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Hunters encouraged to apply early for controlled hunts: Skip the line, apply online before May 15 deadline

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

SALEM, Ore.—Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for controlled hunts this year, ODFW advises.

There is always a rush the last few days before the May 15 deadline—last year, 83,630 of 471,262 total applications were submitted on the last day. ODFW expects even higher call volumes and traffic this year on the last few days before the deadline, as customers get accustomed to the agency’s new electronic licensing system.

You can skip the line and apply online on the new system at (click Buy License button). Anyone who has applied for controlled hunts in the past and has preference points needs to use the “Verify/Look Up your Account” button (see screenshot) to retrieve and verify their account first if they haven’t already. (Hunters/anglers who have purchased an annual license in the past three years, or have Pioneer or Disability status, also need to Verify/Look up their account as they already have a profile in the new system.)

“It’s important to use Verify/Look Up Your Account, or you’ll end up creating a duplicate account and won’t see your preference points, a problem some customers have encountered,” said Linda Lytle, ODFW license services manager. “We have added additional warnings in the system which should keep hunters from accidentally creating a duplicate account.”

Complete the steps to verify your online account, including providing a current email address, and then it’s easy to apply for a controlled hunt. Go to Purchase from the Catalog / Big Game Hunting / Controlled Hunts to choose your hunt series and/or Premium Hunt. Then Proceed to Checkout to complete hunt selection. New this year, there are no longer limitations on party sizes for controlled hunts.

Be sure to double check your hunt numbers in the 2019 Big Game Regulations. Any changes to hunts or regulations are highlighted in yellow

There are a few other changes to 2019 Big Game Regulations hunters should be aware of posted at These include tag reductions for hunt 152B-Starkey deer, additional tags for several NE Oregon elk hunts, and an error in the regulations for the season date of hunt 256X (correct season dates for the Wenaha spike elk are Oct. 23-27).

Another benefit to accessing your online account is that you can change your hunt choices for free through your online account until June 1. Even customers who purchase at a license sale agent can set up their online account, again by using the Verify/Look up your Account feature and competing online account setup.

For more questions about the new electronic licensing system or if you have problems verifying your account, visit the ELS FAQ or contact ODFW by phone (503) 947-6101), email ( or social media (@MyODFW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Apply at a license sale agent
Hunters can also apply for controlled hunts at a license sales agent. Most agents who used the old system are continuing to sell licenses on the new system, but call ahead first if you don’t see your preferred vendor on this list

The vendor will ask hunters who haven’t verified their accounts on the new licensing system yet to provide some information such as their Hunter/Angler ID# (now known as ODFW ID#), or name and date of birth, to verify customers in the new system.

“Vendors can experience long lines the few days before the deadline, and some have even been known to turn away customers who come too late on May 15,” said Lytle. “Please consider applying early this year to avoid the last minute rush at license sale agents.”

“At a minimum, please verify your account online ASAP if you haven’t yet so it’s easy to apply online later in the spring,” she added.

As of April 12, about 45,000 customers of the 160,000 who applied for a controlled hunt last year still need to verify their account online or at a license sale agent.

Oregon has limited-entry aka controlled hunts for many big game species in parts of Oregon, including all pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat hunts, eastern Oregon rifle deer hunts, and many eastern Oregon rifle elk hunts. The state’s Premium Hunts—which offer a four-month season for antelope, deer or elk for the cost of a regular tag—also require application by May 15.


Jeremy Henderson of Springfield, Ore. with an elk taken in the Walla Walla unit on his 2018 Premium Hunt tag. ODFW advises hunters not to wait till the last minute to apply for controlled and Premium hunts this year. The deadline is May 15 but apply ASAP to avoid long lines at the last minute. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Henderson.
Katie Stover of Hillsboro, Ore., pictured with her dad Larry, took this deer on her 2018 Snake River Premium Deer tag. Applications for controlled and Premium hunts are due May 15, but ODFW advises hunters to apply early and avoid the last-minute rush. Photo courtesy of the Stover family.


Rick Boatner, 503-947-6308
Meghan Dugan, 541-464-2179

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