Youth, veterans and active military waterfowl hunting opportunity Sat., Feb. 1

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge one of the sites for the special one-day hunt

RIDGEFIELD — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds youth, veterans, and active military that a special one-day waterfowl hunt is scheduled statewide on Sat., Feb. 1.

The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is one of the sites of a special one-day waterfowl hunt for youth, veterans, and active military scheduled statewide on Sat., Feb. 1. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is one of the sites of a special one-day waterfowl hunt for youth, veterans, and active military scheduled statewide on Sat., Feb. 1. Photo by Mike Schultz

This special hunt includes all regular season opportunities, including coot, all ducks, and all allowable geese including brant in Clallam, Pacific, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

“The chance for our veterans and active military to hunt with their kids is pretty special,” said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl section manager. “There are few times when people get to hunt with fewer hunters on the landscape, so we’re excited to be able to offer this chance.”

All bag limits will be the same as those allowed during the regular season with a single day possession limit. All species with a special authorization and mandatory harvest report card requirement still apply. Consult the Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons hunting pamphlet at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations.

WDFW wildlife areas that allow waterfowl hunting access will remain open to access for this special hunt. Many of our private land access opportunities will also be available, so check the website for site availability and locations, and reservation opportunities at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/private-lands.

Additionally, the following USFWS national wildlife refuges in Washington will remain open in designated areas. Contact specific refuges for details:

Eastern Washington:

  • Columbia
  • Conboy Lake
  • Hanford Reach National Monument
  • McNary (including Wallula, Peninsula, Two River, Burbank Slough Units only)
  • Toppenish
  • Turnbull – Youth only; (please contact refuge to obtain a letter of authorization prior to hunt)
  • Umatilla – Washington-side only

Western Washington:

  • Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually
  • Julia Butler Hansen – Washington-side only (Hunting and Price Islands)
  • Ridgefield
  • Willapa

“This hunt is a first-of-its-kind opportunity in the Pacific Flyway and came because of a provision in the John Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act,” said Spragens. “It’s an opportunity to build memories and mentorship for Washington’s waterfowlers, and a small way of thanking those that have and continue to serve our country. We’re grateful to our partners at the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) refuges for ensuring their waterfowl hunting areas would remain open during this date.”

Youth waterfowl hunters must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not hunting, unless that individual is a veteran or active military.

Active duty military includes members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training). Veterans must have served in the active military, naval, or air service, and discharged or released under Honorable conditions. Hunters are encouraged to have one of the following, or a copy of, during the hunt: DD214, Veteran Benefit Card, Retired Active Military I.D., or Active Duty I.D. card.

This special hunt date is specific to Washington state. WDFW reminds waterfowl hunters to familiarize themselves with local regulations and boundaries. Specifically, hunters are advised to consult the rules and regulations associated with allowable waterfowl hunting areas of the above-mentioned national wildlife refuges.

Information on species bag limits and special hunting authorization requirements are available in WDFW’s Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons hunting pamphlet at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations.

WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Information provided by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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