I see the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had to extend its controlled-hunt application deadline because of slow computers. What happens if the same slow computers hit just before the start of the general deer season? Does that mean the season will be delayed?

I see the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had to extend its controlled-hunt application deadline because of slow computers. What happens if the same slow computers hit just before the start of the general deer season? Does that mean the season will be delayed?

— David D., via e-mail

If the point-of-sale computer system sees hiccups in October like it has the past week, then expect the sale deadline to be extended for hunters buying general-season buck tags for Western Oregon, David.

But don't expect the scheduled Oct. 3 start of the season to be changed, says Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's wildlife division.

"If the license sales system experienced another failure and hunters were unable to purchase tags, yes we would consider extending the deadline," Dennehy says. "Hunters would still need to carry a tag when hunting and they could not go hunting the day the season opened without a tag, even if there is a deadline extension."

That's what happened in 2007, when slow computers led to an extension of the tag-sale deadline three days into the season, Dennehy says.

This marks the third consecutive year that the ODFW's license sales vendor, Outdoor Central, has experienced slowdowns in tag sales or controlled-hunt applications at its point-of-sale outlets.

Computer failures last week forced the ODFW to extend its controlled-hunt application sales to May 31 from the normal May 15.

Point-of-sale agents had been taking up to 45 minutes to process a single controlled-hunt application during the slowdowns.

A hardware upgrade completed Wednesday is expected to help speed up the process.

The extension means the random computer drawing for limited-entry big-game tags will delayed from June 5 to June 15. Results normally available by June 20 will not be public until July 1.

That also pushes back the first-come, first-served sale of leftover tags from July 1 to July 15.

The best move for Oregon's general-season hunters may be to skip the point-of-sale system altogether and let the World Wide Web solve their problems.

Go to the Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us/online_license_sales/index.asp. Once there, hunters can buy licenses and tags with credit cards and even print them out for immediate use.

Or, of course, hunters can suspend the time-honored tradition of buying their deer tags on the eve of the season opener by hitting the local sporting goods store early.

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