How to apply for a special permit to use body-gripping traps

State law prohibits the use of body-gripping traps to remove nuisance wildlife without first obtaining a Special Trapping Permit from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Applicants must follow the steps described below to qualify for this permit and comply with the provisions of RCW 77.15.194 and WAC 220-417-040 for a Special Trapping Permit to abate a nuisance-wildlife problem.

  • Submit application: A person must submit a written application (PDF) to WDFW to request the use of a Conibear-type trap submerged in water, a padded foothold trap, or a non-strangling foot snare (cable-restraint) to alleviate an animal problem. These are the only three body-gripping traps that may be authorized under this permit.
  • Rule out other options: Prior to seeking a special permit, the applicant must establish that a problem caused by nuisance wildlife has not been – and cannot be – reasonably abated by the use of non-lethal control tools. These tools include, but not limited to, guard animals, electric fencing, or box and cage traps.

WDFW must make a written finding that the applicant’s animal problem has not been – and cannot be – reasonably abated by non-lethal measures before authorizing the use, setting, placing, or maintenance of the traps to remove one or more nuisance animals.

These special permits are designed to allow the trapping and removal of nuisance animals for a period not to exceed 30 days. Applicants should consider the number of animals they expect to remove when submitting an application. WDFW Law Enforcement Department will inspect permit locations for compliance with non-lethal measures and proper use of traps.

Conditions of the permit prohibit permit holders from offering to sell, barter, or otherwise exchange the raw fur or carcass of a mammal that has been trapped using a Special Trapping Permit. The permit also requires that the animal’s carcass be disposed of in a lawful manner.


Filing an application

Applicant Information: This could be the property owner, manager, tenant, occupant, or the person who will be doing the trapping.

Location of animal problem: List the county and other geographical information about where the trapping would be conducted.Applications must include a street address or Global Positioning (GPS) in decimal degrees (e.g. 47.03788, -122.89838). GPS can be obtained from Google maps and other online sources. It is assumed that the trapping will be conducted within a quarter-mile radius of the GPS location provided. Attach additional pages as necessary.

Description of the animal problem: Describe the problem the animal is creating, the extent of the damage, how long it has been occurring, and why it is necessary to trap the animal(s).

Species: Common name of animal you wish to trap.

Number of animals to be removed in a 30-day period: Provide an estimate if the exact number is not known.

Non-lethal methods used: Check the box(s) that apply. "Other" would be checked if you attempted anything other than one of the listed methods. Provide an explanation of this method.

Results/justification: Check the appropriate box: “Ineffective” means that non-lethal methods used did not alleviate the animal problem. “Not applicable” means that non-lethal means could not be reasonably applied. Explain why the means could not be reasonably applied.

Method requested: List the type or types of traps that would be used. The three types of traps allow under RCW 77.15.194 are Conibear-type traps submerged in water, a padded foothold trap, or a non-strangling foot snare (cable-restraint).

Who will do the trapping: This is the person whose name and address will be on the identification attached to the traps being used.

Applicant certification: To be completed and signed by applicant.

Approval: To be signed by WDFW staff.

Email to:

Fax: 360-902-2162

Mail to: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Conflict Program
PO Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504-3200