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2020 Fishing and Big Game Hunting Regulations now available

2020 Fishing and Big Game Hunting Regulations now available

SALEM, Ore.—The 2020 Sport Fishing and Big Game Hunting Regulations are now available in stores, ODFW offices and online at

Changes from 2019 are listed in the What’s New section under the table of contents and are identified by yellow highlighted text throughout the regulations.

There are a few major changes to the sport fishing regulations. One change is that in 2020, recreational crabbers will be required to mark all floating surface buoys with the owner’s full name or business name and at least one of the following: phone number, permanent address, ODFW Angler ID number, or a boat identification number, such as Oregon boat registration number. Find more information here.

As part of efforts to improve protections for mature spawning-size sturgeon, seasonal Columbia River no-fishing sanctuaries for these fish have been expanded and closure time extended.

Finally, anglers who purchase a two-rod validation will be able to use two rods in the Sandy River and Snake River below Brownlee Dam.

Big game hunters face more significant changes, as improvements to the regulations come into effect for 2020. A multi-year effort has been underway to improve and simplify big game regulations to make them more consistent, simpler where possible, and in tune with current populations and issues.

This year more than ever, hunters who apply for controlled hunts need to carefully check their hunt number. Many controlled hunts have been consolidated into larger areas and/or have longer seasons and boundaries of many controlled hunts were expanded or made simpler. Maps for these hunts will be available on in 2020.

Hunters should note that hunts that were formally called “centerfire” seasons or commonly referred to as “rifle” seasons are now “Any Legal Weapon Seasons.” This change was made to make it more clear to hunters that they are not limited to only using a rifle for these hunts; it is legal for hunters to use any legal shotgun, bow, muzzleloader, or handgun. For example, most hunters with a Western Oregon Deer tag typically hunt with a rifle, but if they prefer they can use this tag to hunt the season with a bow instead of hunting the regular archery season.

New for 2020, hunters with access to private land in areas of chronic elk damage (see map) can choose the new General Season Antlerless Elk Damage tag as their elk hunt. This new hunt is meant to address chronic elk damage and address increasing private land elk populations.

Several elk seasons east of the Cascades will shift from general season to controlled hunts in 2020 to improve bull ratios and hunt quality. This means hunters will need to apply to hunt Rocky Mtn elk season in the Hood-White River-Maupin-Biggs-Columbia Basin units and in units on the eastern flank of the Cascades (formerly in Cascade elk general season). 

Western Oregon general season buck deer hunters will be able to take a spike in the 2020 season as the new bag limit is “any buck with visible antler.” There are sufficient bucks in the population to support increased harvest and the change may also help the buck deer population, as hunters will be able to remove deer in poorer condition and the bucks that are genetically inclined to remain spikes.

Finally, due to a printing error, the Maupin unit is colored as black and appears to be closed to hunting during the general deer archery season in the printed hunting regulations. The unit is not closed and the online version is correct.

For more information on the changes to 2020 big game hunting regulations, visit

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