Elk General Information
Elk Tag Areas
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:
Hunting by Special Permit Only in GMUs:
418, 485, 522, 556, 621, 636, and 653
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:
To Hunt Elk in Washington:
- Purchase a big game hunting license with elk as a species option. See License, Tags & Permit Fees.
- 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.
- The general season dates for the hunting method you have chosen are listed on the following pages.
- You may apply for hunts that are open to hunters by special permit only. See 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.
- 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 Antler Point Diagrams. 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 Elk 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 Antler Point Diagrams. 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 Antler Point Diagrams. 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.
Help WDFW Manage Your Wildlife Resources
Radio-Collars and Chemical Immobilizing DrugsAttention hunters: When drugs are used to capture an animal, it is marked with an ear tag printed with directions to call the Department before consuming the meat. This is so that WDFW staff can look up information associated with that animal to determine whether sufficient time has passed for drug residues to be depleted from the animal’s system per federal Food and Drug Administration guidelines. In most cases this time period is 30 days or less from the time the animal received the drugs, although there are exceptions depending on the drug that was used. If you harvest an animal that cannot be consumed due to potential drug residues remaining in the meat, the Department will re-issue your original transport tag, special permit, or special permit points as appropriate. It is legal to harvest wildlife with radio-collars and/or ear tags. Please notify WDFW if a collared animal is harvested using the contact information on the collar or by contacting your local WDFW office. Please be aware that several Tribes also capture animals and you may have to contact their biologists before contacting WDFW.
Review Hunts in the Upgraded Hunt Planner!
Go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/re... and click on “Hunt Planner Webmap”
- New features, improved functionality, and more intuitive design
- Browser-based, mobile-friendly web map*
- Review harvest statistics and trends alongside hunting opportunities**