Successful black-tailed deer hunters in Western Oregon are once again asked to return a tooth from the deer they kill to help state wildlife biologists figure out how many blacktails are hiding in Western Oregon.
The tooth, and information hunters pass along with it, help provide data for a computer model being set up to determine population estimates for blacktails here.
The trouble is, hunters have lagged so poorly in providing data that the computer modeling to date won't generate the kind of information that biologists can believe.
Last year, hunters in all of Oregon's blacktail seasons killed 19,250 deer, but only 1,807 hunters bothered to turn in the requested tooth, says Michelle Dennehy, Wildlife Division spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
That's a return rate of about 9 percent, about one-tenth of what is needed for good confidence levels in the data.
The tooth is used to analyze the deer's age. Hunters provide information on the sex, species, date killed, Wildlife Management Unit or hunt. If possible, hunters also are asked to add a landmark or drainage to further pinpoint the dead deer's location at the time it was killed.
Postage-paid envelopes for the teeth are available at point-of-sale license outlets, and they include information on what tooth to remove and how best to do it.
Also, hunters can look for more detailed information about the process by checking ODFW's website at www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/.
Hunters without access to an ODFW envelope should mail the tooth and the information to ODFW, Wildlife Population Laboratory, 7118 NE Vandenberg Ave., Adair Village, OR 97330.
The traditional 11th-hour deadline next Friday night to buy a general season buck deer tag now comes with an asterisk.
Hunters who miss the tag-sale deadline for any reason still have a chance to buy their tags in mid-season, but it will cost them.
Hunters must pay an extra $17, which is the same cost of obtaining a duplicate tag, and sign an affidavit stating they have not hunted yet in that particular season or hunt. That is designed to weed out poachers who shoot deer and then attempt to mask their crime by buying a tag for the poached animal later that day.
These tags cannot be bought at point-of-sale license outlets, but only at selected Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife field offices during regular business hours — not weekends.
Tags will be available at the Central Point field office at the Denman Wildlife Area, 1495 E. Gregory Road, as well as offices in Bend, Roseburg, Charleston, Astoria, Bend, Clackamas, Corvallis, Hines, LaGrande, Newport, Sauvie Island, Springfield, Tillamook, Pendleton, Enterprise & John Day.