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Washington

Hunting

Cougar General Seasons

General Seasons:

  • Early hunting season: Sept. 1-Dec. 31
  • Late hunting season: Jan. 1-Apr. 30 or when the harvest guideline is reached, whichever occurs first. A valid 2023-2024 cougar license/tag is required to hunt cougar in April 2023. (WAC 220-415-100)

Note: the hunting license year ends March 31st. Hunters planning to hunt during April 2023 must have a valid cougar license/tag for the 2023-2024 season.

HUNTER REQUIREMENTS, Mandatory Reporting and Hide Sealing

  1. All hunters hunting the EARLY SEASON should report their cougar hunt activity along with any other big game species via the WILD system by January 31, 2023. All hunters hunting the LATE SEASON should also report their cougar hunting activity (separately from the early season) via the WILD system and report by March 31. Hunters are required to report their April 2023 hunting activity on or before January 31, 2024. All successful hunters are required to adhere to hide sealing regulations (WAC 220-400-050) for harvested animals (see bullet 4 below).
  2. Beginning in the Late Season, January 1, 2023, hunters must call the Cougar Hotline at 1-866-364-4868 (press 2 after greeting) or visit WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/big-game/cougar prior to hunting to check if Cougar Hunt Areas are open or closed.
  3. All successful Late Season cougar hunters are required to report their harvest to the Cougar Hotline at: 1-866-364-4868 within 72-hours (press 3 after greeting) and report Name, WILD ID, date of harvest, GMU of harvest, and sex of harvest. Calling and reporting on this hotline is separate from agency inspection/sealing which must be within 5 days of making the kill.
  4. Throughout both Early & Late hunting seasons, all hunters must have their harvested cougar (unfrozen hide and skull) sealed by WDFW within 5 days of the kill (please leave proof of sex attached). The skull and hide (both non-frozen) must be presented so teeth and biological samples can be taken.
  5. No one may possess an open WDFW cougar seal unless it has been cut by a licensed taxidermist or fur dealer who has received and invoiced the pelt for processing (WAC 220-415-050).

License/Tag Required:

A valid big game license, which includes cougar as a species option.

ATTENTION - A valid 2023-2024 cougar license/tag is required to hunt cougar in April 2023.

Bag Limit:

One cougar per license year. Hunters that harvest in April should be aware that since this is a new license year, cougars killed in April 2023 count towards the bag limit through March 31, 2024.

Hunting Methods:

Hunters can use any legal weapon for hunting cougar. The use of dogs for recreational hunting of cougar is prohibited statewide.

Hunt Area

Harvest Guideline

GMU 101

7-11

GMU 105

4

GMUs 108, 111

9-11

GMU 113

4-5

GMU 117

11-13

GMU 121

9-11

GMUs 124, 127, 130

7-9

GMUs 133, 136, 139, 142, 248, 254, 260, 262, 266, 269, 272, 278, 284, 290, 330, 334, 371, 372, 373, 379, 381

N/Ab

GMUs 145, 166, 175, 178

6-7

GMUs 149, 154, 162, 163

7-9

GMUs 169, 172, 181, 186

5-6

GMU 203

4-5

GMU 204

6-8

GMUs 209, 215

3-4

GMUs 218, 231

4-5

GMU 224

2

GMUs 233, 239

4-5

GMUs 242, 243

5-6

GMUs 244, 246, 247

4-6

GMUs 245, 250

4-6

GMUs 249, 251

4-6

GMUs 328, 329, 335

8-10

GMUs 336, 340, 342, 346

9-11

GMUs 352, 356, 360, 364, 368

7-9

GMUs 382, 388

3

GMU 407

N/Ab

GMUs 418, 426, 437

10-13

GMUs 448, 450

8-11

GMU 454

N/Ab

GMU 460

4-6

GMUs 466, 485a, 490

2-3

GMUs 501, 504, 506, 530

6-9

GMUs 503, 505, 520, 550

5-7

GMUs 510, 513

3

GMU 516

3-4

GMUs 524, 554, 556

3

GMU 560

4-5

GMU 564

1

GMU 568

3

GMU 572

2-3

GMUs 574, 578

5-6

GMUs 601, 602, 603, 612

4-6

GMUs 607, 615

3-4

GMUs 618, 636, 638

3-5

GMUs 621, 624, 627, 633

N/Ab

GMUs 642, 648, 651

6-8

GMUs 652, 666

N/Ab

GMUs 653, 654

4-5

GMUs 658, 660, 663, 672, 673, 681, 684, 699

8-11

GMU 667

6-7

Cougar Hunt Notes

a

Only those hunters who have been drawn for a quality deer or elk permit in GMU 485 can hunt cougar in this unit.

b

These units have no harvest guideline.

It is unlawful to kill or possess spotted cougar kittens (usually <80 lbs.) or adult cougars accompanied by spotted kittens.

Since cougars are solitary, observing multiple tracks likely means a female with offspring. Kitten tracks may appear similar in size to an adult, so please be sure to abide by the law (WAC 220-415-100.).

Washington