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Hunting Bear FAQs

Mandatory Check-in of Harvested Bears Frequently Asked Questions

Black Bear
Black Bear
Oregon Fish and Wildlife

All successful bear hunters are required by hunting regulations to check in their bear’s skull at one of the ODFW offices listed below within 10 days of harvest. (Call first to make an appointment or be sure someone is available to help you.)

What happens at check-in?

A biologist will pull a premolar tooth and take some measurements. This process will not affect taxidermy plans. The bear skull must be thawed prior to bringing it in to enable biologists to take measurements and pull the premolar tooth. If you can, prop the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest, which makes tooth collection and measuring easier.

The hunter will need to provide name and address, harvest date, wildlife management unit and sub-drainage where bear was harvested and the sex of harvested bear.

Why does ODFW need a bear tooth?

The teeth are a critical part of the method used to determine bear populations since the department began using tetracycline marking statewide in 2006. It works like this: Tetracycline-laced baits are placed in the wild for bears to eat. (Tetracycline is an antibiotic that leaves a permanent stain on teeth that is visible under UV light.) Population estimates are calculated from the ratio of marked to unmarked teeth obtained from harvested bears. For the method to be accurate, hunter return rates must be high. The better the hunter check-in rates, the more accurate the bear population information will be.

An accurate estimate of the black bear population is needed to set hunting seasons, monitor population trends, recommend habitat changes to land management agencies, and evaluate how black bears impact other wildlife and humans. The check-in of non-hunting mortalities (e.g. bears killed by vehicles or taken on landowner damage complaints) is also required.

Why can’t this be voluntary?

When checking in bears was voluntary (prior to 2008), less than 30 percent of hunters participated—a level below the one identified as necessary in the state’s 1993 Black Bear Management Plan.

Do other Western states have mandatory bear harvest check-in?

Yes. Oregon was the last Western state to implement mandatory check-in. It already had mandatory cougar check-in and the process for bears is similar.

Is the mandatory check-in for harvested bears a statewide program?

Yes. No matter where in Oregon you harvest a black bear, you must check it in.

What happens if I don’t check in my bear?

Hunters that don’t check-in their bears may be cited by Oregon State Police for a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail, a $6,250 fine and suspension of hunting privileges.

Where do I check-in my bear and what kind of samples will be taken?

Bear skulls should be taken to one of the ODFW offices listed below during normal business hours Monday – Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Please call first to ensure a biologist is available.

Are other parts of the bear needed?

Yes. ODFW also needs the reproductive tracts from any female bears harvested, which helps us estimate the reproduction rate and frequency in Oregon bears. The tracts are easy to collect when field dressing your bear. Here’s how to do it:

1. Label a plastic bag with: Date of Kill, Unit Number and Name, County, and Your Name and Address. Ziplock type kitchen or freezer bags work very well for this purpose.

2. Locate the “Y” shaped reproductive tract beneath and slightly ahead of the pelvis or hip bones. It usually is necessary to move some of the intestines and other organs aside to locate the entire tract, including both ovaries and the uterus.

3. Cut the uterus immediately forward of the bladder. Use caution when handling the bladder and cutting the reproductive tract from the body cavity to insure the meat is not contaminated with urine from the bladder.

4. Place the entire reproductive tract in the labeled plastic bag and seal. Tie the labeled tooth envelope to the outside of the bag containing the reproductive tract.

5. Preserve specimens by freezing as soon as possible and submit to any ODFW district office or check station in SW Oregon.

Bear Repro

Offices for bear check-in

Northwest Region

North Willamette Watershed District Office
17330 SE Evelyn Street
Tel: 971-673-6000

South Willamette Watershed District Office
7118 NE Vandenberg Ave
Tel: 541-757- 4186

North Coast Watershed District Office
4907 Third Street
Tel: 503-842-2741

Springfield3150 E Main Street
Tel: 541-726-3515

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area
North Willamette Watershed Wildlife District
18330 NW Sauvie Island Rd
Tel: 503-621-3488

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area
79878 Hwy 202
Seaside, OR 97138
Tel: 503-755-2264 Fax: 503-755-0706

Big Creek Hatchery
Rt. 4 Box 594
Astoria, OR 97103
Tel: 503-458-6512 Fax: 503-458-6529

Cedar Creek Hatchery
33465 Highway 22
Hebo, OR 97122
Tel: 503-392-3485 Fax: 503-392-4990

North Nehalem River Hatchery
36751 Fish Hatchery Lane
Nehalem, OR 97131
Tel: 503-368-6828 fax: 503-368-5348

Southwest Region

Umpqua Watershed District Office
4192 N. Umpqua Hwy
Tel: 541-440-3353

Rogue Watershed District Office
1495 E. Gregory Road
Central Point, OR 97502
Tel: 541-826-8774

Charleston Field Office
63538 Boat Basin Blvd.
Tel: 541-888-5515

Gold Beach Field Office
29907 Airport Way
Gold Beach
Tel: 541-247-7605


Northeast Region

Grande Ronde Watershed District Office
107 20th Street
Tel: 541-963-2138

John Day Watershed District Office
73471 Mytinger Lane
Tel: 541-276-2344

Baker City Field Office
2995 Hughes Lane
Baker City
Tel: 541-523-5832

Enterprise Field Office
65495 Alder Slope Road
Tel: 541-426-3279

Heppner Field Office
54173 Hwy 74
Tel: 541-676-5230

John Day Field Office
305 North Canyon Blvd
Canyon City
Tel: 541-575-1167

High Desert Region (Central and Southeast)

Deschutes Watershed District Office
61374 Parrell Road
Tel: 541-388-6363

Klamath Watershed District Office
1850 Miller Island Road
Klamath Falls
Tel: 541-883-5732

Malheur Watershed District Office
237 Highway 20 South
Tel: 541-573-6582

Lakeview Field Office
18560 Roberta Rd.
Tel: 541-947-2950

Ontario Field Office
3814 Clark Blvd.
Tel: 541-889-6975

Prineville Field Office
2042 SE Paulina Hwy
Tel: 541-447-5111

The Dalles Field Office
3701 W 13th Street
The Dalles
Tel: 541-296-4628


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