ELLENSBURG -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today
streamlined the state's hunting and fishing licensing system.
The new system is aimed at making the licensing process less complicated for
recreational users and license dealers.
"We have one of the most antiquated, cumbersome licensing systems in any of
the 50 states." said Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Bern Shanks. "This
change is desperately needed for customer service."
"This long-needed change should eliminate much of the frustration people have
felt. It should get more people into the field to take advantage of Washington's
wonderful fish and wildlife resources," said Lisa Pelly, the commission's chair.
Fishing license revisions will incorporate existing warmwater and Puget Sound
salmon enhancement fees into licenses and eliminate licensing by fish species. Under
the new system, resident adults and seniors will pay $20 for freshwater licenses; $17
for saltwater licenses; $7 for shellfish licenses, or $34 for a combined license including
shellfish. Juveniles will be charged $5 for a combination fishing license, with a separate
$3 charge for a shellfish license. Also offered is an optional $25 Family Fishing
Weekend license for up to six fishers, including one or two adults as well as children.
Hunting license revisions replace single-species tags with a big game/small game
licensing system along with options for hunting single species. Resident adults and
seniors will pay $20 to $65 for big game hunting, depending on the targeted species.
The $65 big-game combination license will allow hunting for deer, elk, cougar and bear.
A $30 small-game combination license allows hunting for upland birds, eastern
Washington pheasant and turkey, as well as falconry. A combined $80 license allows
both big- game and small-game hunting. Deer-only or elk-only tags will cost $35.
Juvenile license fees are half those charged resident adults.
The new license structure will take effect in 1999. The commission action
adopting the license revisions follows a series of 23 public meetings, nine dealer
meetings and collection of 2,500 public survey responses to gather suggestions on
simplifying the licensing system.
The license simplification measures were directed by the Legislature. Part of the
streamlining package still under development is an automated licensing system which
would replace paper licenses with permanent cards.