Mule deer buck

Premium Big Game Hunts

ODFW’s Premium Hunts give any hunter a chance to draw a deer, elk or pronghorn tag with a months-long season.

L, M, N Series of special deer, elk and pronghorn hunts

Premium Hunts are similar to the auction and raffle tags that people can pay thousands of dollars for, but cost the same as a regular tag. Premium Hunts are also an additional hunting opportunity, meaning hunters who draw the tag can still hunt with a regular general or controlled deer, elk or pronghorn tag that year.

Photo by Keith Kohl

What tags are available?

  • Premium Deer Hunts (L Series), one tag available in every wildlife management unit. Tag good for any species of deer for which there is a hunt in the unit.
  • Premium Elk Hunts (M Series), one tag available in all but three units.
  • Premium Pronghorn Antelope Hunts (N Series), one tag available in 27 areas.

See the Oregon Big Game e-Regulations for a list of hunt numbers; they will correspond with series and unit (so the Premium deer hunt in Applegate Unit is L28 and the Premium elk hunt is M28). Note that some hunts (highlighted in red in regulations) are mostly on private lands so secure access before applying.

What are the season dates for Premium Hunts?

  • Deer, elk and pronghorn: Aug. 1 - Nov. 30

What is the bag limit and what weapon can I use?

  • The bag limit is either-sex and there are no antler restrictions. Hunters can use any weapon legal for the species.

Photo by Tiffany Cruickshank

    How many hunts can I apply for?

    You can apply for each series (L, M, N) and list a 1st – 5th choice hunt in each series, similar to regular controlled hunt applications. While it’s expected that just one hunter will draw their 1st choice in each unit, hunters should list at least a 2nd choice hunt in case there is a change such as a hunt cancellation.

    How can I apply?

    As with controlled hunts, apply online, at a license sales agent or ODFW office, or using this mail/fax order application. The application cost is $8 per series and the deadline is May 15.

    Can I apply with a party?

    No. As only one tag is likely to be available, there are no party applications allowed.

    Can non-residents apply and draw a tag?

    Yes. The number of tags that non-residents may draw is set in state statute. In years when each unit has just one tag authorized, residents and non-residents will have an equal chance to draw the Premium Hunt tag. However, if more than one tag is authorized in a unit, only one of those tags could be issued to a non-resident.

    Do my chances increase the following year if I don’t draw the tag?

    No. Unlike regular controlled deer, elk and pronghorn hunts, the Premium Hunt Series do not use preference points, so every hunter has the same chance every year in the random draw.

    Photo by Larry J. Applegate

    Is it a once-in-a-lifetime tag?

    No. Hunters may apply again even if they draw the Premium Hunt tag.

    Can I still hunt on a regular deer, elk or pronghorn tag even if I draw the Premium Hunt?

    Yes. Premium Hunts are an additional hunting opportunity. Hunters who draw the tag can still apply, draw, purchase and hunt with regular controlled hunt tags (for buck deer, antlerless deer, elk and pronghorn) or with general season deer and elk tags.

    How much do tags cost?

    Premium Hunt tags will cost the same as regular deer, elk and pronghorn tags. Non-residents who draw the tags will pay non-resident prices.

    Are Premium Hunts tags available for the LOP program, Guides and Outfitters or Active Duty Military programs?

    No. There are not Premium Hunt tags available for these special programs.

    How will proceeds from Premium Hunt sales be spent?

    ODFW plans to set funds raised through Premium Hunt sales aside for special projects that help big game populations and hopefully, hunters too by providing more hunting opportunity. One idea is to use the proceeds for targeted enforcement on key mule deer winter ranges, where documented poaching and other problems are harming mule deer populations.

    Facts about 2017 Premium Hunts

    Total applicants per hunt series

    Elk: 32,256
    Deer: 30,992
    Pronghorn: 15,436

    Most applied for hunts in 2017

    Elk:
    Mt. Emily (2339 first choice applicants)
    Wenaha (2177 first choice applicants)
    Ochoco (937 first choice applicants)
    Saddle Mountain (801 first choice applicants)
    Walla Walla (739 first choice applicants)
    Deer:
    Metolius Unit (1447 first choice applicants)
    Interstate (853 first choice applicants)
    Steens Mountain (836 first choice applicants)
    White River (819 first choice applicants)
    Silvies (748 first choice applicants)
    Pronghorn:
    Beaty Butte -N70B (1247 first choice applicants)
    Warner  (1199 first choice applicants)
    Juniper  (1135 first choice applicants)
    Steens Mountain (1020 first choice applicants)
    Whitehorse (919 first choice applicants)

    Least applied for hunts in 2017

    Elk:
    Willamette (35 first choice applicants)
    Columbia Basin (41 first choice applicants)
    Klamath Falls (45 first choice applicants)
    Melrose (56 first choice applicants)
    Evans Creek (64 first choice applicants)
    Deer:
    Sixes (76 first choice applicants)
    Siuslaw (79 first choice applicants)
    Powers (93 first choice applicants)
    Chetco (103 first choice applicants)
    Stott Mountain (105 first choice applicants)
    Pronghorn:
    Sprague (54 first choice applicants)
    Northside (68 first choice applicants)
    Maupin (79 first choice applicants)
    Sumpter (80 first choice applicants)
    Columbia Basin (95 first choice applicants)

    Header photo by Charlotte Ganskopp

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