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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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March 19, 2018
Contact: Kris Thorson, 360-902-8410

WDFW encourages hunter education
to prepare for spring turkey season

OLYMPIA — With the spring turkey season set to begin April 15, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) urges prospective hunters to sign up now for hunter education courses to avoid missing out on any hunting opportunities in 2018.

"While other major hunting seasons don't open until September, now is the time to enroll in hunter education to ensure you can participate in the exciting spring turkey seasons," said David Whipple, hunter education division manager for WDFW. Spring turkey hunters enjoy a high success rate, with 52 percent of hunters harvesting a turkey statewide in 2016. In northeast Washington, that figure rose to 62 percent.

The turkey season is an excellent opportunity to introduce someone new to the hunting tradition, especially with a youth-only turkey hunt scheduled for April 7-8, Whipple said.

"Completing a hunter education course now will also help hunters who want to hunt this fall, since summer and fall courses fill quickly," Whipple said. 

All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license.

If you are unable to make it to a hunter education course before the spring turkey season ends on May 31, new hunters may qualify to participate in the hunter education deferral. For more information on the deferral, please see

To find a course and learn about hunter education requirements, new hunters should visit the WDFW hunter education webpage at

WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education requirement. The traditional classroom experience includes direct instruction from certified volunteer instructors, which can be important for younger students, Whipple said. The online course offers the same content, but on the student's schedule. Those who take the online course are still required to complete an in-person field skills evaluation led by certified instructors, added Whipple.