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CORRECTION MARCH 27: As of today, Siuslaw NF is still allowing legal hunting and fishing with the appropriate licensed despite closure to some other recreational access. Please check with the land manager for the latest access information as situation is changing rapidly.

Spring bear tag sale deadline extended until Friday, May 1
Hunters will have more time to decide to hunt or choose other options

March 26, 2020

SALEM, Ore.— Hunters who drew a spring bear tag have extra time to decide if they will hunt this year. ODFW is extending the tag sale deadline until Friday, May 1 so hunters have more time to consider their options, especially hunters who would have to travel to hunt as travel is limited to essential needs at this time.

The season opens on April 1 and as always, hunters must purchase their tag before they go hunting. The tag sale deadline is usually the day before the season begins but ODFW is making an exception due to COVID-19.

ODFW has not closed fishing or hunting seasons due to COVID-19 (with the exception of Columbia River salmon and steelhead fishing due to Washington’s closure). No hunting seasons have been cancelled. However, some areas where people fish are currently closed to access, though most areas that allow hunting are still open.

CHECK ACCESS BEFORE YOU GO
Hunters must check with the land manager where they are headed to find out the latest access information and be aware the situation may change rapidly. ;Currently, most national forestlands, BLM lands, and Oregon Department of Forestry lands remain open to access and some to dispersed camping but that situation may change rapidly. Land manager offices are closed to walk-in services, visitor centers and established campgrounds are typically closed and restrooms may not be maintained.

While Siuslaw National Forest recently announced closure to all recreational access through May 8, legal hunting and fishing with the appropriate license is permitted as of March 27.

ODFW wildlife areas that are open this time of year will be open 4 a.m.-10 p.m. but no camping is allowed.

REFUND OPTIONS
Spring bear hunters who choose not to go hunting due to COVID-19 restrictions have some options for their controlled hunt tag including reinstatement of preference points and a refund of the cost of their tag if they already purchased it. SportsPac holders will be able to trade out their spring bear tag for a fall bear tag. Contact Licensing to discuss one of these options, odfw.websales@state.or.us or (503) 947-6101.

Requests for a refund and reinstatement of preference points must be made by May 1. For hunters who request this option after April 1, you are required to acknowledge that you have not gone bear hunting at all during the 2020 spring bear season. Hunters who request this option get their point back and another point for 2020 (as if they purchased a point saver).

“We know spring bear hunters are wondering what to do and we want to give them some options,” says Doug Cottam, Wildlife Division Manager. “While the season opens April 1, most hunting occurs in May, so it’s OK to wait to make a decision, particularly for hunters who must travel a longer distance to go hunting as travel should be minimized to essential travel for food, healthcare and other needs at this time.

Of course we will continuously evaluate this situation, and may make further changes depending on the situation at the end of April,” said Doug Cottam.

STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES
While no hunting seasons have closed, Governor Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives Executive Order requires that everyone including hunters:

  • Practice social distancing and stay six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your immediate household, including when outdoors.
  • Stick closer to home rather than travelling far. The Governor’s Executive Order says hiking and outdoor activities are OK, but to limit travel.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Hunters who choose to go hunting should be prepared and carry their supplies with them to limit travel to businesses that remain open for essential needs. Buy your tag online and pack all needed supplies with you including hand-washer, hand sanitizer, food, water, etc. before you go hunting. Also remember that search and rescue operations will be more limited so take every precaution to stay safe.

Bear hunters are reminded that check-in requirements have been waived due to COVID-19. Successful hunters should call the office in the district where they harvested their bear and report their name, ODFW ID number, date of harvest, location of harvest (wildlife management unit), sex of animal and confirmation number for electronic tags. Or, they can email all the above information to ODFW.WildlifeInfo@state.or.us

Spring bear hunting in Oregon is limited entry with much lower participation than fall big game hunts. About 8,500 tags are available statewide for the two-month season (April 1-May 31).

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy, (503) 947-6022, Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us

 
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