Thousands of Oregonians who bought deer or elk hunting tags in 2013 have until Friday evening to report on their hunt or face a $25 fine under Oregon's mandatory reporting rules.

Thousands of Oregonians who bought deer or elk hunting tags in 2013 have until Friday evening to report on their hunt or face a $25 fine under Oregon's mandatory reporting rules.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife mailed postcards last week to the deer, elk, cougar, bear, pronghorn and turkey tag-buyers warning them of the deadline to report on their hunts — even if they were not successful or did not hunt.

The only exceptions are for Sports Pac license holders who do not need to report on tags that were never issued to them.

Last year, a similar mailing jolted derelict hunters into following the reporting rules.

"This year we'll probably again see an upsurge in reporting once they got those postcards," ODFW Wildlife Division spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy says.

As of Wednesday, 75 percent of deer hunts and 76 percent of elk hunts have been reported, Dennehy says. Also,73 percent of bear-tag holders have reported on their hunts, as have 68 percent of cougar-tag holders and three-fourths of turkey-tag holders.

The overall reporting rate as of late Wednesday was 74 percent, Dennehy says.

Those who fail to meet the mandatory reporting deadline will be hit with the $25 fine before they buy their 2015 hunting license. It's a flat fine regardless of the number of unreported tags held by the hunter.

Hunters have two ways to report, with the most popular venues online at the ODFW's website at www.dfw.state.or.us or through www.reportmyhunt.com.

Hunters also can report by telephoning 1-866-947-6339 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.

The Jan. 31 deadline is for all 2013 hunts that ended by Dec. 31. All hunts that slop over into early 2014 have an April 15 reporting deadline.

To report, hunters need their Hunter/Angler Identification number that is on their licenses and tags as well as the two-digit code for the Wildlife Management Unit they hunted. To see a rundown of the codes, check pages 94-95 of the Big Game Regulations synopsis.

Hunters will need to report the total number of days hunted as well as the number of days hunted in each Wildlife Management Unit.

Those who report by the deadline also have a chance to win a deer, elk or pronghorn tag similar to the auction and raffle tags the agency offers in annual fundraisers.

The hunter-generated data is used by biologists to help develop big-game population models and the impact hunting has on them. The information is used to craft everything from seasons to bag limits and tag numbers.

Before the penalty kicked in, reporting rates hovered around 40 percent. With last year's fine, the rates more than doubled to about 85 percent, according to the ODFW.

"At that rate, we were actually able to use the information," Dennehy says.

For more information on the program, visit www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/reporting/index.asp.

— Mark Freeman