Mandatory Reports for Deer, Elk, Bear, and Turkey
In 2015, those hunters obtaining transport tags for deer, elk, bear, and turkey were required to submit a hunting activity report for each transport tag purchased AND for every special permit received, by the reporting deadline January 31, 2016. (Except for hunting seasons extended beyond the deadline.) Hunters reported their hunting activities using either a toll-free telephone number or a reporting tool on the Internet. Hunters not reporting all of their general season transport tags AND special permits by January 31 were subject to a $10 penalty which must be paid before they can purchase a 2016 license.
General Season Hunting Activity
Unfortunately, not all hunters report by the January 31 deadline. A follow-up telephone survey was conducted to estimate the harvest of those hunters failing to report by the deadline. The final 2015 general season harvest estimates and general season hunter participation estimates presented in this report have been corrected for that non-response bias.
Special Permit Hunting Activity
In addition to the deer and elk general hunting seasons, there are special permit hunts which make it possible to hunt deer or elk in special areas or during special times. Mountain goat, bighorn sheep, and moose hunting are available only by special permit. The same is true for spring black bear and in some areas for fall turkey. All hunters, both successful and unsuccessful, were required to submit a mandatory hunting activity report by January 31, 2016 for all special permits awarded. Harvest for these special permit hunts was tabulated and based solely upon the reports returned by the hunters. Harvest was not estimated to include hunters who did not submit a report.
Small Game Hunter Questionnaire
The 2015 Small Game Questionnaire was sent to hunters licensed to hunt small game animals. Some of the questionnaires went out to hunters that only purchased a big game hunting license package. That is because these hunters have the ability to hunt forest grouse. The answers on the questionnaire formed the basis upon which harvest estimates were made for upland birds, forest grouse, waterfowl, and hunted fur-bearers. Hunters were asked if they actually hunted, how many days they spent hunting, and where it was done. They were also asked to record if they bagged anything. If they did, they were asked what it was, where it was taken, and how many they got.
The returned 2015 Small Game Hunter Questionnaires were further classified into groups based upon the corresponding responses to questions that were asked when purchasing 2015 hunting licenses. Hunters were asked if they hunted certain animals during the previous hunting season and, if they did, approximately how many were bagged. This information was used to stratify the sample.
Trapper Report of Catch
All trappers of fur-bearing animals are required to complete a trapper report of catch. Harvest is calculated directly from the reports and not expanded to include trappers that did not return a completed report.
Cougar Pelt Sealing Records
Hunters who take a cougar must notify the department within 72 hours of kill (excluding legal state holidays) and provide the hunter's name, date and location of kill, and sex of animal. The raw pelt of a cougar must be sealed by an authorized department employee within 5 days of the kill. The harvest figures are drawn directly from the pelt sealing records.