PORTLAND - Oregon's anglers and hunters were able to think about 2003 on Sunday, Dec. 1, when agents throughout the state began selling next year's hunting and fishing licenses.

Prices for 2003 are the same as the past two years, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. However, sportsmen and women will notice two changes for 2003 that are the result of requests from hunters and anglers.

First, hatchery harvest tags may be purchased at any license agent through the point-of-sale licensing system. In the past, these tags were sold separately from the computerized system and many agents chose not to sell them. The hatchery harvest tag allows the harvest of 10 adipose fin-clipped hatchery salmon or steelhead. Anglers must hold a fishing or combination license and a combined angling tag to purchase the hatchery harvest tag. The price is $12 for both residents and non-residents.

Second, hunters and anglers who purchase a SportsPac may choose to hunt either the controlled spring bear season or the fall general bear season. In previous years, SportsPac holders did not have the option of obtaining a spring bear controlled hunt tag with their SportsPac. The SportsPac, which costs $105 for Oregon residents, provides the holder with a combination hunting and angling license and tags to hunt bear, cougar, elk, deer, upland birds, waterfowl and spring turkey, and to fish for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and halibut.

Also on Dec. 1, hunters were able to begin purchasing chances to win a deer or elk tag for a long hunting season over multiple hunting units. Tickets for the Access and Habitat Deer and Elk Raffle Hunts went on sale Sunday at license agents and ODFW offices. The following raffle hunts are offered: statewide deer, statewide combination deer and elk, northeast Oregon deer, southeast Oregon deer, central Oregon deer, northeast Oregon elk, high desert elk, western Oregon elk and statewide elk. Winners have from Sept. 1-Nov. 30, 2003, to fill a tag.

Revenue raised through the sale of the Access and Habitat raffle tags is distributed as grants to individuals or organizations that complete projects to improve hunting access or wildlife habitat.

Hunters and anglers are reminded to bring a copy of their 2002 license with them to buy their new license and tags. While not required, this simple step speeds service at agent counters because all the information necessary to issue a new license is located on the old license. ODFW also reminds Oregon resident license buyers to bring a picture identification with them prove residency.

The 2003 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations should arrive at license agents this week, while the 2003 Oregon Big Game Regulations are expected to arrive Dec. 16, 2002. For more information, see the ODFW Web site, www.dfw.state.or.us.

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