ODFW Addresses Hunt Application Deadline, Concerns

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will not be extending the May 15 deadline for controlled hunt applications, but they do recognize concerns about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic may have on what hunters are able to do. ODFW does not think the pandemic will cause a delayed or shortened Fall hunting season, but recognizes that some hunters may be concerned about not being able to hunt, and about losing their preference points. 

Preference points are restored for hunters as a group when a large hunting area is closed, due to a fire or other issue, and an individual hunter’s points may be reinstated if illness or injury prevents them from hunting. These precedents don’t apply perfectly to the case of the pandemic, but ODFW insists they will create policies which will handle things fairly, and they encourage anyone who plans to hunt in the Fall to put in their applications before the deadline. 

License and application fees will not be refunded. Hunters will keep their points, will get one additional point for 2020, and may use their license later in the year. Hunters who want to buy just a preference point for 2020 can do so from July 1 through November 30. 

People who are not Oregon residents are eligible to hunt and fish as of May 5, and may apply for fall hunting permits. 

ODFW would prefer hunters buy their licenses online. If you have preference points but have never opened your online account at ODFW before, you can find it with the Verify/Look Up function, which can also be used to find your account if you’ve bought an annual license since 2016 or have special certifications such as a NW Goose permit or Pioneer License.   

There is another online resource if you’re not comfortable with the system. I 

While ODFW offices are closed for the duration of the emergency, you can still contact the Licensing division for help by e-mail at odfw.websales@state.or.us, and by phone at (503) 947-6101. 

The Department strongly urges hunters to apply online: while many license vendors are open because they are considered essential services, they may be short-staffed and, because of the essential services they are providing, very busy. 

Hunters under age 17 must have a hunter education certificate, which can’t be earned in full until activity restrictions are reduced, but much of the training needed can be taken online. If the lockdown continues much longer, ODFW may waive the field day requirement for youth who are unable to complete it before fall hunting begins, so the Department urges young first-time hunters to apply for a fall hunt. 

Anyone planning to apply can check the latest regulations online. Deer and elk hunters should check here. Applications can be changed, free of charge, as late as June 1, online. 

One more link to check concerns premium hunts. Every hunter applying has a chance to win one, enabling them to hunt during a four month season from August 1 to November 30, with any-sex bag limit, at the same cost as a regular tag. Preference points are not used to select these hunts. One hunter can be drawn premium hunts multiple times.  

John M. Burt