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Washington

Hunting

Hunting

Elk General Information

Elk Tag Areas

Western Washington:

Includes all 400, 500, and 600 series GMUs.

One of the tags below is required to hunt elk in western Washington:

WA - Western Washington Archery Tag

WF - Western Washington Modern Firearm Tag

WM - Western Washington Muzzleloader Tag Multiple Season Elk Tag

GMUs Closed to Hunting:

490

Hunting by Special Permit Only in GMUs:

418, 437, 485, 522, 556, 621, 636, and 653

Eastern Washington:

Includes all 100, 200, and 300 series GMUs.

One of the tags below is required to hunt elk in eastern Washington:

EA - Eastern Washington Archery Tag

EF - Eastern Washington Modern Firearm Tag

EM - Eastern Washington Muzzleloader Tag Multiple Season Elk Tag

Hunting by Special Permit Only in GMUs:

157

To Hunt Elk in Washington:

  1. Purchase a big game hunting license with elk as a species option. See License, Tags & Permit Fees.
  2. Choose the elk tag for the area, Eastern or Western WA, you will hunt in and the hunting method you will use. You must select one hunting method: modern firearm, archery, or muzzleloader.
  3. The general season dates for the hunting method you have chosen are listed on the following pages.
  4. You may apply for hunts that are open to hunters by special permit only. See pages Elk Special Permits for the list of permit hunts and the specific tag needed in order to apply for each hunt. See Special Permit Application Instructions for special permit application instructions.
  5. When you are finished hunting, you must report your hunting activity online (fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov) or by calling 360-902-2464. See Mandatory Hunter Reporting for more information.

Definitions:

3 Point Minimum: A 3 Pt. Min. elk means that a legal elk in these GMUs must have at least 3 antler points on one side. Eye guards are antler points when they are at least one inch long. A 1x3 and a 2x3 are legal elk in a 3 Pt. Min. unit. Antler restrictions apply to all hunters during any open season. See diagram on Elk Special Permits.

Antler Points: To qualify as a point on an elk, an antler point must be at least one-inch long, measured on the longest side. See diagram on Antler Point Diagrams.

Any Bull Elk Seasons: Open only to the taking of elk with visible antlers (bull calves are illegal).

Any Elk: Any elk may be taken.

Branch: A branch is defined as any projection off the main antler beam that is at least one inch long, measured on the longest side, and longer than it is wide.

Spike Bull Restrictions: Elk taken in these GMUs must have at least one antler with no branches originating more than four (4) inches above where the antler attaches to the skull. An animal with a spike on one side (1x2) is legal in spike only units. An animal with more than one antler point more than four inches above where the antler attaches to the skull on both sides (2x2) is illegal. See diagram on Elk Special Permits.

True Spike Bull Restrictions: Bull elk taken in these GMUs must have both antlers with no branching originating more than four inches above where the antlers attach to the skull. Under the true spike restriction, taking an elk that has two points on one side or antler points within one inch of the definitions regarding length of point, or point of origination, is an infraction. All other types of violations of the true spike restriction are subject to current penalties and assessments. See diagram on Elk Special Permits.

Visible Antler: A horn-like growth projecting above the hairline.

Hunting Prospects:

Check WDFW website at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/prospects in August each year for updated hunting information.