OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is now accepting applications from beginning hunters seeking to defer state hunter-education requirements and hunt under the supervision of an experienced hunter.
The new deferral option, authorized by the 2007 Legislature, allows hunters to qualify for a once-in-a-lifetime, one-year deferral of hunter-education classes and hunt with an adult who has been licensed to hunt in Washington state for at least three years.
Beginning hunters who qualify can use the one-time deferral option during the current licensing season or in upcoming seasons, said Mik Mikitik, WDFW hunter education coordinator. The current licensing season runs through April 30, 2008.
“Every year, we hear from beginning hunters who just couldn’t attend classes, whether because of military service, family obligations or some other reason,” Mikitik said. “As in a number of other states, the new deferral option will allow prospective hunters to go afield, so long as they have an experienced hunter by their side.”
Without a deferral, hunter education training is required for all first-time hunters in Washington born after Jan. 1, 1972. In a typical year, more than 12,000 new hunters complete training in hunter education classes across the state, Mikitik said.
Application forms for the new deferral option are available on WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/enf/huntered/basichuntered.htm#deferral) or can be obtained by calling the department’s hunter education division at (360) 902-8111. A $20 application fee is required. Completed applications should be sent to:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Enforcement Program – Hunter Education Division
600 Capitol Way N.
Olympia, WA 98501-1091
For more information on state hunter education programs, see WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/enf/huntered/index.htm.