The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, Oct. 5 at ODFW Headquarters in Salem (3406 Cherry Ave NE) to set 2013 big game hunting regulations.
The meeting begins at 8 a.m. An agenda for the meeting is at the link below: http://dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/12/10_oct/index.asp
Several new big game regulations could be adopted by the Commission during the meeting. One hunters need to be aware of is that beginning with 2012 deer and elk tags, failing to report the results of their hunt by the deadline (Jan. 31, 2013 for most tags) could cost them $10. The fee would be assessed when the hunter purchased his or her 2014 hunting license. Only one $10 fee would be assessed per individual.
Reporting hunt results for all deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, cougar, bear and turkey tags has been mandatory for several years. ODFW needs the information to determine harvest levels, estimate populations and set tag numbers. But last year, results were reported on only 41 percent of tags.
The Oregon State Legislature gave ODFW the ability to charge a penalty fee of up to $25 last year. Deer and elk tags are some of the most under-reported and information from these hunts is critical for setting tag numbers.
Elk hunting on National Forest land on the west slope of the Cascades may also change in 2013. ODFW is proposing that the bag limit become bull-only on National Forest land for all hunters, including archery, muzzleloader and disabled hunters who formerly were able to take any elk.
The change is due to a decline in elk numbers and calf ratios (number of calves per cows) in many areas of the west Cascades. Protecting females should help boost the population. Due to similar concerns on the Ochoco, the Commission will be asked to split the unit into two types of archery tags, one with an antlerless and one with a bull-only bag limit. The total number of archery tags will remain the same but antlerless harvest on National Forest land will be reduced, again to help boost populations.
Wenaha, Mt Emily and Walla Walla units are known for their trophy elk hunting and archery tags with a bag limit of one bull elk are difficult to draw. But ODFW and OSP are seeing spike-only tag holders take branch-antlered bulls in these units, pretending they shot the elk in another unit. To close this loophole, ODFW is proposing to change spike-only archery tags from general season to controlled in these units. Bowhunters that draw the controlled tag will only be able to hunt in that particular unit too, which will restrict tags to hunters truly dedicated to these units. New proposed rules would also require a controlled elk tag to archery hunt deer in the three units, again to reduce poaching.
Other proposed changes include:
- Limiting camping to designated sites and ending cross-country motor vehicle travel at the White River Wildlife Area.
- Some boundary changes to travel management areas.
- Reducing size of bowhunting closure area in the Columbia Basin unit.
- Language changes to clarify the definition of “spike only” and proof of sex requirements.
The Commission also will be asked to amend the wildlife integrity rules to allow people to raise tilapia indoors for personal consumption without acquiring an ODFW Fish Propagation license and add two addition tilapia species to the list of “controlled fish”. A fish transportation permit would still be required to move live fish. The rule changes came in response to a citizen petition presented at the August Commission meeting.
ODFW staff will brief the Commission on the Mule Deer Initiative, an effort to help Oregon’s struggling mule deer populations, the Sage-Grouse Conservation Strategy and the Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program Annual Report.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission is held Friday morning immediately following the expenditure report. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
Image courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife