Hopefully you have something good to report, but even if you don't, reporting the results of your hunts from last year can prevent you from having to pay fines next year
If you purchased a hunting tag of any kind last year, you have to report the results of your hunts by January 31st of this year to avoid a $25 fine being tacked onto the purchase of your license the following year. The fine is paid once, regardless of the number of unreported tags.
My recent personal experiences have resulted in little more than tag soup. However, after learning a few things the hard way, there's a few pieces of advice I can offer to new hunters about reporting the results of their hunts.
If you purchased a SportsPac, you do not need to report on tags that were not issued. However, most licensing sellers around the state automatically issue a cougar tag as well as a spring turkey tag. Even if you did not ask for a tag or go hunting, you may want to thumb through your paperwork and see if you need to report on either of these. Although failing to report turkey and cougar tags will not result in a penalty, it is still a mandatory requirement. Failure to report the results of those hunts may result in fines for those tags in the future.
Reporting on the ODFW website is much more efficient and less time consuming than waiting on hold, especially when it gets down to the wire and the offices are receiving lots of calls and questions that tie up the lines. You can also report at your regional office if you prefer to do it in person.
In order to be prepared for the questions in the reporting surveys, take a look at the reporting worksheet provided by ODFW.
In addition to the January 31st deadline, hunters must report the results of all hunts ending between Jan. 1 and March 31 of that year by April 15th.
Reporting has been mandatory since 2007, however, even with incentives to report on time, less than half of hunters reported their results. Due to the lack of usable data from hunters failing to report, the Fish and Wildlife commission created the penalty fine in 2012. The penalty doubled the percentage of hunters that reported, and there are still incentives for those who report their results on time.
Biologists use the data that is reported to optimize hunting opportunities. You can also view the data yourself if you want to view the hunting pressure, harvest, and antler points of animals harvested for most deer and elk hunts.
Happy Hunting this year!