Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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Do I need a hunting license to protect my private property and/or domestic livestock from wildlife depredation by deer, elk, bear, bobcat, lynx, or cougar?

  • Mule deer, black-tailed deer, white-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk, and Rocky Mountain elk are classified as game animals (WAC 232-12-007). A hunting license and open season are required to hunt them. However, after obtaining a kill permit issued by WDFW, a property owner, the owner’s immediate family, owner’s documented employee, or tenants of real property may kill one or more deer or elk on the property if the animals are damaging commercial crops or livestock. (WAC 232-36-051, RCW 77.36.030).   The Columbian white-tailed deer which occurs in limited areas of southwest Washington is classified as both a state and federal endangered species and may not be hunted or killed (WAC 232-12-014).
  • Cougar, bobcat, and black bear are classified as game animals (WAC 232-12-007), and an open season and a hunting license are required to hunt them.  A property owner, the owner’s immediate family, owner’s documented employees, or tenants of real property may kill one big game animal on the property if the animals are in the physical act of attacking livestock or pets.  (WAC 232-36-051). No permit from WDFW is required. However, WDFW must be notified immediately upon taking one of these animals under these situations.
  • The Grizzly bear and lynx are classified as both a state and federal endangered or threatened species and may not be hunted or killed (WAC 232-12-014).


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Last Updated
9th of July, 2012

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