Almost as an after thought, I decided to visit Charleston and get the paperwork started for my pioneer license for which I became eligible this year. The pioneer license is a free combination hunting/fishing license available to outdoor receationists who are at least 65 years of age and currently reside in Oregon and have resided in Oregon for 50 or more years.
I thought I would be waiting for weeks, if not months, to actually receive the license, but very surprised to have the license handed to me less than 15 minutes after I first asked for it.
When, out of curiosity, I looked myself up on the ODFW licensing machine where I work (at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay), I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had also received a free Columbia River Endorsement – a bonus that saved me at least $9.75. Since the pioneer license is a combination license covering both fishing and hunting, I also got a free parking pass that will save me the $7.00 parking fee when visiting an increasing number wildlife refuges and management areas around Oregon. The parking permit is free to people who obtain hunting licenses, but costs others, including fishermen, $7.00 per year.
All in all, it seems that growing old in Oregon is not so bad.
I was very happy to hear that some of our local commercial crabbers made some good catches to start out the commercial season. The early reports out of Brookings, last year’s top Oregon crabbing port, were very disappointing.
Hunters are required to report on every deer, elk, cougar, bear, pronghorn and turkey tag purchased. Hunters who fail to report their 2013 deer and elk tags by the deadline (Jan. 31, 2014 for most hunts) will have to pay a $25 penalty fee to purchase a 2015 hunting license. Report online or call 1-866-947-ODFW (6339).