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Saturday, May 15 is deadline to apply for a controlled or premium hunt
Don’t wait until the last minute as ODFW customer service staff are unavailable on weekends

American Robin
Bryce Purtzer from Canby with his pronghorn antelope.

April 30, 2021

SALEM, Ore.—Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for a controlled or premium hunt as the May 15 deadline falls on a Saturday this year. 

The online licensing system will process applications until 11:59 p.m. on May 15, and license vendors will also be selling applications. But ODFW licensing staff will not be available to help hunters who wait until Saturday and encounter problems accessing their account.

“We are urging hunters to not wait until the last minute this year,” said Michael Hawkins, ODFW Licensing Services Manager. “The majority of applications come in during the last few days before the deadline and our hold and email response times peak. But because the deadline falls on a weekend, ODFW customer service staff will not be able to help you if you wait until Saturday to apply.” 

It’s easy to apply online at (click the green Buy a License button at top right corner). If you don’t already have an account but have preference points (or a Pioneer License, NW Goose permit or any other special certification), use the Verify/ Look Up feature to find your account. Remember to use an email you can actually access in case you need it to reset your password later.

After you login, go to Purchase from the Catalog/ Big Game Hunting to find the application for each series. You will be prompted to complete your hunt application and select your hunt choices (or get a Point Saver) in the checkout process. An annual hunting license is required to apply and can be purchased at the same time as controlled hunt applications.

Directions on how to apply online are here and more tips on using ODFW’s electronic licensing system are here

If you have problems with your online account, call Licensing at (503) 947-6101 or email

You can also apply at a license sale agent (find list at Remember to check store hours and don’t wait until the last minute as their lines can be long on deadline day.

As of today, 152,133 controlled hunt applications have been sold which is a 27 percent increase over the same date last year. Last year (2020), a total of 488,291 controlled hunt applications were sold, compared to 473,994 in 2019 (a 3 percent increase).

Hunting, fishing, and wildlife parking area sales increased last year when activities moved outdoors due to the pandemic. Angling license sales increased by 18 percent and hunting by 6 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. More sales occurred online via the new electronic licensing system too, with more than 53 percent of gross revenues coming from internet sales, up from 39 percent in 2019.

Big game hunting regulation changes for 2021:
A reminder on what’s changed for big game hunting in 2021 (see regulations here )

  • All archery deer hunting in eastern Oregon is by controlled hunt.
  • Eastern Oregon controlled archery deer tags are not valid in the western Oregon general archery season.
  • West Cascade Elk general season has been moved to the second week of November.
  • One continuous season for General Any Legal Weapon Western Oregon buck deer tag in the Coast and Cascade units.
  • Bag limit for the Desolation Unit during the general archery elk season is now one bull elk.
  • New California bighorn sheep ewe hunts in each of the John Day River and Deschutes River hunt areas. (Ewe hunts are not once-in-a-lifetime hunts, so you can still draw a ram hunt after drawing the ewe hunt. Sheep hunts are not based on preference points so you won’t lose points by drawing the ewe hunt.)
  • Other new hunts, hunt name changes, and a few hunt number changes are highlighted in the regulations including a NEW Santiam Unit Late Traditional Bow controlled hunt.  
  • Reminder that Starkey Experimental Forest elk tags have been reduced from what is printed in the regulations.

Don’t forget about Premium Hunts
Finally, don’t forget 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.

Like all limited-entry controlled hunts, applications are $8, and due on May 15. Premium Hunt tags also cost the same as other big game tags.

But the draw for Premium Hunts is not based on preference points, so everyone has an equal chance to draw each year. And unlike “once-in-a-lifetime” bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat tags, Premium Hunts can be drawn again and again.

Premium Hunts are also considered additional tags—meaning winners can still hunt on their regular controlled or general season big game tag.

Both residents and non-residents can apply and both have an equal chance to draw.

Bryce Purtzer from Canby won last year’s Premium Antelope hunt for the Interstate Unit and took an antelope with a Gross Score of 83 2/8” and Final Net Score of 80 2/8” B&C (see photo).


Contact: ODFW Licensing, (503) 947-6101,
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