Brenda Murphy

Brenda Murphy harvested her first elk in the Northside Unit this hunting season. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters to report on tags that ended in 2019 by Jan. 31.

Every hunter who purchased 2019 big game or turkey tags needs to report their hunt results by the deadline, which is Jan. 31 for most tags.

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 who fail to report deer and elk tags by the deadline will be penalized $25 when they go to purchase a 2021 hunting license. This penalty is assessed once, regardless of the number of unreported tags.

Hunters have a few ways to report:

• Online via ODFW’s Licensing System, the fastest and easiest way to report: Login to an account and go to “Outcome Reporting/Mandatory Reporting.” Then click to “License Year 2019” to report on tags. For difficulties, use the “Retrieve User Name/Password” feature or contact ODFW for account information. Visit the ELS FAQ page for directions on initially setting up an account.

• By telephone: Call 1-866-947-6339 to talk to an ODFW licensing customer service representative during normal business hours. ODFW’s Licensing Department now has a callback feature to provide better customer service. When there are longer hold times, any customer who calls in by 3:30 p.m. can just leave their number for a callback while keeping their place in line.

• At a license sale agent: New for 2020, hunters can now visit a vendor that sells licenses to complete their mandatory reporting.

Reporting deadlines are Jan. 31 for all 2019 hunts that ended by Dec. 31, 2019, or April 15 for all 2019 hunts that end between Jan. 1 and March 31.

“The information hunters provide is used when setting controlled hunt tag numbers and hunting seasons,” said ODFW Game Program Manager Tom Thornton. “We really appreciate hunters taking a few minutes of their time to complete the report, even if they did not hunt or were not successful.”

ODFW used to get this data through phone surveys, but these became more difficult and expensive as hunters moved or screened their calls. While reporting has been mandatory since 2007, reporting rates dramatically improved (from about 40% to 80% or more) when a $25 penalty for not reporting was added in 2012.

Information from the mandatory reports is compiled and made available to hunters at ODFW’s Big Game Hunting Harvest Statistics page, https://myodfw.com/articles/big-game-hunting-harvest-statistics.

As an incentive to report, hunters that report on time 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 get to hunt an expanded area and extended season, similar to auction and raffle tags that can go for thousands of dollars.

Last year, Ken Moyer of Bend took an elk in the Wenaha Unit after winning the incentive tag.

“This tag gave me the opportunity to hunt the areas of the state I had not hunted before. The road closure and wilderness area made for a great secluded hunt,” Moyer told ODFW after his hunt. “This definitely was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and should be an incentive for hunters to report on time.”

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