Any hunter who purchased 2016 big game or turkey tags needs to report their hunt results by the deadline, which is Jan. 31 for most tags, says the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Hunters are required to report on each deer, elk, cougar, bear, pronghorn and turkey tag purchased — even if they were not successful or did not hunt. Sports Pac license holders need to report on each big game or turkey tag issued.
Hunters have two ways to report:
• Online via www.odfw.com or reportmyhunt.com either at home or by visiting an ODFW office with a computer available for Hunter Reporting (ODFW field or regional offices in Adair Village/Corvallis, Bend, Clackamas, La Grande, Portland-Sauvie Island, Roseburg, Salem Headquarters, Springfield, Tillamook).
• By telephone: Call 1-866-947-6339 to talk to a customer service representative from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
Reporting deadlines are:
• Jan. 31 for all 2016 hunts that ended by Dec. 31, 2016
• April 15 for all 2016 hunts that end between Jan. 1- March 31, 2017
Hunters need the following pieces of information to report:
• Hunter/Angler ID number (located on ODFW licenses, tags and applications; this is a permanent number that stays the same from year to year).
• The two digit Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) number of the unit you hunted in most and the unit you harvested an animal in if successful.
• The total number of days hunted (including mentoring youth), the number of days hunted in the WMU hunted most, and the number of days hunted in the WMU you harvested an animal in if successful.
Hunters who fail to report 2016 deer or elk tags on time will be penalized $25 when they purchase a 2018 hunting license. This penalty is assessed once, regardless of the number of unreported tags.
As of Jan. 10, about 53 percent of elk tags and 51 percent of deer tags have been reported for hunts with a Jan. 31 reporting deadline. ODFW will be sending reminder postcards to hunters who haven’t reported yet.
“The information hunters provide is needed to evaluate hunting seasons and tag numbers,” said ODFW Game Program Manager Tom Thornton. “We really appreciate hunters taking a few minutes of their time to complete the report.”
ODFW used to get this data through phone surveys, but these became more difficult and expensive as hunters moved or screened their calls, the agency says. The mandatory reporting program was put in place in 2007 so these calls could be phased out.
A penalty of $25 was added four years ago, because even after several years promoting the program and providing incentives to report, only about 40 percent of tags were being reported on time, according to ODFW. This rate was too low for ODFW to use the data.
After the penalty was implemented for 2012 tags, rates jumped to 80 percent or more. This has allowed ODFW to phase out its big game survey phone calls.
The funds generated by penalty fees are being used to increase Oregon State Police patrol and enforcement of winter range closures in Oregon. These closures help deer, elk and other wildlife survive the winter by limiting disturbances from people.
Chance to win special big game tag
As an incentive to report on time, hunters who do so are entered into a drawing to win a special big game tag. ODFW selects three names each year and the winners can choose a deer, elk or pronghorn tag. Hunters who win may hunt an expanded hunt area and extended season, similar to auction and raffle tags that hunters can pay thousands of dollars for.
One of this year’s winners, Brent Quick, of Springfield, chose an elk tag and took a bull in Wenaha Unit. “It was one of my top five best days, to kill my first elk with good friends,” he said. “I now have 330 pounds of elk in my freezer to feed a family of five — pretty cool.”