Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Washington [Know The Rules]

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Dealing with pigeon infestation in your home can be a nightmare. You are probably looking for all the methods to eliminate their existence from your surroundings. It must have crossed your mind to kill these annoying pests. But many states protect wildlife. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Washington?  

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Washington. The state authorities allow the removal of pigeons from private property by trapping or killing them. Wildlife authorities organize three hunting seasons yearly for hunters to enjoy the sport. It also keeps the pigeon population under control.  

However, you cannot hurt Migratory pigeons unless it is the hunting season. Continue reading the article to find more details on hunting pigeons in Washington.  

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Washington?

It is illegal to hunt band-tailed pigeons and Mourning doves off-season or without a permit. The hunting season for Band-tailed pigeons begins on the 15th of September and ends on the 23rd.

On the other hand, the hunting of Mourning doves hunting season typically starts on the 1st of September and ends on the 30th of October. Apart from these two pigeon species, you can hunt the other pigeon species in Washington all year.  

The Washington wildlife authorities allow hunting pigeons, but it does not allow hunting pigeons specifically for eating purposes. Eating pigeons is not illegal in Washington but harming pigeons for no valid reason is a crime. Although, pigeons were brought to the USA as food. However, with time many avoid eating pigeon meat due to the infectious organisms it carries.  

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Washington?

It is illegal to hunt and eat Mourning doves, Band-tailed pigeons in Washington as both of these species belong to Migratory birds. According to the Migratory bird act 1918, it is not legal to harm, trap and kill any pigeon, which is part of the treaty.  

Therefore, the state limits the hunting of Migratory pigeons to a few days and a maximum of a month. It is to keep their population in control and for hunters to enjoy shooting the Migratory pigeons.

However, under no circumstances the state allows to harm any pigeons without a valid reason. Hunting pigeons specifically for food is illegal, but it is not forbidden to eat pigeon meat. In fact, pigeon meat is available in a few restaurants and superstores in the state.

Can I Hunt On My Own Property In Washington?

Yes. You can hunt on your own property in Washington. It might be a challenge for hunters to find a suitable location within the state to hunt as most of the lands are private. Therefore, wildlife authorities allow hunting on their property.

Washington wildlife department has four different hunting agreements for landowners: Feel free to Hunt, Hunt by Reservation, Register to hunt, and Hunt by writing a Permission letter.  

Agricultural land owners and farmers living far from the residential areas with no life within 60 acres can hunt pigeons on their own property without a license. Such hunters do not need any additional documents except for the firearm license. Private land in which wildlife authorities demand hunters to register is on a first-come, first-served basis.

These properties are private, and wildlife authorities have an agreement with the landowner. Lastly, to hunt on private land, hunters will need to contact landowners. It requires hunters to write an application before hunting on their land.

The wildlife authorities provide all the necessary data, like forums and permits for hunters and landowners. Hunters must carry their permission letters with them while hunting on private property.  

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Washington State

Shooting pigeons is legal in Washington. But there are laws to maintain this practice to keep wildlife and humans safe. Some of these laws are similar in all United States but differ in conditions, like hunting age. Following are some shooting and hunting laws in Washington that you must follow on the field.  

Hunting License  

Hunters must possess hunting licenses and necessary permits at the time of hunting. There is no minimum age limit for hunting. Young people under 16 are recognized as minor hunters and must carry their Minor hunting license on the field. You can purchase a hunting license online or via dealer by calling on the number given on the official Washington wildlife department website.

Hunting Education Program

The hunting education program is mandatory for every hunter in Washington. It is essential to grasp all the knowledge and learn techniques before stepping out on the field. The hunting certificate is valid for an entire lifetime. Anyone can enroll in the program by filling out the forum on the Washington wildlife website.

Hunting Ethics  

Hunters cannot shoot pigeons recklessly and carelessly, risking the life of humans, pets, wildlife, and livestock. During shooting, a person must not damage public property, including homes and sign boards.  

Hunting Hours

Legal pigeon hunting time begins a half hour before sunrise and ends a half hour after sunset. Typically from 6:00 am to 5:45 pm.

Hunting Weapons  

All hunters must carry legal weapons while shooting pigeons. The wildlife authorities do not allow the use of BB guns or pellet guns. It is necessary to have a weapon certificate along with a hunting license and permit.

If anyone fails to prove the license authenticity to the wildlife officer will be removed from the field immediately. This irresponsibility can cause a lawsuit against the hunter.  

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Washington State?

The Washington wildlife department promotes legal, ethical, and safe hunting. All hunters, residents or nonresidents, must complete a hunting course and carry their hunting license while shooting pigeons.

The Washington state authorities expect hunters to follow the state guidelines to promote safe hunting. Below are some pointers to assist you in hunting pigeons in Washington state.  

  • Carry all the necessary documents, like hunting licenses, permits, hunting program certificates, and weapon licenses, along with you on the site.  
  • Hunt only during legal hunting hours and in the designated areas.  
  • It is essential to take permission from the owners to hunt on private property.  
  • Never drink before hunting. Nor ethical to drink while shooting. Remember, firearm and drinking do not go together.  
  • You cannot use any decoys or food to attract pigeons. Use binoculars to identify your target. Do not try to aim beyond 40 yards.  
  • Collect all harvest pigeons after hunting. Never flaunt the harvest to other people.  
  • After harvesting, you must submit the count to the local wildlife authorities by filling out a forum online.  


It is legal to kill pigeons in Washington. The most common and easiest way for pigeon removal is shooting. The state wildlife authorities provide a set of laws and guidelines for pigeon shooting and hunting on public and private lands.

Removal of nuisance pigeons is legal without a license on private property as long as it is far from the residential areas. To hunt pigeons, hunters must carry all the essential documents, like hunting licenses, permits, and firearm licenses. All hunters must abide by the laws to ensure safe hunting with no damage to the government and public property.