The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today set the 2012-13 game bird hunting regulations at its meeting in Salem.
Record breeding numbers of ducks mean another 107-day duck season with liberal bag limits. The only change from last year is that due to good breeding numbers of scaup, there will be no bag limit restriction for them.
Other changes to bird seasons from last year follow. The 2012-13 Oregon Game Bird Regulations will be available later in August.
- Eurasian collared-doves are now classified as unprotected wildlife.
- NW Oregon General Zone goose hunting will be split into three time periods to align it with the NW Oregon Permit Goose Zone. Last period closes March 10.
- The South Coast Zone bag limit for dark geese during the third hunt period increases by two and white geese can now be taken during all hunt periods in this zone.
- In the NW Permit Goose Zone, shooting hours extend to 4 p.m. (previously closed 3 p.m.) and check stations will be open from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (previously 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).
Due to wildfires in southeast Oregon that impacted some core sage grouse habitat, sage grouse hunting permits were reduced by 100 (75 in Whitehorse Unit, 25 in Juniper Unit). Also, the eastern portion of the Whitehorse unit (east and south of Hwy 95) will be closed to sage grouse hunting for this season.
Starting with the 2014 Upland Game Bird Art Contest, the deadline to enter will be the last business day of August of the preceding year (not the last business day in December).
The Commission also previewed and took additional public testimony on the proposed 2013-16 sport fishing regulations. The sport fishing regulations considered today are the culmination of an extensive public process that began in January. The final regulations will be adopted by the Commission at its Sept. 7 meeting in Hermiston.
During the September meeting, a number of proposals will receive additional review:
- Re-define artificial lure to include soft molded plastic and rubber worms, eggs and similar bait imitations.
- Restrict the use of bait on the McKenzie River from Hayden Bridge upstream to Hendricks Bridge. Bait would be allowed only when fishing for salmon or steelhead from May 1- to June 15.
- Increase daily bag limit for smallmouth bass on the Umpqua River from 10 to 15.
- Create a trophy trout fishery on Crane Prairie Reservoir.
- Manage largemouth bass on Wickiup Reservoir under statewide bag limits.
- Change the salmon/steelhead deadline on the Molalla River.
- A new proposal recommended by the Commission to consider winter fishing opportunities on Lemolo Reservoir.
The Commission adopted the administrative rules that will regulate the take of fish and wildlife in the marine reserves and marine protected areas at Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua. It also approved a staggered process for implementing the restrictions that reflects an austere budget situation. After two years of baseline data collection, the prohibitions will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 for Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua, and on Jan. 1, 2016 for Cape Falcon.
The Commission heard a citizen petition to modify the state’s wildlife integrity rules to allow the possession and rearing of tilapia, and directed staff to develop rules that would allow people to raise tilapia indoors for personal use.
The Commission approved the agency’s 2013-15 budget of almost $310 million. The budget now will be submitted the Governor’s office and eventually to the Oregon State Legislature for final approval. No changes in hunting and fishing license fees are proposed under the new budget.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Its next meeting is Sept.7 in Hermiston.
Logo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife