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Washington

Game Bird Hunting

Falconry

If a raptor captures any species of wildlife (quarry) in a closed season, the falconer must release the quarry if it is not seriously injured. If the quarry is seriously injured or killed, the quarry must be left at the site, but the raptor may feed on the kill.

If the accidentally killed wildlife is a Washington State Candidate species (including jackrabbit), the falconer must immediately record on a WDFW form or facsimile: the falconer’s name, falconry permit number, date, species and sex (if known) of the quarry, and the location of the kill (as accurately as possible).

Total accidental take of Candidate species cannot exceed 5/season; falconers must cease hunting for the day if a candidate species is taken.

A list of candidate species can be found at: wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/listed

All reports of accidental take must be submitted to the WDFW falconry permit coordinator by April 1 each year.

Released quarry are not considered “take.” Federal and state laws to not permit the take of endangered, threatened, sensitive or other protected species.

2021-2022 Falconry Seasons

Species

Area

Season Dates (inclusive)

Daily Bag Limit

Possession Limit

Turkey

Eastern Washington

Sept. 1 - Feb. 15 (falconry)

1 turkey, either sex, per turkey tag with a maximum of 2 turkeys per season

2 (tag required for each turkey)

Upland Game Birds & Forest Grouse

Statewide

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 (falconry)

2 pheasants (either sex), 6 partridge,
5 California (valley) quail or bobwhite,
2 mountain quail (W. WA only), &
3 forest grouse

Twice the daily bag

Cottontail and
Snowshoe hare

Statewide

Aug. 1 - Mar. 15 (falconry)

5 cottontail or snowshoe hares, straight or mixed bag

15 mixed bag

Jackrabbit, pygmy rabbit, sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, ptarmigan - Closed statewide

Mourning Dove

Statewide

Sept. 1 - Dec. 16 (falconry)

3 mourning doves, straight or mixed bag with snipe, coots, ducks, and geese during established seasons

Three times the daily bag

Ducks, Coots, Snipe and Geese (except Brant)

Statewide

Same season dates for each species in each area listed previously (falconry)

3, straight or mixed bag including duck, coots, snipe, geese and mourning doves during established seasons

Three times the daily bag

Ducks, Coots & Geese (extended falconry)

Western Washington

Sept. 25

3, straight or mixed bag including duck, coots, Canada and White-fronted Geese

Same as the daily bag

Eastern Washington

Oct. 2

3, straight or mixed bag including duck, coots, Canada and White-fronted Geese

Same as the daily bag

Statewide

Feb. 5

3, straight or mixed bag including duck, coots and all geese

Same as the daily bag

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease – Guidance for rabbit hunters

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV1 and RHDV2) is a very contagious virus that occurs in Washington and is known to cause significant mortality in non-native European rabbits. It does not infect humans or dogs, though they can spread the virus. In 2020 an outbreak in native lagomorphs (rabbits and hares) occurred in southwestern North America, and in 2021 a wild jackrabbit in Idaho was found dead, infected with RHDV. RHDV is easily spread by direct contact with infected (live or dead) rabbits, and the virus can remain active for months in the environment. This virus has the potential to cause significant mortality in Washington’s native lagomorphs. Please take extra precaution to reduce the risk of spreading this virus:

  • Do not release nonnative domestic rabbits into the wild
  • Do not move wild rabbits between areas, for any reason
  • Attempt to prevent contact with dead rabbits (by dogs or humans); if contact is unavoidable, wash hands, clothes, shoes, (etc.), and/or the dog(s), with soap and warm water
    • This should be done same day, or before moving to a new location
    • If hunting rabbits, do not leave remains in the open; bury or discard appropriately to reduce the risk of scavengers. Double bag remains if discarding in the trash.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after handling rabbits or rabbit meat, domestic or wild.
  • If you have pet rabbits, use extra precaution before going into the field. Carefully wash hands, shoes, and any other material(s) that may have been in contact with the domestic rabbits

For more information, see the Washington State Department of Agriculture website: https://agr.wa.gov/departments/animals-livestock-and-pets/animal-health/animal-diseases/rabbit-disease

There may not be any outward evidence of diseased rabbits, or the animals may exhibit bright red blood around the nose and mouth. If more than 3 dead rabbits are observed in close proximity, please contact a WDFW Wildlife Veterinarian (Katherine.haman@dfw.wa.gov).