SALEM, Oregon — Fall may be months away but it’s time to start planning your big game hunt. Don’t forget to apply for a controlled hunt by Tuesday, May 15, at 11:59 p.m. PT.
Apply online, at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses. The cost is $8 per application and hunters need a 2018 annual hunting license to apply.
Many hunters wait till the last minute to apply, which can cause long lines at license sales stores and ODFW offices. Last year, more than half of the 459,958 applications were submitted in the last week before the deadline, including nearly 79,860 on deadline day.
“Get your application in early to avoid the long lines and if you do wait until the last minute, be sure to check store hours where you plan to apply,” recommends Linda Lytle, ODFW license sales manager. Remember you can submit an application online until 11:59 p.m. PT on May 15.
Lytle also urged hunters to avoid common mistakes on applications. “Double check your hunt number against the 2018 Oregon Big Game Regulations, and make sure your party leader number is correct,” she said. “And before you walk out of the store or ODFW office, check your application to be sure it’s correct.”
It’s also a good idea to check your preference points before applying. To do this, visit the My Hunter Information page at https://or.outdoorcentral.us/or/hunterreport and enter your Hunter/Angler ID# (printed on all documents and stays the same from year to year), plus your birth date and last name and click “My Hunter Information.”
Hunts and tag numbers are printed in the 2018 Oregon Big Game Regulations. Over-winter survival of big game was good this year due to the mild winter and most hunts are offering the same number of tags as last year. There is a drop in some deer tags where deer were hard-hit by the severe winter in 2016-17.
ODFW limits the number of tags for some hunts (all rifle deer and most rifle elk hunting in eastern Oregon, plus all pronghorn, Rocky Mtn. goat and bighorn sheep hunting) to fairly distribute tags and control hunting pressure. Hunters who apply for controlled deer, elk or pronghorn hunts and don’t draw their first choice receive a preference point for that hunt series, which increases their chances the following year.
While the most sought after hunts can take more than 10 years to draw, every hunter has a chance to draw each year. Only 75 percent of tags are awarded based on preference points; the remaining 25 percent are awarded randomly among first choice applicants. Find out more about how controlled hunts, including how to apply, point summary reports showing the number of hunters who applied last year, and harvest statistics for each hunt at https://myodfw.com/big-game-hunting.
2017 Premium Hunt Winners
ODFW will again offer “Premium Hunts” this year– special deer, elk and pronghorn tags with an August-November hunting season that includes both early and late season opportunity. The same number of tags are available this year—one Premium Deer tag in each of Oregon’s 67 wildlife management units, one Premium Elk tag in 64 units, and one Premium Pronghorn tag in 27 units (a few elk and pronghorn hunts include two wildlife management units.)
Unlike regular controlled hunts, Premium Hunts don’t use preference points, so every hunter who applies has the same chance ever year. Premium Hunts are also considered additional hunting opportunities, meaning hunters who draw one of these tags can still hunt on a regular controlled or general season big game tag. The bag limit is any-sex. The hunts are open to both resident and non-residents. Premium Hunt applications also cost $8 and tags are the same price as other deer, elk and pronghorn tags.
Among last year’s winters was Kimberly Kosydar of Siletz, Ore. who took a large bull elk in the Stott Mt Unit, describing it as “the best hunt that I have been on so far.” See more photos of the winners at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/premium_hunts/2017_winners.asp. Applications for Premium Hunts are also due May 15, 2018.