Hunters urged to apply early for controlled and premium hunts – Deadline is May 15

EASTERN OREGON — (Release from ODFW) Hunters should apply for their controlled and premium hunts as soon as possible and before the deadline of Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

An application is required for most deer and elk hunts in eastern Oregon and for all pronghorn, bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat hunts.

Many hunters wait until the last minute which increases the chance for problems that can ruin a hunting season. For example, hunters forget their password, get locked out of their account the evening of May 15 and aren’t able to apply before the deadline. 

As of Monday, April 29, about 131,986 applications for fall hunts have been sold, compared to 129,866 last year at the same time. ODFW anticipates receiving more than 500,000 controlled hunt applications,

The easiest way to apply is online at ODFW ‘s licensing system but applications are also sold at license sale agents during store hours.

Applications are $8 per hunt series (buck deer, antlerless deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat) and an annual hunting license is also required.

New this year, hunters will be able see their party’s total points after applying for a controlled hunt. A new feature in ODFW’s licensing system allows each party member to see other members’ points and the group total for the party’s application. That way, everyone in the party can have confidence in the odds of drawing a tag.

Other tips for applying:

  • Use group purchase. One person can apply for an entire hunting party and for their family and friends.
  • Double-check the Big Game Regulations before applying. Even if you’ve applied for the same hunt for years, check your hunt number and be sure the hunt hasn’t changed.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Calls and emails increase in the days before the deadline and response times increase.
  • Be sure to apply for a Premium Hunt—deer, elk and pronghorn antelope tags with a four-month season (Aug. 1-Nov. 30) and any-sex bag limit. Everyone has an equal chance to draw these tags (including non-residents) as no preference points are involved. Premium tags are additional meaning you can also hunt a controlled or general season.
  • Understand your odds: Remember 75 percent of tags are awarded based on preference points with the remaining 25 percent distributed randomly among first-choice applicants. Learn about how the draw works and see point summary reports to learn about your odds.

Hunters who have trouble accessing their account should contact Licensing at (503) 947-6101 or email Licensing staff get extremely busy in the days leading up to the deadline. Hunters who wait until the last minute will face longer response times and may not get help in time to complete their application.

Many of ODFW’s field offices also sell controlled hunt applications, but several offices in eastern Oregon are currently understaffed. It’s a good idea to call ahead to these and other field offices to confirm someone is available to help you or to make an appointment.