Free National and State Guard hunting licenses

Members of the Washington National or State Guard may be eligible for a free annual licensing package that includes a big-game license (deer, elk, bear, and cougar with tags) and a small game license with a migratory bird permit. The package is available to Washington state residents who are active, full-time Guard members, or who participate in drill training on a part-time basis.

Required paperwork

Applicants must submit a printed application to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), along with:

  • Verification of Service
  • A copy of your valid Washington State driver's license to verify state residency.
  • A copy of your hunter education certificate, unless you were born before Jan. 1, 1972 or have previously purchased a Washington hunting license. WDFW also accepts hunter education certifications from other states.

In addition, any outstanding fees incurred for failing to report hunting activities in the previous year must be paid before a new hunting license will be issued.

For those who need to complete a hunter education course, Washington law provides an exemption from the firearms-skills portion of the online course for active and honorably discharged members of the U.S. military – including members of the National and State Guard based in, or residents of, Washington.

How to Apply

  1. Open and print the National and State Guard Hunting License Application.
  2. Determine the hunting season in which you want to participate. Review the Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations and Migratory Waterfowl & Upland Game Seasons & Regulations pamphlets.
  3. You must select the weapon type for your deer tag and the weapon type and hunt area (eastern or western Washington) for your elk tag. If you decide to pick these up at a later time, you will pay a 50-cent dealer fee per tag.
  4. You must answer all of the Harvest Information Program (HIP) questions listed on the front of the application in order to obtain your small game license and migratory bird permit. (HIP is a federal program responsible for generating estimates of hunting activity and the number of all migratory birds harvested. This information is used by biologists to assist them in managing migratory birds.)
  5. Sign and date your application after you have completed it. Check to make sure you have copies of your Verification of Service document, Washington State driver's license and hunter education certificate (if applicable).
  6. Send your completed application to WDFW along with the other required documentation one of three ways:
    • Mail it to the department's main office at:
      WDFW Licensing Division
      PO Box 43154
      Olympia, WA 98504
    • Fax the application materials to 360-902-2466.
    • Submit it in person to WDFW on the first floor of the Natural Resources Building at:
      1111 Washington St SE
      Olympia, WA 98501
      Office hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Please allow one to three days for processing once all information is received. Once processed, license documents can take seven to 10 days to arrive. If you do not receive a confirmation email or license documents in the mail after two weeks, please contact our office at 360-902-2464 (TDD: 360-902-2207).