It is finally here! Opening weekend of Hunting Season!

Well, a major season; some tags started the 1st of August and cougar runs year around, but general bow elk and deer attracts a lot more hunters.

Speaking of being attracted, it seems like this time of year attracts people to trespass. We will talk more about that in a minute, but let’s first talk about tags.

As everyone is well aware, the tagging system for ODFW is different this year. This year you can pick one of two options, paper or electronic.

If you choose paper, make sure you keep it dry and with you at all times. The tag must also be signed and dated to be valid before going into the field. Just because it is paper doesn’t mean you don’t need to have it with you. The tag still needs to be validated immediately upon harvesting your animal. Also remember to bring an ink pen to validate.

If you chose electronic, it is your responsibility to make sure your phone stays charged so it is available to tag and also be checked while you are in the field. One misconception is that the electronic tag will not work outside of cell range. The electronic tagging system will work when not in cell range, assuming you logged in prior to leaving cell range.

Just make sure you are logged in prior to going out in the field each day you plan to hunt. I have come across some people angling that think they are logged in but either due to time or updates, they find that they are not logged in at that time.

Also, if you harvest an animal, have something you can write on and attach to the animal. The information that you need to attach to the harvested animal is found on page 16 of the Big Game Regulation Book. Just like the paper option, the phone will need to be with you at all times when you are hunting too.

Now for trespassing. The vast majority of the hunting crimes we investigate are trespass related. Here in the early season it is tempting for people to go onto private timber ground when they are closed for fire danger.

A way to help you avoid problems is to be positive about whose land you are on. You can find phone, GPS and computer programs to tell you where you are at. There are also paper maps that give large timber company ownership information.

If you come to a gate, look around and most of the time you will find a sign stating ownership and access information. If you want more clarification you can call the timber companies and ask or go to ODFW’s website and they provide access information there.

Luckily we have had milder summer weather then the last couple years but we are still in high fire danger and that makes most of the timber companies close their lands to general public access.

As an Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Trooper, my goal is not to “catch” people. Our goal is to help the people trying to do it right by giving information and stopping the people trying to go around the system and steal opportunities from the rest of us.

We understand the new tagging system may arouse some questions, so feel free to call us and ask ahead of time.

Trespassing isn’t anything new, but still causes some questions too so we will try to answer your questions about that also. Hopefully we can work together to have a successful hunting season.

  • Another new way to reach us or your local Fish and Wildlife Trooper is to dial 677 from your cell phone. Or you can email me at

I hope to see you in the field soon so I can hear your successful hunt story.

Aaron Baimbridge is a senior trooper in the Fish and Wildlife Division of the Oregon State Police office in Roseburg.

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