A priority will be given to the approval of Master Hunter volunteer activities that help the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) resolve depredation/nuisance problems with elk, deer, turkey, and waterfowl.
Volunteer projects associated with WDFW initiatives or that complement WDFW private and public partnerships involving the following general categories will also be a focus of the Master Hunter Permit Program:
- Recreational hunting access
- Landowner-sportsmen relations
- Wildlife habitat enhancement
- Hunter Education training
- Wildlife surveys
- Promotion of safe, ethical, and responsible hunting
An example of private, non-profit organizations that could be contacted about volunteer work includes but is not limited to the following: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Safari Club International, Richland Rod and Gun Club, Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, Eyes In The Woods, Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association, Washington Hunter Education Instructor’s Association, and Hunter Education Resource Organization. Please note that fundraising and membership recruitment activities do not qualify for conservation work credit.
An example of public organizations that could be contacted about volunteer work includes but is not limited to the following: United Stated Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Forest Service, United States Bureau of Reclamation, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Department of Ecology, Conservation Districts, and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
To view WDFW volunteer opportunities, please see the volunteer opportunities page.
You may also consider contacting private landowners in your area, including timber companies.
Examples of potential volunteer wildlife projects
- Herding and hazing of elk causing damage to private property (must be approved by local WDFW personnel).
- Hazing of waterfowl or turkeys causing damage to private property (must be approved by local WDFW personnel)
- Assistance to private landowners to maintain fencing constructed under agreement with the WDFW.
- Private property fence maintenance in traditional elk damage zones. (Cannot be your own property)
- Monitoring, maintenance, and repair of WDFW boundary fencing.
- Providing assistance to local WDFW personnel to help coordinate elk damage hunts (information and outreach to hunters, orienting hunters, notifying hunters of the presence of animals, etc).
- Enhancing private land hunting access for the general public through gate management, litter control, patrols, hunter outreach, landowner outreach, posting, register-to-hunt programs, etc..
- Maintenance of WDFW Hunting Access Areas (Adopt-An-Access Program), or hunting access points controlled by private and public cooperators that allow public hunting (signage, pot hole repair, litter clean-up, landscape maintenance, etc.).
- Coordination of the building, installation, and maintenance of wood duck nest boxes in a large geographic area.
- Serving as a Hunt Master/Coordinator for selected Master Hunter seasons.
- Classroom instruction for Hunter Education training courses. Master Hunter volunteers need not be certified Hunter Education Instructors to receive credit, but must obtain the approval of the Chief Instructor of the teaching team. A listing of statewide Hunter Education classes can be found on the WDFW’s website.
- Classroom instruction for Bow Hunter Education training courses. Master Hunter volunteers need not be certified Bow Hunter Education Instructors to receive credit, but must obtain the approval of the Lead Instructor of the teaching team. Certified Bow Hunter Education Instructors also receive credit for classroom instruction.
- Certified Hunter Education Instructors may request Master Hunter volunteer credit for the time they provide classroom instruction for Hunter Education training courses.
- Classroom instruction for Trapper Education and Nuisance Wildlife Control.
- Conducting a variety of WDFW approved wildlife field surveys (pigeon call counts, pheasant crow counts, waterfowl brood counts, etc.).
- Posting of WDFW land boundaries or Game Management Units with signs.
- Providing assistance at the Bob Oke Pheasant Game Farm in Centralia (flood or snow damage repair of pens, routine maintenance work, assist with rearing of birds, etc.).
- Wildlife habitat enhancement on WDFW Wildlife Areas or on lands controlled by private or public cooperators that allow public hunting access.
- Assistance at state Wildlife Areas (routine maintenance, hand pulling of noxious weeds or exotic plants, winter feeding of game, signage, etc.).
The following types of administrative volunteer work will also be considered:
- Evaluation of hunts designed for Master Hunters (Examples: consultations with Master Hunters, Hunt Master/Coordinator, landowners, WDFW field personnel; determination of whether the hunt met management objectives; summarization of known issues and violations, etc. Must be a need identified for such analysis by WDFW.).
- Assist the WDFW in entering Master Hunter data, sending out correspondence and applications to Master Hunters, or answering phone and e-mail questions about the Master Hunter Permit Program.
- Assist the WDFW in administering the Master Hunter written test within a specific geographic area.
