If you want to go hunting in Washington State without the stress of worrying about hunting seasons, there are two important things to know.

  1. Washington does have year-round hunting...
  2. ... but it's only for one animal species.

Washington hunters take aim for a familiar face

The animal in question is the coyote (Canis latrans), a familiar sight in the Pacific Northwest. Coyotes live in all parts of Washington, including urban areas. While they do have their place in natural ecosystems, their spread to rural and urban areas has made them out to be a pest that preys on pets and livestock.

While co-existing with coyotes isn't easy - they pose health threats to humans and canines too - the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) still encourages practices like good fencing, keeping pets indoors from dusk to dawn, and preventing garbage scavenging.

But that doesn't stop hunters from wanting to kill the animal - whether for protection or sport.

Coyote track in sand

Coyote hunting: licensing and laws

In Washington, the coyote is classified as small game. A license is required for hunting coyotes (either small game or big game licenses). They cannot be hunted with dogs. Hunter orange/pink may be required depending on the location and time of year.

Coyote may be hunted at night with lights year-round, except during modern firearm deer or elk general seasons that occur in October and November in eastern and western Washington.

Under RCW 77.36.030, coyotes may be trapped or killed by a property owner, the owner's immediate family, an employee, or a tenant, if they are damaging crops or domestic animals. In these cases, a license is not required.

In all situations, local counties and jurisdictions may have additional laws regarding coyote hunting.

More information is available from a WDFW Pamphlet. Coyotes may also be hunted in Oregon and Idaho.

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