Hunting in Washington State can be a very rewarding and satisfying recreational activity for sportsmen, with some of the best big-game hunting in America and some great bird hunting as well. There are few states in the country where hunters have the opportunity to pursue the broad range of big-game animals including deer, elk, black bear, mountain goats, moose, and big cats.
Add to this turkeys, grouse, upland birds, and waterfowl; it’s no surprise that Washington is a virtual paradise of game animals to the interested hunter. Not only is Washington brimming with great game, the hunting environment itself is also pretty spectacular, with hunting units situated in the middle of National Forests and established Wildlife Areas. If this isn’t reason enough for a hunter to go out and get a license right away, here are a few more reasons to do so.
The simplest and most obvious reason to get a license for hunting in Washington State is because the law requires it. The license is inexpensive, and as shown above, certainly well worth the experience of being out in the great natural settings that Washington State offers. If caught hunting without a license in the state, the penalties are fairly severe. Any gear that was used on the hunt will be confiscated, including weapons and anything deemed by the game officer to have been a part of the hunt. A significant fine will be imposed upon the violator, and he/she will be unable to legally apply for a license for years. Depending on the severity of circumstances, imprisonment is also a possibility.
According to the Washington Department of Wildlife, the revenue generated by the hunting and fishing industry in Washington State pumps nearly $7 billion dollars annually into its various commercial enterprises, of which $313 million comes directly from hunting. The hunting industry supports a great many sporting goods stores, restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, hotels and motels, and smaller industries like meat butchering. There are also a good number of websites like Goodgamehunting.com that offer high quality hunting equipment and services to add to the enjoyment experienced by hunters. These online retailers are supported by the overall economy of the hunting industry.
Part of the reason that Washington State is able to provide such a plethora of big game animals and bird hunting to sportsmen is that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are constantly managing the populations of those animals. The land areas used in many hunting zones are also managed by the WDFW, and these areas encompass more than 900,000 acres of land, including more than 600 sites on lakes and rivers.
For every dollar contributed to the WDFW by purchasing hunting licenses, a significant portion is allocated to the management of all those species of wildlife, and of course some is also necessary to maintain the Department itself. There are more than 1,500 employees in the WDFW who work as laboratory technicians, enforcement officers, hatchery workers, land stewards, customer service representatives, biologists, and business managers.
The great work done by the WDFW is one of the main reasons the state has so much to offer hunters, and makes it an agency worthy of sportsmen’s support.