SALEM, Ore. — ODFW is launching a new pilot application process for its popular Hunt by Reservation Program which allows hunters to reserve hunts on private land for turkey and other game birds on several properties.
Hunters now have a chance to apply for hunts in advance through ODFW’s Electronic Licensing System (ELS). Hunters can submit applications online by logging into ELS and selecting a “Reservation Hunt Application” from the “Controlled Hunts” section or by applying at a license sales agent.
The process will be somewhat different than typical controlled hunts since hunters who draw a permit will be notified by email, not within their ELS account. See the Hunt by Reservation homepage for more info and detailed instructions on how to apply in ELS: https://myodfw.com/articles/hunt-reservation-program.
Each hunter will get two choices for each of four hunt periods (October, November, December, January). Be sure to apply for October hunts by the deadline which is Sunday, Oct. 2 at 11:59 p.m. Any hunts not taken in the drawing will be available as in years past on a first-come, first-served basis at the Hunt by Reservation website.
“Users of our previous first-come, first-served website experienced traffic slowdowns. Only some hunters could stay up late to snag a reservation as they came online,” explained Brandon Dyches, ODFW Hunt by Reservation Program Coordinator. “Not only is the new process simpler, but it allows everyone a fair chance at drawing a hunt, not just those who can be online at the right time.”
More about the Hunt by Reservation Program
There is no cost to reserve a hunt, but hunters must purchase a 2022 hunting license and turkey tag, upland validation and any other necessary permits prior to their hunt and follow all hunting regulations and program rules. Up to three hunters can hunt per reservation (individual hunters can reserve a hunt and then assign up to two additional hunters to their reservation).
The Western Oregon fall turkey season begins Oct. 8 and runs until Jan. 31, 2023. Turkeys are abundant in both the Willamette Valley and Roseburg area but are often found on private land where hunting access is not allowed. Hunt by Reservation also offers some hunting for upland birds in eastern Oregon and plans to add goose hunting later this fall.
The Hunt by Reservation Program first launched in 2019 as an effort to connect landowners with hunters. The program is a partnership between ODFW, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever and benefits both hunters and landowners by providing quality hunting opportunities on private land with ODFW coordinating hunt logistics and managing for healthy wildlife populations in their area.
Dyches stressed that hunters who participate must follow all hunting regulations and hunt responsibly. “This program is succeeding because hunters and landowners are working together with trust and respect,” he said. “If a landowner reports any hunter misbehavior such as showing disrespect, unsafe shots, property damage, breaking program rules or wildlife laws, we exclude that hunter and the rest of their party from the program. Our landowners willing to participate are a precious resource. We take good care of them.”