Washington Extends Hunting and Fishing Closures to May
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has extended closures on spring bear and spring turkey hunting seasons and all recreational fishing and shellfish harvesting, whether on public or private lands, through May 4. All state lands and boat ramps are closed. The extensions coincide with Governor Jay Inslee’s extended stay at home order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
WDFW Director Kelly Susewind says local public health authorities are concerned that travel for hunting, fishing and recreation will expose communities to COVID-19. The department will reevaluate specific hunting, fishing, shellfish harvesting, public land access and boat ramp closures when new information is released by health officials.
Susewind hopes that the department will be able to open both spring bear and turkey seasons on May 4. The bear season would still run through May 31 or June 15 depending on the area. Spring turkey would still have 28 days of hunting available. Susewind also hopes that the opening of lake trout, halibut and spot shrimp will be possible on May 4. Refunds for licenses and permits are available but must be initiated before opening day. Hunters can also get their points reinstated for spring bear season if requested prior to the start of the season.
When seasons do open, Susewind says hunters and anglers should be prepared to continue practicing proper social distancing and avoid gatherings that typically take place on opening day.