Last updated July 2020

Link to state website


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Licensing Division
Attn: SCP
PO Box 43154
Olympia, WA 98504-3154
(360) 902-2464, Option 4

Is a state permit needed for banding?

Yes. The application form expressly lists banding as one of the activities for which permission can be obtained. The regulation expressly defines the term “collect” as taking control or attempting to take control of wildlife.

Permit application forms

State lands

No collection shall occur in WDFW Marine Preserves or Conservation Areas (see http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/mpa), or Wildlife Areas unless permission is obtained from the Area manager. Contact the appropriate WDFW Regional Office for information. Regional office information is listed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regions.

Permits are needed to work in the state parks.

Prior notice

Check permit conditions. Even if not expressly required to do so, you should always contact the manager of that particular state land unit or with the owner of private land before your arrival. You want to be aware of the hunting seasons, and, of course want to be sure that your activities will not interfere with the activities of that park, wildlife management area, or other state land unit, and that your activities will not adversely affect public use of the land or with the activities of private landowners.


Statute: Revised Code of Washington. Title 77. Fish and Wildlife. 

RCW 77.32.240

Scientific permit—Procedures—Penalties—Fees.

A scientific permit allows the holder to collect for research or display food fish, game fish, shellfish, and wildlife, including avian nests and eggs as required in RCW 77.32.010, under conditions prescribed by the director. Before a permit is issued, the applicant shall demonstrate to the director their qualifications and establish the need for the permit. The director may require a bond of up to one thousand dollars to ensure compliance with the permit. Permits are valid for the time specified, unless sooner revoked.
Holders of permits may exchange specimens with the approval of the director.
A permit holder who violates this section shall forfeit the permit and bond and shall not receive a similar permit for one year. The fee for a scientific permit is twelve dollars. The application fee is one hundred five dollars.

Regulations: Washington Administrative Code. Title 220. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. 

WAC 220-200-150
Scientific collection permits.

