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WDFW LogoHunting
Report a Poacher or Other Violation

For more information on
hunting, please contact the
WDFW Wildlife Program.
Phone: 360-902-2515
wildthing@dfw.wa.gov

 

 
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the WDFW Private Lands Access Program?
    The Department works with private landowners to manage hunting and other public access activities and to open their land to public access (usually for hunting) without charging a fee. 
  • Does the Department provide maps to private lands open to public access?
    Maps showing the location of many of our private lands access opportunities can be found in the GoHunt mapping application by displaying “Private Hunting Lands”.  All of the locations can be found on a road in GoHunt if the “DNR Trans 100K” road layer is also displayed (must be at 1:550,000 or larger scale).  Paper maps are not pre-printed, but may be printed out of GoHunt.
  • Does the Department provide a list of Hunt by Written Permission program cooperators with their telephone numbers? 
    The Department does not provide a list of cooperators and their telephone numbers.  In an effort to balance the public’s need for information and a private landowner’s need for some privacy, contact names and telephone numbers are included on access signs posted in the field.
  • Do private landowners get paid for allowing access to their property?
    The vast majority of cooperators in our programs do not get paid for providing public access.  Landowners typically receive help with habitat improvements, access program signs, and increased awareness by enforcement officers.  Landowners who enter our programs do retain the liability protections provided by state law (RCW 4.24.210)
  • Do private landowners get tax breaks for allowing access to their property? 
    In general, landowners get no special tax breaks for allowing public access to their property.  In addition, landowners in special tax categories (e.g., timberland) are not required to allow public access.  One exception exists in Asotin County where someone can be allowed to enter into the “Open Space” tax category if they meet requirements for and are enrolled in our Feel Free to Hunt public access program.
  • Are public access opportunities available for recreation other than hunting?
    The vast majority of private lands in our access program are designed to improve hunting access.  Some locations allow other public access (e.g., fishing).  The Department is working toward expanding “watchable wildlife” related public access opportunities. 

    NOTE:  Other activities (e.g., target shooting, camping, ATV use) are not allowed on private properties under agreement with WDFW.
  • How is the private lands access program funded?
    There are two primary sources of funding for the program: 
    1. Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funding (i.e., “Pittman-Robertson” funds) – generated from an 11% excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition.;
    2. Wildlife Fund money generated from the sale of hunting license, tag, and special hunting permit sales. 

    Other money received through federal grants may also be used to fund the program; however, the availability of this funding varies.

  • What happens to people who access private lands without permission from the landowner?
    Properties enrolled in our Hunt by Written Permission and Register to Hunt programs require a hunter to carry an access permit with them at all times.  These permits are issued by the landholder or through the Register to Hunt sign-in kiosk.  If you are contacted while on the property without the permit, you may receive a citation for trespassing as well as a citation for hunting on a cooperator’s property without the proper permission.  Both of these violations carry a penalty worth several hundred dollars.

    Note:  No further landowner permission is needed for lands enrolled in the Feel Free to Hunt program.
  • Does the Department work with private industrial timberland owners to gain public access?
    Access to private industrial timberland is very important to Washington hunters and outdoor enthusiasts and the Department is working with several companies to gain or retain access.  To some degree, all landowners deal with trash dumping, road maintenance, and vandalism, however, these issues can become major problems for industrial timberland owners and others with large blocks of undeveloped land.  The Department is committed to working with companies who allow public access to deal with these and other issues. 
  • Does the Department use volunteers to help with access programs? 
    In many cases, we would not be able to gain access without the help of volunteers who donate their time to help manage hunters, clean up trash dumping, and help prevent vandalism.  Volunteering opportunities exist through our Master Hunter Program and partnerships we have with non-profit organizations like Eyes in the Woods and other sportsmen’s organizations statewide.
  • Can the public drive vehicles on lands enrolled in WDFW access programs?
    The majority of properties enrolled do not allow motorized vehicle access.  Exceptions to this are typically found in larger forest areas where select roads are open to help spread hunters across the property.  A ticket can be written for improper use of motorized vehicles.