Washington Special Permit Application 2023

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Overview of the Washington Special Permit Draw and Application

The Washington Special Permit Application is the main opportunity to obtain big game hunting tags in the state. Species available in the draw include deer (mule and Columbian blacktail), elk (Rocky Mountain and Roosevelt) bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose, bear, and wild turkey, and hunters can apply through the Fish and Wildlife website. 

Key dates – When is the Washington Special Permit Application?

The deadline for the 2023 Washington Special Permit Application is May 24th, 2023 by 11:59pm PT. You can track these key dates and your application status in the OnPoint app.

Washington Special Permit ApplicationMule Deer, Columbian Blacktail Deer, Elk, Roosevelt Elk, Sheep, Mountain Goat, MooseDecember 1, 2022May 24, 2023

Draw Process for Washington Hunting Tags

Washington Point System – Bonus Points Squared

Washington has a significant number of categories of applications, each with a corresponding point type. There are a number of category types that hunters will not qualify for, including over 65, disabled, youth, and others. Applicants are awarded bonus points for each year they apply for a hunting tag in a specific category and are not successful. Points are specific to a species, regardless of the weapon or season type applied for. You can learn more about the different point categories in Washington summary.

When a hunter is selected for a permit, their point total for that specific category drops to zero. Points cannot be transferred between individuals or categories.

Choosing Hunt Options

Each application allows for a maximum of four hunt choices, except for the quality deer and elk categories, which permit only two hunt choices. You do not have to apply for more than one hunt. In the drawing, each hunt choice will be considered in the priority order you have selected.

Purchasing a Tag

For deer and elk hunts, you must purchase a general license that includes that species before applying for the special permit hunt.

For mountain goat, moose, or bighorn sheep hunts, hunting licenses do not need to be purchased unless you are selected for a special hunt permit.

Points Only Options

If you wish to continue building points without the risk of being selected for a permit, you can use the “Points Options” when submitting your application(s). This allows you to accumulate points while ensuring you do not get chosen for a permit. This is generally recommended only for residents, as the cost for nonresidents is significant.

Washington Draw Process

Draw Requirements – What do I need to apply for Washington hunting tags and points?

Washington Hunters must pay a fee for each species applied for on the Special Permit Application. If applying for elk and deer, hunters must also purchase a general tag upfront. If you already intend to hunt the general tag, building points can be an expensive approach in Washington.

Hunters education is required in Washington, and applicants must submit appropriate proof before a license can be purchased or applied for. We recommend submitting this far before the application deadline to ensure it is process prior to the deadline date. See the FAQ section of this article for instructions on how to submit your proof of hunter’s eduction.

ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Special Hunt Permit Applications$7.10$110.50
Special Hunt Permit Application - Quality$13.70$110.50
Multiple Season Permit Applications$7.10$110.50
ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Elk License$50.40$497.00
2nd Elk Tag$22.50$341.50
Multiple Season Elk Tag$182.00$182.00
Deer License$44.90$434.30
2nd Deer Tag$43.40$252.40
Mulitple Season Deer Tag$139.10$139.10
Deer+Elk License$84.50$739.00
Deer+Elk+Bear+Cougar License$95.50$860.00
Mountain Goat$332.00$1,652.00
Bighorn Sheep$332.00$1,652.00
Bear License$24.00$222.00
Cougar License$24.00$222.00
2nd Black Bear License$24.00$222.00

Quick Strategy and Recommendations

Washington has experienced significant point creep over the years, as applicants significantly outnumber the special permit opportunities. Bull moose, goat, and sheep permits all average over 15 points for a successful applicant, and this number is increasing. Most bull elk special permit hunts (quality and regular bull), as well as many quality deer average over 10 points. Some quality deer and buck deer hunts can be drawn around 4 points.

Residents: For Washington residents, special permit applications are very cheap, so there is little reason not to apply for most residents. With a bonus squared system, even hunters with low point quantities still have a chance to draw. With the wide variety of application types, prices can still can add up, but nowhere near as much as for nonresidents.

Non-residents: For nonresidents, point building in Washington is not generally a recommended approach due to the costs and typically long timeframe to draw. For elk and deer, a general license is required to apply in the special permit hunts, meaning you will be spending upwards of $600 minimum just to apply each year. Even if you do intend to hunt, the special permit fee is a significant cost on top of the base license fee. For most hunters it would make more sense to save their money and eventually purchase a landowner tag in the state of their choice.

How do I submit my hunter’s education proof in Washington?2023-05-18T17:02:02+00:00

To submit your proof of hunters education, you can email a screenshot or picture of you hunter’s education ID card to  licensing@dfw.wa.gov. You can also show your proof to a license vendor when purchase a hunting license.

How do I apply for special hunting permits in Washington?2023-04-17T22:09:11+00:00

In order to enter the special hunting permits applications in Washington for elk and deer, you must purchase a general elk, deer, or combination general hunting license for the species you intend to apply for. Given you must purchase this up front and the draw odds can be low, it is only suggested to apply in the special permit draw if you already intend to hunt the general tag.

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