MUZZLELOADER REGULATION CHANGES
FOR WASHINGTON STATE
Washington State has passed a new regulation that allows the use of a modern 209 primer ignition system during their regular muzzleloader seasons. You can convert any of your current Knights to a 209 (FPJ) ignition. Using our 209 FPJ conversion kit, you can make your current Knight Rifle compatible with the 209 ignition system.
These rules and regulations apply to all using a muzzleloader in Washington State:
- Muzzleloading firearms are loaded from the muzzle and use black powder or a black powder substitute. Muzzleloading firearms must be wheel lock, matchlock, flintlock, or percussion lock. A percussion lock firearm must use original-style percussion caps that fit on the nipple and are exposed to the weather. “Exposed to the weather” means the percussion cap or the frizzen must be visible and cannot be covered or enclosed by an integral part of the muzzleloading firearm proper. Telescopic sights are not allowed.
- Muzzleloading firearms for deer hunting must be at least .40 caliber. However, buckshot, size #1 or larger, may be used in a smoothbore of .60 caliber or larger.
- Muzzleloading firearms used for all other big game hunting must be .45 or larger.
- Only one barrel of a double-barrel muzzleloading firearm may be loaded while hunting big game during any muzzleloading season.
- A muzzleloading handgun used for big game must be .45 or larger, with a barrel length of at least eight inches, and capable of being loaded with 45 grains or more of black powder or a black powder substitute.
For more information on the new regulations visit WDFW’s website
During the Washington Muzzleloader Hunting Season, Definitions of a Muzzleloader: A firearm that is loaded from the muzzle and uses black powder or a black powder substitute as recommended by the manufacturer for use in all muzzleloading firearms. A muzzleloading firearm shall be considered loaded if a powder charge and a projectile, either shot or single projectile are in the barrel and the barrel or breach is capped or primed. It is unlawful to hunt wildlife using a muzzleloading firearm that does not meet the following specifications.
Washington Muzzleloader Hunting Season 2022-2023
Muzzleloader General Elk Seasons
Elk Tag Area
Game Management Units (GMUs) See Firearm Restriction Areas
Early Muzzleloader General Elk Seasons
|Eastern Muzzleloader||Aug. 1-31||Master Hunters Only: 371. Must wear hunter orange and/or hunter pink.||Antlerless only|
|Oct. 1-7||101 through 121, 117d, 204, 247||Any bull|
|124 through 142, 245, 250, 272, 278, 284, 290, 379d||Any elk|
|145, 149, 154, 162, 163, 166, 172, 175, 178, 181, 336 through 342, 352 through 368||Spike bull|
|249, 251, 328, 329, 334, 335, Elk Area 2051||True spike bull|
|Western Muzzleloader||Oct. 1-7||407, 454, 564a, 666, 684d||Any elk|
|448, 460, 466, 506a, 510, 513, 516, 520, 524, (Except closed in Elk Area 5066), 530ad, 550, 554, 560, 568, 572, 574, 578d, 602, 603, 607, 612, 615, 624 (except for Elk Area 6071), 627, 633, 638 (except for Elk Area 6064), 642, 648, 660, 672, 673, 681||3 pt. min.|
|501, 503, 504, 505, 652 (except Elk Area 6013 closed to antlerless), Elk Area 6014, 654, 663, 667, Elk Area 4601||3 pt. min. or antlerless|
Late Muzzleloader General Elk Seasons
|Eastern Muzzleloader||Aug. 1-Jan. 20, 2023||Master Hunters Only: Elk Areas 3911 and 3912. Must wear hunter orange and/or hunter pink.||Antlerless only|
|Oct. 29-Nov. 15||203, 209 through 248, 250, 254 through 272, 278, 284, 290, 373d, 379d, 381. Must wear hunter orange and/or hunter pink.||Any elk|
|Nov. 25-Dec. 8||130 through 142***||Any elk|
|Dec. 9-31||Master Hunters Only: 127, 130. Must wear hunter orange and/or hunter pink.||Antlerless only|
|Western Muzzleloader||Dec. 16-31||407||Any elk|
|Nov. 23-Dec. 8||Elk Area 4601***, 501, 503, 504, 505, 652 (except Elk Area 6013 closed to antlerless), 667||3 pt. min. or antlerless|
|Nov. 23-Dec.15||454, 564a, 666, 684d, Elk Area 6014||Any elk|
|Nov. 23-30||568, 574, 578||3 pt. min.|
|Nov. 23-Dec.15||448, 601, 618, 651, 658||3 pt. min.|
|a See Big Game Closures on Hunting Access & Closures. Columbia White-tailed Deer (CWTD) have recently been transplanted to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and may now be found in GMU 564 – as a reminder CWTD cannot be harvested as they are protected state and federally listed endangered species. Please refer to Deer General Information for visual characteristic between white-tailed and black-tailed deer. Hunters are strongly encouraged to consider Archery/Muzzleloader equipment during Modern Firearm season. If you have any questions please call the Ridgefield NWR Manager at 360-887-2122
d Visit http://www.fws.gov/for information about hunting on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge lands.
*** These areas are mainly private property. Hunters are advised to research ownership and access before hunting in these units.
Washington Muzzleloader Hunting Season Regulation
A muzzleloading shotgun or rifle must have a single or double barrel, rifled or smooth-bored A muzzleloading shotgun or rifle used for deer must be 40 caliber or larger Buckshot size #1 or larger may be used in a smoothbore of 60 caliber or larger for deer. A muzzleloading shotgun, rifle, or handgun used for all other big game must be 45 caliber or larger. Persons lawfully hunting small game with a double barrel, muzzleloading shotgun may keep both barrels loaded. A muzzleloading handgun must have a single or double barrel of at least eight inches, must be rifled, and must be capable of being loaded with forty-five grains or more of black powder or black powder substitute per the manufacturer’s recommendations. A muzzleloading handgun used for big game must be 45 caliber or larger.
A handgun designed to be used with black powder; including black powder percussion revolvers, can be used to hunt forest grouse, cottontail rabbits, and snowshoe hares. In addition to the above requirements, it is unlawful to participate (hunt) in a muzzleloading-hunting season using a firearm that does not meet the following specifications for a muzzleloader during the Washington Muzzleloader Hunting Season.
As in the past sabots are allowed Any type of projectile is allowed. A modern handgun may be carried for personal protection Modern handguns cannot be used to hunt big game or dispatch wounded big game during a big game hunting season for muzzleloading firearms a Ignition is to be wheel lock, matchlock, flintlock, or percussion using original style percussion caps that fit on the nipple and are exposed to the eather Exposed to the weather means the percussion cap or the frizzen must be visible and not capable of being enclosed by an integral part of the weapon proper Primers designed to be used in modern cartridges are not legal.
During the Washington Muzzleloader Hunting Season, Sights must be open, peep, or of other open sight design Fiber optic sights are legal Telescopic sights or sights containing glass are prohibited It is unlawful to have any electrical device or equipment attached to a muzzleloading firearm while hunting. Those persons lawfully hunting Big-game with a double barrel muzzleloader may only keep one barrel loaded.
Hunters with disabilities who meet the definition of being visually impaired in WAC 232-12-828 may receive a special use permit that would allow the use of scopes or other visual aids. A disabled hunter permit holder in possession of a special use permit that allows the use of a scope or visual aid may hunt game birds or game animals during muzzleloader seasons. Muzzleloading firearms used during a modern firearm season are not required to meet ignition, sight, or double barrel restrictions.
This information is subject to change, for more information visit: http://wdfw.wa.gov/index.html
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