washington State

Washington State has specific regulations regarding the possession and use of wildlife. It's important for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of these rules to ensure compliance with state laws. Here are the key guidelines:

Transporting Game Taken by Someone Else (WAC 220-200-120):

If you transport or possess wildlife or parts of wildlife that were killed by someone else, you must have a written statement that includes:

  • Name, address, license, permit, or tag number of the person who provided the animal.
  • The number and kind of animal provided.
  • The date the animal was killed.
  • The county and area where it was taken.
  • The hunter's signature.

Waste of Wildlife:

It is strictly prohibited to allow game animals or game birds you have taken to be recklessly wasted. Responsible and ethical use of wildlife is essential.

Purchasing or Selling Wildlife or Their Parts (WAC 220-200-110):

Certain non-edible portions of wild animals and game birds may be sold or traded, including antlers, hides, and teeth. However, there are restrictions on items such as bighorn sheep, mountain goat, bear claws, and teeth. Raw fur of wild animals or the wild animal itself can be sold if it was trapped in the state with a body gripping trap.

Wildlife Found Dead (WAC 220-400-040):

You may remove and dispose of wildlife found dead on your property or an adjoining public roadway, but you must first notify the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Dead wildlife can only be removed for disposal purposes, not for personal use or consumption unless it complies with salvage and transport rules for deer or elk accidentally killed by a motor vehicle.

Possession of Antlers:

It is legal to possess naturally shed antlers of deer, elk, and moose.

Possession of Horns (WAC 220-415-110):

Horns of a bighorn sheep ram originating in Washington may be legally possessed if the hunter harvested the sheep and presents the horns to WDFW for required marking within 10 days of the harvest. Horns of bighorn sheep found dead in Washington must be left in the field. The sale, purchase, or barter of bighorn sheep horns without written authorization by the director is unlawful.

Stolen Wildlife:

Lawfully-tagged wildlife is considered personal property. Any theft of wildlife should be reported to WDFW Enforcement or local law enforcement.

Depredating Wildlife:

Certain species, such as pigeons, doves, starlings, and sparrows, may be taken at any time. Crows may be taken during the crow season or in cases of depredation. Magpies may be taken only when they are causing damage to crops or other property.

Endangered Species:

Hunting, possession, harassment, or killing of endangered species or their nests and eggs is illegal. Washington State's endangered species include various animals and birds, such as gray wolves, grizzly bears, lynx, and many others.

Protected Wildlife:

Protected wildlife includes threatened, sensitive, and other protected species. Hunting, malicious taking, harassment, or possession of these species, as well as the destruction of their nests or eggs, is unlawful. Examples of protected species include sea otters, green sea turtles, and various birds and mammals.

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.