Hunting Access & Closures
Hunting is allowed on some military lands, but these areas usually require permission or a permit from military authorities. Hunters should check with the military installation before entering these lands.
Most state lands are open to hunting unless they are closed by state, local, or municipal laws. State parks are closed to hunting and trapping.
DNR Natural Resources Conservation Areas (NRCAs) are open to hunting per WDFW rules in remote areas and not in proximity to public access sites and trails; site-specific restrictions may be noted in management plans and onsite signs. Access to DNR Natural Area Preserves (NAPs) for hunting is determined through a site-specific management plan; most NAPs are closed to wildlife and plant removal unless approved by DNR in an adopted plan or as a resource management activity. To learn about conservation in DNR natural areas, visit www.dnr.wa.gov/managed-lands/natural-areas. [WAC 332-52 for public access; RCW 79.71.070 for NRCA management; 79.70.030(1)(b) for NAP management]
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge Lands
Most National Wildlife Refuges have specific restrictions applying to hunting. These include species, season dates, access, permits, and legal weapons. Hunters are strongly encouraged to seek information online at www.fws.gov/refuges and contact the particular refuge directly if more information is needed.
Tribal Reservation Lands
Tribal reservations have specific restrictions applying to hunting. These include species, season dates, access, permits, and legal weapons. Hunters are strongly encouraged to contact the particular reservation directly if more information is needed. Most of the larger tribal reservations are not encompassed by GMUs.
It is unlawful to trespass. State hunting regulations apply to hunting private land, but do not guarantee access. Entry without permission onto any lands that are fenced, posted, cultivated, or used for commercial agricultural crops or aquaculture is considered trespass. Some private landowners (individuals or corporations) have chosen to deny access to, or across, their property. Check with landowners before entering their property. It is always best to obtain landowner permission before entering private property.
It is unlawful to:
- Hunt in areas posted with Hunting Only by Written Permission without a permission card signed by the landowner on your person.
- Hunt or shoot behind a Safety Zone sign.
- Operate a motor vehicle (including ORVs) behind a No Unauthorized Vehicles sign unless specifically authorized by the landowner under the Regulated Access Cooperative Agreement with WDFW.
- Disobey posted notices or signs on private lands under cooperative agreement with WDFW (WAC 220-500-230).
Some private lands may be open weekends only. For private lands that do allow access for public hunting, see Hunting Access on Private Lands.
Restricted and Prohibited Hunting Areas
These areas are closed by Fish and Wildlife Commission action. Other areas may be closed to hunting by local, state, or federal regulations.
It is illegal to hunt, unless otherwise provided, in the following areas:
Parker Lake (GMU 117) (Pend Oreille Co.): All lands south of Ruby Creek Road (USFS Road 2489), north of Tacoma Creek Road (USFS Road 2389), and west of Bonneville Power Administration power lines are designated as "CLOSED AREA" to hunting wild animals and wild birds year-round except for special hunts adopted by the fish and wildlife commission. The Parker Lake closure provides a protected area for the U.S. Air Force Military Survival Training Program.
Columbia River: The Columbia River, all islands except privately owned, in the river, the Benton County shoreline below the high water mark, Central Hanford Department of Energy property, and any peninsula originating on the Benton County shoreline, between Vernita Bridge on Highway 24 downstream to the Richland city limits are designated as a "CLOSED AREA" to hunting wild animals and wild birds except waterfowl hunting is open below the high water mark between the old Hanford townsite power line crossing in Section 24, T 13 N, R 27 E, and the Richland city limits.
Green River (GMU 485) (King Co.): Except for GMU 485 permit hunters, who may also take a black bear and/or cougar with the appropriate license/tag options, all lands within GMU 485 are designated as a CLOSED AREA to hunting of big game year-round. During the general westside elk season and general and late deer seasons, all lands within GMU 485 are also designated as a CLOSED AREA to hunting all wild animals including wild birds year-round. The City of Tacoma enforces trespass within GMU 485 year-round on lands owned or controlled by the city.
McNeil Island (Pierce Co.): McNeil Island (part of GMU 652) is closed to hunting year around.
Loo-wit (GMU 522): Closed to hunting and trapping within GMU 522 (Loo-wit), except for hunting elk and mountain goat by special permit holders during established seasons in designated areas.
Big Game Closures
Clark, Cowlitz, Pacific, and Wahkiakum counties: Closed to hunting for Columbian white-tailed deer.
Cathlamet (within GMUs 506 & 530): This area is closed to all deer and elk hunting except by special permit to protect the Columbian White-tailed deer. Columbian White-tailed deer are a state endangered species and are not legal to hunt. This area's boundaries are described as: Beginning in the town of Skamokawa; E on SR 4 to Risk Rd; S and E on Risk Rd to Foster Rd; S on Foster Rd to Elochoman River; upstream along Elochoman River to Elochoman Valley Rd (old SR 407); W on Elochoman Valley Rd to SR 4; E on SR 4 to SR 409; S on SR 409 to Cathlamet Channel of Columbia River; E along N shore of Cathlamet Channel to Cape Horn; S in Columbia River to the state line; W along the state line to a point directly S of the mouth of Skamokawa Creek; N on Skamokawa Creek to SR 4 and point of beginning.
Colville Indian Reservation: The taking or hunting of big game or grouse within the Colville Indian Reservation boundaries is prohibited. The trapping of furbearers within the Colville Indian Reservation boundaries is prohibited.
Cottonwood and Howard Islands in GMU 564: Closed to all deer hunting.
Westport: Closed to hunting all big game animals on the part of Westport Peninsula lying N of State Hwy 105 from the Elk River Bridge west end and Schafer Island Road to the ocean beach.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge: Portions of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge (WNWR) are closed to all big game hunting and hunters should contact WNWR at www.fws.gov/willapa/ or (360) 484-3482 for a more detailed description of closure boundaries.
Walla Walla Mill Creek Watershed (GMU 157): All lands in the Mill Creek Watershed are designated as a CLOSED AREA to hunting all wild animals including wild birds. The only exception is for deer and elk hunting by holders of special deer and elk permits during the established open season. These permit holders must have a U.S. Forest Service permit to enter the hunt area, and the area is closed to motorized vehicles. No entry into the Mill Creek Watershed is allowed at other times.