Nonlethal Pursuit Pass Program

WDFW Police heavily rely on our relationships with dog handlers to locate dangerous wildlife quickly and efficiently. This enforcement run program will assist in keeping dogs conditioned and ready for future response to urgent calls for service. 

WDFW police officer looks on at two hound dogs and their trainer
Photo by WDFW

Program Creation

Washington State Legislature House Bill HB 1516 - 2019-20 -- Establishing a department of fish and wildlife directed nonlethal program for the purpose of training dogs.

As directed by the legislature, the commission shall adopt by rule a process and criteria to select persons who may act as agents of the state for the purpose of using one or more dogs to hunt or pursue black bear, cougar, or bobcat to protect livestock, domestic animals, private property, or the public safety (1). The commission rule must outline the requirements an applicant must comply with when applying for the program including, but not limited to, a criminal background check. The department shall administer a training program to enable persons who have been selected pursuant to subsection (1) of this section to train dogs for use consistent with this section. The purpose of this program is to provide dog training opportunities using nonlethal pursuit. [ 2019 c 226 § 1.]

The goal of the nonlethal pursuit training pass program includes:

  1. Improving dog handler/department relations,
  2. Effective detection of target species when requested by the Department,
  3. And the ethical treatment of working dogs and wildlife.

The Department is only accepting applications for working dog training related to the nonlethal pursuit of cougars at this time. 

Application Process

Initial Steps

  1. It is highly recommended that future applicants contact their regional Captain and Sergeant to begin the process of developing a working relationship. Currently WDFW utilize dog handlers to respond to active calls for service, once connected with regional officers they can work directly with the applicant.
  2. Review WAC 220-412-130; Nonlethal pursuit training pass program. Read the approved rule language to help inform program intent and requirements for those applying to the program.

Nonlethal Cougar Pursuit Pass Application Packet

  1. Application Cover Page
  2. WAC 220-412-130 Nonlethal pursuit training pass program
  3. Process and Procedures Guide
  4. Application Form 
  5. Affidavit Form 
  6. List of References - Optional 

Fill out all packet materials and enclose a check or money order payable to WDFW Nonlethal Pursuit Pass Program in the amount of $25.00 (non-refundable) to: WDFW Enforcement, Nonlethal Pursuit Pass Program, 1111 Washington Street SE Olympia, WA 98504-1091

For questions on the process, application, or any other related inquires contact Becky Elder

Logbook Submissions

Training pass holders shall maintain a logbook of training activities under the nonlethal pursuit training program. Logbooks shall be completed online below or (COMING SOON) downloaded and printed. Logbooks are required to be completed for each training trip before leaving the field. Logbook pages must be provided to the department through an online reporting system or postmarked within ten days following any calendar month in which the training pass activity took place.