April 12, 2004
Contact: Frank Hawley, (360) 902-2453 or Craig Bartlett, (360) 902-2259
Chance of lifetime fishing and hunting privileges one of several new WDFW license options
OLYMPIA – Thousands of people who purchase a Washington fishing or hunting license this year are hoping it’s the last one they’ll ever have to buy.
That’s a real possibility for anyone who enters the sweepstakes for a lifetime of free hunting and fishing privileges, offered this year for the first time by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Drawing from a list of ticket holders, WDFW will name eight winners of the Lifetime License over the course of the 2004-05 season. Tickets cost $6.50 for state residents, $12.50 for non-residents, and can be purchased in unlimited numbers.
Winners must renew the Lifetime License each year, but at no cost.
“People who love to fish and hunt are finding the idea of lifetime privileges in Washington pretty appealing,” said Frank Hawley, WDFW licensing manager. “Ours is the first state in the nation to offer something like this, so it’s generating a lot of interest.”
Hawley said the first two winners will be announced within a week of the first drawing June 1, followed by additional drawings Sept. 30, Dec. 30 and March 31, 2005. Tickets are valid for all drawings held within 365 days of purchase, and winners can transfer their Lifetime License to another person at the time they claim it.
Participants do not need to hold a current hunting or fishing license to be eligible for the special license, although Hawley said ticket sales have increased substantially since March 31, when all state hunting and fishing licenses for the 2003-04 season expired.
“The Lifetime License looks especially attractive when it comes time to renew hunting and fishing licenses,” said Hawley, adding that proceeds from ticket sales will be used to support a wide range of WDFW resource management activities.
While only eight people will win a lifetime of fishing and hunting privileges this year, Hawley noted that anybody can save $3 on several popular fishing licenses if they buy them before May 18.
That’s when a new surcharge, approved by the state Legislature to support management improvements in the Dungeness crab fishery, will take effect. The new surcharge will apply to all 2004-05 shellfish, combination and two-day fishing licenses sold after May 17.
“Right now, all fishing and hunting license fees are the same as last year,” Hawley said. “If you plan to fish in Washington this year, it only makes sense to buy your license before the cost goes up.”
Other reasons Hawley cited for buying a license early include “opening day” of lowland lakes trout season April 24, a spring turkey shoot beginning April 10 for young hunters under age 16 and a morning razor clam dig scheduled April 21-24 – if tests show the clams are safe to eat.
Fishing and hunting licenses – including tickets for the Lifetime License – can be purchased over the phone (1-866-246-9453), on WDFW’s website (fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov), or at any of more than 500 license dealers listed on that website across the state.
However, unlike previous years, WDFW no longer sells hunting and fishing licenses over-the-counter at its regional offices or its main office in Olympia due to budget reductions adopted by the state Legislature.
Two other considerations in buying a license this year:
- Razor clam licenses: Legislation approved this year authorized WDFW to create two new razor-clam-only licenses, but not until June 10. For that reason, those licenses will not be available for the scheduled April 21-24 dig. Starting June 10, annual razor clam licenses will be available for $7.50, plus transaction and dealers’ fees. Three-day razor clam licenses will also be sold at $4.50, plus transaction and dealers’ fees.
- Watchable wildlife decals: Also new this year, "watchable wildlife" decals are now available that provide Washington's non-hunting and non-fishing wildlife enthusiasts a way to contribute to WDFW's development of wildlife viewing opportunities and also secure the vehicle use permit required to use WDFW lands. The decal package is $30 and includes a vehicle use permit, a hanger to transfer the permit between vehicles, a copy of "Washington Wildlife Viewing Guide" and other wildlife information materials. The vehicle use permit can be purchased separately for $10 and is available free to those who purchase a fishing or hunting license.