How to protect wildlife and their habitats when exploring public lands

Large male elk, also known as bulls, have started to shed their antlers as spring arrives, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) asks shed hunters to avoid disturbing elk and collect antlers responsibly.

Washington State is home to two subspecies of elk: Roosevelt elk and Rocky Mountain elk.

Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) are found in the coastal ranges of the Olympic peninsula and the western slopes of the Cascade Range. Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) are primarily found in mountain ranges and the shrubsteppe of Eastern Washington.

Rocky Mountain elk are primarily found in mountain ranges and the shrubsteppe of Eastern Washington.

The antlers of a bull elk grow during…


A proposed land donation from TransAlta would provide public access for recreation and benefit fish and wildlife conservation

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is interested in creating a new wildlife area in southwest Washington to benefit wildlife and people. TransAlta, a power company that owns the Centralia Mine property in Thurston and Lewis counties, is considering a 6,500-acre land donation to WDFW.

“The donation of this property to WDFW aligns with TransAlta’s commitment to sustainability,” said Mickey Dreher, President of TransAlta USA. “We believe a long-term wildlife area is the best use of this property and would greatly benefit the community now and into the future.”

If WDFW receives the 6,500-acre land donation from TransAlta…


Spring is a busy time for wildlife; especially black bears as they emerge from their winter dens hungry and in search of calories after five months of not eating. During this time of increased activity, it is important for homeowners and hikers to secure un-natural food sources to reduce bear encounters.

Black bears typically den from late October to early April and are hungry when they emerge from their dens. During hibernation bears may lose up to 40 percent of their body weight as females also give birth to their offspring while they are in their dens.

When they emerge…


David Hoel dreamed of working for Washington Department of Game (now Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, WDFW) after high school. After two years of college, he applied, but the Department of Game (as it was then called) wasn’t hiring. He went to work as an electrician, a carpenter, and later he owned a picture framing shop. The idea of working for the Department of Game kept tugging at him. David wanted to be a game warden or work in wildlife research. …


A bull elk bugles
A bull elk bugles

Applications available until March 31

Make this year’s big-game hunting season one to remember by entering the WDFW Multi-season deer and elk tags drawings.

Multi-season deer and elk tag applications offer you a chance to extend your hunting season and get in on special hunts under any weapon type.

Why apply?

If selected for the 2021 Multi-season tag, you can hunt in any open unit during all general seasons starting with archery, then muzzleloader, and finally modern firearm, to get in more hunting days and increase your odds of success. The bag limit is still one animal.

If selected, you also can:

· Apply for special hunts…


“The time to protect a species is while it is still common,” Rosalie Barrow Edge, 1877–1962; Photo credit: HawkMountain.org

Women’s history month is celebrated each March. From ocean shores to mountain peaks, the world has never been lacking for women explorers and advocates for nature. At Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife we recognize the historical reality and the current influence of women as conservation and outdoor recreation advocates and leaders. With female participation in fishing, hunting and conservation rising across the nation — and seen in our own data — we want to thank all the conservation advocates and mentors who have conserved and still conserve nature. There are some things inarguably beneficial to our world. …


The spring Chinook salmon fishing season has just begun in the Columbia River, but the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has already announced that several popular tributary fisheries will either be closed or shortened to spring Chinook harvest in 2021.

Drano Lake and the mouth of the Wind River are located less than 10 miles apart on the Washington side of the Columbia River, in Skamania County. …


male harlequin duck floating on water
male harlequin duck floating on water
Harlequin duck, photo credit: Jim Cummings

WDFW recently hosted a virtual waterbird event promoting watchable wildlife, hunting opportunities, and wildlife conservation partnerships.

If you missed it, don’t worry, because it was recorded, and you can watch the entire event at your convenience on our YouTube channel.

The first stop of our virtual fly-over was estuarine shoreline at Three Crabs, part of WDFW’s Dungeness Wildlife Area Unit, in Sequim. Directions and more information about Three Crabs can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/wildlife-areas/dungeness-wildlife-area-unit. Our host at Three Crabs, Bob Boekelheide, is a member of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society. …


January/February 2021

Hello all,

Here we are — it’s no longer 2020 (thank goodness!), and we continue to roll up our sleeves to work for wildlife, fish, habitat, and you.

We continue to face steep conservation and management challenges. For instance, Washington salmon face habitat degradation, a climate-impacted ocean, fish passage barriers, and heightened predation at artificial pinch-points — to name just a few.

Today, 10 sub-species of at-risk salmon and steelhead are failing to make progress — a reality that impacts the broader ecosystem as well as salmon fishing opportunities. …


Wolf populations are slowly returning across Washington State. Populations are steadily growing, which means wolves are dispersing into new areas and forming new packs. No matter where you live in the state, chances are good that, eventually, you will have wolves living in the back country of your region.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff conduct an annual population survey of wolves each winter when wolf populations experience the least amount of natural fluctuation.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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