Diversity, Civil Rights and Accessibility

Young feamle hunter poses with adaptive equipment and mentors.
Photo by Melissa Espinosa

Washington is recognized around the world for its wide array of outdoor recreational activities and wildlife. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) encourages everyone to experience recreation in Washington's wonderful outdoors.

Partners in accessibility

The ADA Advisory Committee reports to the Fish and Wildlife Commission and consists of Washington residents representing each region. This committee works closely with the Department to review, enhance, and create more recreational opportunities and legislation for persons with disabilities.

WDFW also partners with cities, counties, other state agencies, US Forest Service, private landowners, and timber companies to develop hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities. Our programs and projects represent good examples of accomplishments through the cooperative efforts of public-private partnerships and the many dedicated members of the non-profit organizations, corporate organizations, sporting clubs, and WDFW personnel who have all volunteered their time, dollars and efforts to make these programs and projects successful.

The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council has partnered with the Inland Empire Paper Company (IEPC), who has donated 25 permits as part of their Disabled Hunter Program. To apply for one of these permits, please fill out an application and return it to the address indicated. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2024. Successful applicants will have access to all IEPC lands unless otherwise closed (ex. during tree falling operations or fire danger).

Accessibility rule change

WDFW has initiated several changes in the way it provides accessibility for hunters, fishers, and others.

Those changes, adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission during a public meeting in June 2018, are designed to ensure that WDFW is as inclusive as possible for people with disabilities with individual needs. The changes were developed in conjunction with the Commission's ADA advisory committee and underwent public review.

Key changes include:

  • Orange placard: The department will no longer issue orange identification placards. A person's disability designation is now displayed on his or her hunting license with no changes to their disability status. If you have previously been issued the orange placard, you may still display it in your vehicles window if you choose.  
  • Shooting from a vehicle: Hunters may no longer shoot from or possess a loaded firearm within a motorized vehicle unless they have been issued a new blue special use permit placard by WDFW confirming they need this very specific accommodation. In previous years, this opportunity was available to all hunters with disability status, regardless of individual need. Hunters who qualify for this special access must display the new blue placard, pull off the roadway, and turn off their engine before loading a firearm and operating it from within a motorized vehicle. See the special permits webpage for eligibility criteria.
  • Accessibility options for trapping activities: Like hunters and anglers, people with disabilities who trap furbearing animals will qualify for accessibility options, including assistance from a trapping companion.
  • Special Use Permit appeals process: A new rule establishes a process for people issued a special use permit to appeal the suspension of their permit to an administrative law judge.

More information

For additional information, contact the department's customer service staff at 360-902-2464, or a regional WDFW office:

  • Region 1: 509-892-1001
  • Region 2: 509-754-4624
  • Region 3: 509-575-2740
  • Region 4: 425-775-1311
  • Region 5: 360-696-6211
  • Region 6: 360-249-4628