Controlled hunt applications are still due May 15, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recognizes some hunters may be concerned about applying due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While ODFW does not anticipate COVID-19 related impacts to fall big game hunting seasons, the agency already has a process to restore preference points if hunters cannot go hunting.
ODFW will reinstate preference points when a significant portion of a hunt area is closed for a large part of the season, which has happened due to wildfire in the past. Points can also be reinstated when someone cannot go on their hunt due to a serious illness or injury. License and application fees are not refunded as hunters keep their points, get one additional point for the current year and may use their license later in the year.
Hunters who are considering just getting a preference point this year can wait to make that decision. Preference points can be purchased from July 1 until Nov. 30 for any hunter who chooses not to apply for a controlled hunt by May 15.
Nonresidents may also apply for fall controlled hunts. Oregon announced the state will reopen for nonresident hunting and fishing, though clamming and crabbing remain closed to nonresidents for now. Applications for fall controlled hunts had always remained open to nonresidents and the policy for reinstatement of preference points also applies to nonresidents.
Hunters under age 17 who still need a hunter education certificate to hunt are encouraged to go ahead and apply for a fall hunt. ODFW is planning to offer as many classes and field days around the state as possible once restrictions ease. Remember most of the class can be taken online. ODFW is also working on other options to ensure youth can hunt this fall, such as temporarily waiving the field day requirement for youth who are unable to complete it before fall hunting seasons.
Other important reminders for the 2020 controlled hunt draw:
There were major changes to some hunts this year as part of efforts to simplify and improve the regulations. Carefully check hunt numbers before applying as they may have changed. See regulations online at eregulations.com/oregon/big-game-hunting.
Deer and elk tags for a few hunts have been reduced from what is printed in the regulations. See details at myodfw.com/articles/deer-elk-tag-reductions-2020.
People can change their application, free of charge, online through June 1. Details are available at myodfw.com/articles/how-apply-controlled-hunt#ChangeChoices.