Feb. 1 is deadline for Rogue permit lottery

River-runners have until Feb. 1 to apply for the annual lottery that metes out coveted permits to float the Rogue River's Wild and Scenic Section, and this is the 50th anniversary of its federal designation as a Wild and Scenic River.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which co-manage the reach between Grave Creek and Foster Bar, could be in for heavy action on its permit lottery after the New York Times recently named it one of "52 places to go in 2018."

The agencies use a lottery system to allocate rafting party launch days between May 15 and Oct. 15, when the number of commercial and noncommercial launches are capped and the competition for key summer days and weekends can be keen.

Off-season floaters still need a permit, which can be obtained at the Smullin Visitor Center at Rand near Galice along Merlin-Galice Road.

Groups are limited to 20 people during the regulated period, and permit confirmation and payments are due at least 10 days prior to launch. While the permit is for the day of launch, parties can be in the regulated stretch for up to seven days.

Applications will be accepted through midnight Feb. 1, and results will be available by Feb. 10.

To learn more details and for applications, see www.recreation.gov, then click on "Enter a Lottery" and scroll down to the Rogue River.

For those who don't apply in time, a calendar of days not fully allocated through the lottery will be available after the drawing.

Mandatory hunter-reporting deadline looms

Most Oregon big-game hunters have until Jan. 31 to report the results of their 2017 hunts or face a $25 fine the next time they buy a hunting or angling license.

The mandatory reporting program is designed to give Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists the most accurate data possible to plug into computer models used to set big-game seasons and harvest limits.

Hunters who bought deer, elk, bear, pronghorn and turkey tags in 2017 are required to report, even if they didn't go hunting. For hunts in January through March of 2018, the reporting deadline is April 15.

When reporting, hunters must provide their Hunter/Angler ID number, which is found on licenses and tags, the two-digit code for the Wildlife Management Unit they hunted the most, and the WMU code for the location where they killed an animal during a hunt. Also, hunters will need to provide the number of days they hunted in those WMUs.

As of Jan. 10, 56 percent of those with buck deer tags and 57 percent of those with elk tags had fulfilled the reporting requirements, according to ODFW.

When the program was voluntary, hunters reported about 40 percent of the time. Since the Oregon Legislature approved penalties that went into effect in 2012, reporting rates routinely have eclipsed 80 percent, agency statistics show.

The program also includes an incentive. Three people who report will win either a deer, elk or pronghorn tag. Those who win those tags also earn extended seasons similar to auction and raffle-tag owners.

To report online, see https://myodfw.com/ or call 1-888-947-6339.

— Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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