|The open enrollment period for the Master Hunter Permit Program (MHPP)
will begin January 1, 2016 and remain open until February 15, 2016
The Master Hunter Permit Program (MHPP) was developed to promote safe, ethical, responsible, and legal hunting; promote support in the general public for hunting; promote the highest standards of hunting; enhance landowner-sportsman relations; engage program applicants and participants in volunteer conservation projects that benefit wildlife, wildlife habitat, promote hunting access on private land, and the associated agency priorities; and develop a corps of Master Hunters that can be engaged in addressing highly sensitive wildlife depredation issues.
What is a Master Hunter?
Master Hunters are ambassadors of safe, ethical, responsible, and legal hunting in Washington State and should conduct themselves as role models for the rest of the hunting community. These members give back to the resource through their volunteer work and help to promote safe and ethical hunting. They also assist the Department in resolving certain human/wildlife conflict situations. The MHPP was designed for hunters who are looking to give back and continue the tradition of hunting. Also they should be willing to help create good will between the department and landowners by volunteering to help mend fences, clear brush, and put in silage.
The MHPP is guided by the Master Hunter Permit Program Strategic Plan. This plan details how the department and Master Hunters will strive to meet the above listed items. http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01687/wdfw01687.pdf
Being a Master Hunter is a privilege, not a right. As such, if Master Hunters are not abiding by the highest ethical standards, they may be suspended or expelled from the program.
Those hunters who choose to enroll in the MHPP should be motivated by giving back to the hunting tradition. They should also have a desire to continue to enhance their skills and be a role model of hunting knowledge. Training is only offered through independent study. This allows the candidates to demonstrate their commitment to giving back to the fish and wildlife resource.
Master Hunters are sometimes called to address certain human/wildlife conflicts. These conflicts include deer, elk, bear, turkey, and goose depredating on commercial and private land owner property and agricultural lands. The Department may utilize Master Hunters to help resolve these situations. This may be hazing animals away from the lands or it may be a Master Hunter permitted to lethally remove an animal from the depredating herd.
Master Hunters may apply for Master Hunter Special Hunts that are administered by a Hunt Coordinator. If drawn, the Master Hunter is contacted in the order they were drawn to participate in the hunt. Not all Master Hunters who are successful in being drawn for a special hunt are called each year, and they should not be expected to be called. These hunts are designed to selectively remove animals and apply appropriate hunting pressure to encourage the wildlife to move back to traditional range/habitat.
To become a certified Master Hunter, each applicant is required to:
- Be a Washington Resident as defined in RCW 77.08.010 (39)
- Demonstrate proficiency with a bow, handgun, muzzleloader, rifle, shotgun shooting shot, shotgun shooting slugs, or crossbow. Scoring your shooting instructions
- Provide at least 20 hours of volunteer service on a project(s) benefiting wildlife resources. (There is also a volunteer requirement to renew a Master Hunter certification. Please see re-certification requirements here, http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/masterhunter/recertification.html)
- Attend Crime Observation and Reporting Training (C.O.R.T.).
- Receive a score of at least 80 percent on a written examination, based on provided independent-study materials.
- Sign an agreement to abide by the Master Hunter Code of Ethics.
- Submit to and pass a law enforcement background check.
- The applicant must not meet any of the following:
- Paid the required fine or been convicted within the last ten (10) years of a Chapter 77.15 RCW offense;
- Paid the required fine or been convicted within the last ten (10) years of criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, criminal conspiracy, or making a false statement to law enforcement, while hunting, fishing, or engaging in any activity regulated by the WDFW;
- Prior felonies prohibiting the possession of firearms, unless firearm possession is reinstated; or
- A current hunting or fishing license revocation or a current suspension of hunting or fishing license privileges in Washington or in another state.
The examination to become a Master Hunter is difficult. Here are some tips to help applicants prepare: Advice for Master Hunter Applicants Preparing to Test [PDF]
Once all training and certification requirements are complete, successful applicants will receive a patch as recognition of their accomplishments. A personalized Master Hunter permit with the person's name, Master Hunter number, issue date, and renewal date will also be provided.
Applications for the Master Hunter Permit Program will only be accepted during the open enrollment period of January 1 – February 15 each year. All program requirements must be completed by November 15 of the year the application is received.
To enroll in the Master Hunter Permit Program, download and fill out the Master Hunter Permit application form. Mail the completed application, with the $50 application fee payable by check, to WDFW Master Hunter. Use the address listed on the application form.
Master Hunters who have lost their permit may request a duplicate permit for a $5.00 fee. Checks MUST be written to WDFW Master Hunter. The request must include name and permit number or WILD ID number. These requests must be sent by mail to the address below.
All Master Hunters are asked to update their contact information including phone, mailing address, and e-mail address. Notify WDFW at (360) 902-8412, email@example.com
Master Hunter Permit Section
600 Capitol Way North
Olympia, WA 98501-1091