(1) The following definitions apply to this section:
(a) “Collect” means to take control or to attempt to take control of fish, shellfish, wildlife, or the nests of birds. Collect does not include transitory holding of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates solely for identification purposes.
(b) “Display” means to place or locate fish, shellfish, wildlife, or the nests of birds, so that public viewing is allowed.
(c) “Encountered” means targeted or nontargeted specimens captured, handled or physically affected by the collecting activity.
(d) “Project” means a planned undertaking of common temporal or geographical activities to reach a common objective. Multiple activities of a similar nature may be grouped under a single project.
(e) “Research” means scientific investigation, and includes education. Electrofishing is a form of scientific investigation.
(f) “Scientific collection permit” and “scientific permit” as referenced in RCW 77.15.660 and 77.32.240 have the same meaning.
(2) It is unlawful for any person to collect fish, shellfish, wildlife, or the nests of birds for research or display purposes on the lands or in the waters of the state of Washington for species, by means, in amounts, or in such condition not authorized under personal use or commercial rules, or in violation of any rule prohibiting possession of unclassified wildlife or prohibited aquatic species, without first obtaining a permit from the department. It is unlawful to fail to comply with any of the provisions of the permit and it is unlawful to buy or sell fish, shellfish, wildlife, or the nests of birds taken under the permit, and it is unlawful to consume or offer for human consumption any fish, shellfish, or wildlife taken under the permit.
(3) Application procedure:
(a) All applications for scientific collection must be submitted on a department application form and delivered to the department office in Olympia. Approval or denial of a scientific collection permit application will be given no more than sixty days after receipt of a complete application.
(b) A separate permit application must be submitted for each project.
(c) Each request for a permit to collect for research purposes must be accompanied by the following information:
(i) A study title.
(ii) A statement of the applicant’s qualifications for conducting the project. A statement of the qualifications of anyone conducting activities under the permit, including experience with the methodology of the proposed collection, and the applicant’s access to facilities and competence to care for the specimens to be collected, if the collected specimens will be retained in live form by the applicant.
(iii) A study plan which includes: Specific objective(s) for the proposed project including defining an identifiable end point or conclusion toward which efforts are to be directed; the justification for the project; methodology of collection; project start and end dates; project location including county name; names of participants in the collection; names and numbers of species expected to be collected or encountered; and proposed final disposition of specimens collected. Students under the direct on-site supervision of an instructor in an official course of study under an accredited educational institution may collect on behalf of the instructor holding a scientific collection permit and are not required to be listed on the permit.
(d) Each request for a permit to collect for display purposes must be accompanied by the following information:
(i) A statement of the qualifications of the applicant and all other persons conducting activities under the permit, including experience with the methodology of the proposed collection, and, if live fish, shellfish or wildlife are to be displayed, the name of the publicly owned facility where the display will occur and the competence of the facility operators to care for the specimens.
(ii) A project description, which includes: Reason for display; project location including county name; methodology of collection; names of participants in the collection; names and numbers of species expected to be collected or encountered; display site; length of display; and proposed final disposition of specimens collected.
(e) Any application for a scientific collection permit using firearms must contain a statement that all persons who will use firearms are legally capable of possessing firearms.
(f) An amendment to a project application will be treated as a project application except for the addition or deletion of names of participants in the collection.
(4) Permit periods: Permits are valid for the project period, but not to exceed one year from the date of issuance, except multiyear permits, at the discretion of the department, may be issued for public health purposes.
(5) Reporting: A final report as specified in the permit conditions must be submitted to the department upon completion of the research or display project, and must be received by the department no later than 60 days after the expiration of the permit. Renewable annual permit holders must submit a report each year, and the report must be received by the department within 60 days of the anniversary date of the initial issuance date of the permit. In addition to the final or annual report, interim reports may be required. Issuance of additional permits or permit renewals are subject to prior submission of a project report.
(6) Permit granting and denial: Permits will normally be granted for requests which contribute to the body of fish, shellfish, or wildlife knowledge, increase or maximize the fish, shellfish, and wildlife resource, avoid damage to the various resources, and do not unnecessarily duplicate previous research. Permits will not be granted if the project conflicts with existing activities or conservation goals. Permits will not be granted if the applicant was a prior permit holder and failed to submit required reports. Permits may be denied if the applicant or any other person involved in the collection has a history of fish or wildlife violations or may be revoked if, during the project period, the applicant or any other person involved in the collection commits a fish or wildlife violation.
(7) Miscellaneous permit provisions:
(a) A copy of the scientific collection permit must be in the physical possession of any person exercising the privileges authorized by the permit. Only collection participants named under subsection (3)(c)(iii) or (d)(ii) of this section may collect under the permit.
(b) A scientific collection permit does not authorize the release of specimens collected under the permit except for an immediate release to the exact site where the collection occurred unless release is specifically allowed as a condition of the permit. Release at any other site requires a transport, release, or planting permit. The conditions of the permit may specify that no release of certain specimens will be allowed.
(c) If the scientific collection allows retention of specimens, an interim, final, or annual collection report for the period documenting when the specimen was collected must be retained for the period of retention of the specimen.
(d) As a condition of receiving a scientific collection permit, the applicant agrees that fish and wildlife officers may, at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, inspect the specimens collected, as well as the permits, records and facilities of a permit holder.
(e) A scientific collection permit may be revoked for violating the conditions of the permit.
(8) Appeal procedure: A person who is denied a scientific collection permit, who disputes the conditions of a permit, or who has a permit revoked may appeal the department action. Appeals must be filed in writing, and delivered to Legal Services, Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. Specific grounds for contesting the revocation, denial, or permit conditions must be stated in the appeal. An appeal will be held under the provisions of chapter 34.05 RCW, the Administrative Procedure Act.

Washington State endangered species law

Statute: Revised Code of Washington. Title 77. Fish and Wildlife.

Section 77.12.020. Wildlife to be classified.

(6) If the director determines that a species of wildlife is seriously threatened with extinction in the state of Washington, the director may request its designation as an endangered species. The commission may designate an endangered species.
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)
Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus)
Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda)
Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata)
Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina)
Streaked Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata)
Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus
Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)