OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will accept applications for its Master Hunter Permit Program from Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, 2014. The program is designed to promote safe, lawful and ethical hunting, and to strengthen Washington’s hunting heritage and conservation ethic.
WDFW enlists master hunters for controlled hunts to remove problem animals that damage property. Master hunters also participate in volunteer projects involving increasing access to private lands, habitat enhancement, data collection, hunter education, and landowner relations.
"To qualify for the program, applicants must demonstrate a high level of skill and be committed to lawful and ethical hunting practices," said David Whipple, WDFW Hunter Education division manager.
Hunters enrolling in the program must pay a $50 application fee, pass a criminal background check, pass a written test, demonstrate shooting proficiency, provide at least 20 hours of approved volunteer service and meet other qualifications described on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/masterhunter/.
Whipple encourages individuals who enroll in the program to prepare thoroughly for the written test, because applicants are allowed only one chance to re-take the exam.
There are about 1,850 certified master hunters currently enrolled in the program, which is now administered by WDFW’s Wildlife Program. Enrollment was closed during calendar year 2013 to allow WDFW time to review the program, clarify its role, and identify strategies to better engage members in high-priority volunteer work.
Approved volunteer work conducted during 2013 will be honored for individuals applying in 2014.