- Assistance with the collection of information and data, and writing of annual Master Hunter Permit Program reports.
- Field coordination of major Master Hunter volunteer projects.
- Act as a Regional Master Hunter Representative (information conduit for Master Hunter Permit Program).
- Participation on the Master Hunter Advisory Group or Committees.
These types of volunteer administrative functions will need to be developed in concert with the Master Hunter Permit Program Coordinator and the Chair of the Master Hunter Advisory Group.
Another viable project type involves the mentoring of first-time hunters, hunters with Hunter Education training deferrals, and persons-of disability. Those individuals being mentored may not be relatives. Master Hunter candidates or renewals interested in such activities are encouraged to contact the Washington Hunter Education Instructors Association, or some other group that provides special liability insurance for mentoring and has implemented policies providing appropriate protections for all parties involved. Master Hunter candidates or renewals interested in such activities are encouraged to contact organizations that provide special liability insurance for mentoring and to closely follow their policies and procedures to ensure appropriate protection for all parties involved. Master Hunter volunteers should never be alone with someone they are mentoring and should always try to obtain direct involvement of parents or guardians for youth.
Mentoring activities with youth groups that promote firearm safety, hunting skills and outdoor ethics, or outdoor survival skills will be credited.
If your proposed project fits into the guidelines and examples for wildlife conservation volunteer activities above, OR you have obtained the support and guidance from WDFW personnel in your local area, you do not need to obtain advance approval from the Master Hunter Permit Program. You need only submit a signed Master Hunter Proof of Service Form reflecting the total required volunteer hours in order to be certified.
If however, you are either unable to find a suitable wildlife conservation project and wish to undertake a fish related activity, or you have a restrictive medical condition and are seeking a project type exception, you must obtain pre-approval from the Master Hunter Permit Program. Please call 360-902-8412 if you have any questions about projects
- Only projects completed within the State of Washington will be credited.
- Feeding or raising/releasing of wildlife will not be credited as volunteer conservation time unless specifically pre-approved by WDFW Wildlife Program personnel from the appropriate Regional Office.
- Three hours of conservation work credit will be given for attending Crime Observation and Reporting Training (C.O.R.T.) class.
The priority for Master Hunter volunteer efforts is projects that benefit wildlife, hunting, the control of wildlife depredation, and that strengthen the heritage of safe, ethical, and responsible hunting.
However, if an applicant or Master Hunter seeking re-certification, can demonstrate that s/he was unable to identify an acceptable wildlife project, the Master Hunter Permit Program Coordinator may consider approving fish related volunteer work.
Fish Conservation volunteer projects must be associated with WDFW initiatives or complement WDFW private and public partnerships involving the following general categories:
- Recreational fishing access
- Landowner-sportsmen relations
- Fish habitat enhancement
- Angler education training
- Fish surveys
- State hatchery maintenance
Examples of potential volunteer fish projects related to the categories above:
- Routine maintenance or fish rearing work at state fish hatcheries.
- Assistance to any of the 14 Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups.
- Assistance with spawning and creel census surveys approved by the Department.
- Culvert replacement and/or repair for fish bearing streams (Regional Fish Enhancement Groups, County Conservation Districts).
- Fish habitat enhancement (Stream Teams).
- Bank stabilization projects using native plants (County Conservation Districts).
- Assistance at Fishing Kids Events focusing on first-time-fishers.
- Assistance at persons-of-disability fishing events.
- Maintenance of state fishing access sites (Adopt-An-Access Program, signage, litter clean-up, landscape maintenance, etc.).
Also, project type exceptions may be granted if restrictive medical conditions exist.
Volunteer policies and procedures
It is the responsibility of the Master Hunter permit applicant, or Master Hunter seeking re-certification to find his/her volunteer project and to work directly with appropriate WDFW staff in order to obtain needed direction and guidance.
Master Hunter volunteers working on WDFW projects or on behalf of the WDFW as part of a private or public partnership must comply with WDFW Volunteer Policies and Procedures. Requirements include formal registration as a volunteer, submittal of monthly time sheets during each month volunteer work is performed, and completion of appropriate safety training. It will be the responsibility of the WDFW supervisor of Master Hunter volunteer projects to provide needed training and to provide necessary forms and paperwork that will be required. For more information, contact the project supervisor.