Well, you're in luck if you're tired of just being a master baiter.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will accept applications for its Master Hunter Permit Program through February 15.

According to WDFW, the program is designed to promote safe, lawful and ethical hunting, and to strengthen Washington's hunting heritage and conservation ethic.

If you're curious just what exactly a master hunter does in the state program, WDFW enlists master hunters for controlled hunts to remove wildlife that damage property. Master hunters also participate in volunteer projects involving access to private lands, habitat enhancement, data collection, hunter education, and landowner relations.

"To qualify for the program, applicants must demonstrate a high level of skill and be committed to lawful and ethical hunting practices," said David Whipple, WDFW hunter education division manager.

Hunters enrolling in the program must pay a $50 application fee, pass a criminal background check, pass a written test, demonstrate shooting proficiency, provide at least 20 hours of approved volunteer service and meet other qualifications described on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/masterhunter/

Whipple encourages individuals who enroll in the program to prepare thoroughly for the written test, because applicants are allowed only one chance to re-take the exam.

There are approximately 1,650 certified master hunters currently enrolled in the program, which is administered by WDFW's Wildlife Program.

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