Oregon hunters are facing the first mandatory reporting deadline of the year. By Sunday, all of last year's big-game tag-holders must report their success, or lack of, in 2015.
The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday for those who purchased deer, elk, pronghorn, cougar, bear and turkey tags for hunts that ended in 2015, and many of those who don't report will face future $25 fines, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Holders of 2015 tags for seasons that slop into 2016 have an April 15 deadline to report.
So far, 75 percent of deer-tag buyers and 77 percent of elk-tag buyers had reported by midday Tuesday, putting them on pace to equal last year's reporting rates of 80 percent to 85 percent for the various tags, ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy says.
"I think that's pretty good that we have that many with a few days to go," Dennehy says.
The good turnout comes in part because the agency has sent postcards and even emails to hunters who had not reported as of Jan. 1, Dennehy says. ODFW also has used social media to get the word out about the looming deadline, she says.
"We are doing everything we can to get the word out," Dennehy says. "We want them to report. We don't want them to pay the fine."
Deer and elk hunters who don’t report their 2015 tags on time will need to pay a $25 penalty before they can purchase a 2017 hunting license. The one-year lag is because 2016 hunting licenses have been available since Dec. 1, and hunters who didn't plan on reporting could have bought licenses before the reporting deadline.
Report online at www.reportmyhunt.com or call 1-866-947-6339 to report by phone. Hunters need to have their hunter/angler identification number, which is printed on all licenses and documents and stays the same year-to-year.
Hunters must report on every one of the mandatory-reporting tags, even if they didn't hunt or weren't successful. That includes everyone who bought a SportsPac license packet for 2015.
Every hunter who reports on time is entered to win one of three special tags the agency gives away every year. Winners can hunt anywhere in Oregon for an extended season.
The Oregon Legislature enacted the $25 fine as a way to help ODFW biologists collect the data they need from hunters, according to the agency. Reporting had been mandatory for several years, but without the penalties hunters were lackadaisical about complying.
ODFW has heavily promoted the mandatory-reporting program to keep hunters from having to pay the penalty. Even so, more than 33,000 hunters failed to report their data during the initial fine-year of 2012, so they had to pay up before buying a 2014 hunting license.
It's a one-shot fine per year of nonreporting, regardless of how many hunts the hunter did not report.