Hunting and Conservation

For wildlife and people

We protect, connect and restore wildlands and habitat for all native species, including game animals. And we champion threatened wildlife across our region; from bighorn sheep, mountain caribou and pronghorn to Canada lynx, grizzly bears and wolves.

A bow hunter takes in the splendor of a wilderness area in the North Cascades. Photo: Chase Gunnell

We support science-based wildlife management and Fair Chase hunting according to the laws and regulations of the State of Washington. In fact, we have several passionate hunters on our staff.  

And we’re the Washington state affiliate organization of the National Wildlife Federation, America’s oldest and largest conservation alliance. Learn about the National Wildlife Federation’s Outdoors program

Respecting wildlife, and passing it on

Most hunters have a deep appreciation for wild areas and choose to take their passion further by becoming skilled at stalking, harvesting and cooking wild game animals. Hunters are also well-known for their efforts to pass on the importance of wildlife and wildlands to future generations.

As long as hunting opportunity is based on the science of animal population management, is done through Fair Chase ethics, and hunters hunt lawfully and ethically, responsibly utilizing their harvest, we respect that hunting is an important way people choose to experience our natural heritage. We also deeply appreciate that sportsmen and women are among the leading contributors to conservation.

Revenue from hunting and fishing licenses as well as taxes on hunting and fishing equipment, firearms and ammunition (levied through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts) are some of North America’s best tools for supporting wildlife conservation, acquiring and maintaining public lands for habitat and outdoor recreation, and funding state and federal wildlife agencies.

Those who hunt and those who don’t hunt share much in common. Hunters and non-hunters alike enjoy the outdoors, care about local and sustainable food, relish hiking in fields and forests, and want to pass their knowledge on to younger generations.

News on hunting and conservation

More on our work for fish and wildlife funding

Partnering for conservation progress

Our work for wildlife crossings and habitat supports elk, deer and other species, benefiting hunters and many other wildlife stakeholders! Photo: WSDOT

We partner with a variety of sportsmen’s and hunting and angling conservation organizations to protect wildlands, connect habitat and restore wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.

In Okanogan County, since 2014 we’ve partnered with organizations including the Mule Deer Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to protect and connect critical habitat for mule deer, sharp-tailed grouse, and other species in north-central Washington through the Working for Wildlife Initiative.

This effort seeks to maintain the Okanogan’s working lands and wildlife heritage through land conservation, wildlife corridors and crossings on Highway 97, improved access for outdoor recreation (including hunting and horseback riding) and education about the importance of wildlife and wildlands. This builds on our success working to create wildlife corridors for deer, elk and other species in the Snoqualmie Pass area through the I-90 Wildlife Corridor Campaign.

Across Washington, we frequently coordinate with groups including Pheasants Forever, the Washington Wild Sheep Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and many other hunting and fishing groups to support wildlife habitat conservation and recovery work.

And we support and help fund efforts by state, federal and university researchers to better understand the impacts wolves have on deer, elk, moose and other ungulate populations. Carnivore conservation must be successful for all native wildlife, from wolves to species such as elk and mule deer, which are in decline across much of Eastern Washington due to loss of winter range, fragmentation of migration corridors and disease.

Combating poaching

To combat poaching, we offer standing rewards for information that leads to a poaching conviction in Washington state, with up to $7,500 available and even more in especially egregious cases. Whether it’s deer, elk or rare predators, poaching is an unacceptable abuse of our shared natural heritageNo matter how one feels about predators or other wildlife, poaching is never OK.

Learn more about our reward fund to help stop poaching

Hunting and conservation

Mule deer, a native species prized by hunters, conservationists and wildlife watchers alike. Photo: Arid Lands Initiative

Hunters including Theodore Roosevelt, John James Audubon and Aldo Leopold were some our nation’s first and most impactful conservationists, and their legacy lives on today. In Washington state and across the country, hunters contribute significant time, energy and funding for conservation causes. We deeply appreciate these efforts. Hunter and angler conservationists are an important part of our “conservation community”.

For an excellent overview of the “North American Model of Wildlife Conservation”, which includes fair-chase hunting, public access, bans on wastage of meat, and conservation-oriented wildlife management, we encourage you to watch this video from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

We’re working with organizations including the National Wildlife Federation, as well as state and federal wildlife agencies, to expand the conservation successes of the North American Model to “non-game” animals and other important native species.

Learn more about the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

More on hunting, conservation and food

A hunter heads into the woods of northeast Washington in search of deer. Photo: Chase Gunnell

Gaining a direct connection with food, nature and our human and natural heritage are among the primary reasons people hunt. The recent movement to eat leaner protein and know exactly where it comes from has been a common practice among hunters for generations. 

Few food sources are as healthy and sustainable as wild, free-range game meat. Most hunters take enormous pride not only in taking an animal in the field,  but in properly cleaning, processing and cooking their harvest so that they and their families can enjoy some of the best protein available anywhere.

We welcome the support of both hunters and non-hunters in our efforts to keep the Northwest wild!

A hunter glasses for deer in a backcountry Roadless Area of northeast Washington’s Colville National Forest. Photo: Chase Gunnell