WDFW Special Use Permit program

Notice: The “Special Use Permit” program is temporarily suspended due to technical difficulties. All new application approvals and/or permit renewals will be delayed until further notice. If you have any questions, please call your local regional office or customer service at 360-902-2464.

Special User Permit hunter with deer she harvested

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) provides protection, preservation, management, and restoration of Washington’s natural environments and the ecological communities that inhabit them. This includes management of human use for public benefit.

WDFW is dedicated to improving opportunities for people with disabilities through reasonable access accommodations or equipment modifications. People with permanent inoperable disabilities may have unique needs due to their impairments. ADA Special Use Permits (SUP) allow for a specialized exception to a recreational activity, service, equipment, or regulation. Each Special Use Permit is customized on a “case-by-case” basis to that individual’s very specific and particular need. WAC 220-200-170

Special Use Permit enhancements are available to any person who has applied for, receives, and maintains in good standing WDFW "Disability Status;" and who has a permanent inoperable physical or cognitive disability; and a licensed physician through the official SUP application process certifies the impairment caused by the disability condition.

"Permanent inoperable" means:

  • Not treatable or correctable;
  • All surgeries, treatments, or mechanical device use have been exhausted; or
  • Not curable because of undue risk to the patient.

Examples of accommodations:

  • Mouth or chin trigger mechanisms.
  • iScope sights for the visually impaired.
  • Crossbow device for bilateral range-of-motion weakness.
  • Spin-casting gear in fly fishing waters for upper extremity amputee.
  • Electronic duck call for COPD.

Remember: The companion card allows a person who has WDFW “disability status” to designate a companion to assist them with the physical function they are unable to perform   (WAC 220-413-140 or WAC 220-305-120).

Eligibility criteria for recurrent Special Use Permits

The following are examples of special use accommodations and qualifying disabilities.

Crossbow device

A person with a permanent inoperable upper extremity disability who has lost the use of one or both upper extremities, or who has a permanent inoperable upper-extremity physical limitation which severely impairs their ability to safely hold, grasp, or operate a traditional hunting device. Loss or limitation such as muscle weakness, impaired range of motion, unilateral hand weakness, disability of both hands or both arms, or both sides of the upper extremities may be the result of, but not limited to, amputation, paralysis, diagnosed disease or disorder, substantial injury, or birth defect. 

Remember: Crossbows are allowed in modern firearm season without a special use permit.

Scoping device

A person who meets one of the following:

  • Blindness is a central visual acuity that does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with corrective lenses, or the widest diameter of the visual field does not exceed 20 degrees.
  • Low Vision is a severe loss of visual acuity ranging from 20/70 to 20/200 while retaining some visual function.
  • Visual impairments may include, but are not limited to: Albinism, Aniridia, Aphakia, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, or other similar diagnosed permanent disease or disorder.

These do not include: Hyperopia, Myopia, or Presbyopia type conditions.

Hunting from within a Motorized Vehicle – Blue Placard

A person who has been issued a Department of Licensing (DOL) disability parking placard or disability vehicle license plate, and who meets one of the following:

  • Requires physical assistance from another individual to help them board (enter) and disembark (exit) from a motorized vehicle each and every time.
  • Requires the assistance of a wheelchair lift or other boarding assistance device to board and disembark from a motorized vehicle each and every time. 
  • Requires the assistance of a portable DC life-sustaining medical device (oxygen generator, heart pump machine, etc.) every time to board, ride, and disembark from a motorized vehicle.

Download the Special Use Permit - Hunting from within a Motorized Vehicle application.

Other power driven mobility devices

A person who has been issued a DOL disability parking placard or disability vehicle license plate, and who has a mobility disability rendering them not ambulatory over natural terrain without a lower extremity prosthesis; or who must permanently use a medically prescribed assistive device every time for ambulation, including, but not limited to, a wheelchair, walker, crutch, leg brace, or oxygen bottle; or who have lost the use of one or both lower extremities; or who have a severe physical limitation in the use of one or both lower extremities; or who have a diagnosed permanent disease or disorder which substantially impairs or severely interferes with ambulation. 

This is only a representation of the recurrent special use permits. WDFW will review all SUP requests. Please contact WDFW's ADA Manager for other information about this program and to receive an application.