WDFW urges new hunters to take hunter education before upcoming hunting seasons

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is urging new, prospective hunters to complete hunter education now before upcoming turkey hunting seasons. 

Youth turkey season opens April 1, and the general spring turkey season opens April 15.

“Spring turkey season is a great opportunity to introduce new participants to hunting,” said David Whipple, WDFW hunter education section manager. “It is also a great excuse to get outside and into the woods after a cold, wet winter.”

Students can choose to take a traditional course or a hybrid course. The traditional course is a multi-session instructor-led training with an average of 15 hours of instruction. The traditional course is recommended for students under age 12 and any student seeking a valuable classroom experience.

WDFW’s hybrid course consists of a self-paced online class followed by a field skills evaluation. In the hybrid course, students take a quiz on the online class content and receive hands-on training and evaluation by certified instructors during the field evaluation. The hybrid course is appropriate for all students who can comprehend and retain online course content.

Prospective hunters can register for either a traditional or hybrid hunter education course by visiting WDFW’s hunter education webpage.

Per Washington state law, all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course in order to buy a hunting license. A hunter education deferral is available for hunters 10 years of age and older who want to try hunting with an eligible licensed hunter before completing a hunter education course themselves.

“Hunter education courses cover firearm and hunting safety, basic wildlife conservation, ethics, and more,” said Whipple. “They are one of the primary methods the Department uses to help hunters stay safe and ensure they are familiar with rules that protect public safety and maintain healthy wildlife populations.”

To learn about hunter education requirements and find an upcoming course near you, please visit the WDFW hunter education webpage.

On this webpage, hunters can also watch short videos that reinforce safety practices. These videos can be valuable to new and experienced hunters alike.