Special hunt permit application open now for seasons after COVID-19 restrictions

Hunting around Washington is currently on hold, but hunters can submit special hunt applications between April 20 to May 18 for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and fall turkey 2020 seasons in Washington.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) says that they will conduct a random drawing to select permit winners in June.

Hunters who receive special permits qualify to hunt beyond the times and places authorized by a general hunting license.

To apply for a deer or elk special permit, hunters must buy an application and hunting license, and submit the application with their preferred hunt choices. Applicants for mountain goat, moose, and bighorn sheep do not need to buy a license before they submit.

Instructions and details on applying for special permit hunts are on pages 16-17 of Washington’s 2020 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet.

“The online pamphlet looks different this year,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “We’re using a new platform that is easier to use and doesn’t require you to download a PDF of the whole pamphlet. Being able find all the special hunt options in the improved digital format may be especially helpful during this time of continued social distancing.”

A printed version of the pamphlet will also be available at dealer locations across the state, though WDFW region offices are anticipated to remain closed at least through May 4, 2020. Residents are advised to call local WDFW offices or their local license vendor to determine if they open before making an in-person visit.

“The department does not anticipate COVID-19 related impacts to these future big game hunting seasons. However, should the department have to cancel these hunting seasons, hunters would be entitled to a refund or point restoration.”

Hunters can buy applications and licenses from license vendors statewide or on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/. They must submit their applications on the website or call 1-877-945-3492 toll-free.

Hunters buying and applying online must create a username and password in the department’s WILD system. They can find more information about creating their WILD system account at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/content/pdfs/WILD-Account-Instructions.pdf. Hunters can also click the “Customer Support” link on the WILD homepage for additional assistance.

Most special hunt permit applications cost $7.10 for residents, $110.50 for non-residents, and $3.80 for youth under 16.

Resident applications for mountain goats, bighorn sheep ram, moose, and “quality” categories for deer and elk cost $13.70.

WDFW will post the results of the special hunt permit drawing online by the end of June at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/. WDFW will notify winners by mail or email by mid-July.