The 2014 Oregon big game regulations and a new endorsement for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon fishing in the Columbia River Basin will top the agenda when the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets in Newport on Oct. 3-4.

The meeting on Friday, Oct. 4 will begin at 8 a.m. at the Hallmark Resort Inn at 744 SE Elizabeth St. in Newport, OR 97365.

The Commission will be asked to adopt the 2014 Big Game Regulations. No major changes are proposed, but slight adjustments proposed by ODFW staff include:

  • Delete and add several bighorn sheep hunts, to account for shifts in population.
  • Add or delete several controlled deer and elk hunts in response to property damage or population changes.
  • Expand Jackson Travel Management Area by 12 square miles.
  • Create new Meacham TMA in Umatilla and Union Counties (41 square miles of Hancock Forest Management lands near town of Meacham) which would open three days prior to archery deer and elk seasons.
  • Allow use of nontoxic round balls or nontoxic conical bullets with a density similar to lead during muzzleloader seasons.
  • Remove prohibition against hunting cougar or bear during deer and elk seasons for the standard Rocky Mountain antlerless elk hunts.
  • Remove Alsea and Trask from units where archers and hunters with disabilities may take an antlerless elk, due to elk populations being below management objective.

The Commission also will be asked to adopt rules to implement recently passed legislation that will enable nonresident uniformed personnel to hunt or fish in Oregon for same cost as residents, and raise the agent fee for non-resident hunting licenses and tags from $2 to $10.

The Commission may also discuss the use of crossbows, which are currently prohibited to hunt game animals in Oregon. Some members of the public have proposed allowing the use of crossbows for some hunters with disabilities. ODFW staff has not made any recommendation to the Commission on the proposal.
The Commission also will be asked to approve an annual endorsement of up to $9.75, and $1 per day for daily licenses, for anglers fishing for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in the Columbia River Basin. This would include all rivers and tributaries in the Willamette, Central and Northeast angling zones, and a handful of Columbia River tributaries in the Northwest Zone.

The endorsement was included as part of a larger package of fishery reforms on the main stem lower Columbia River that was first proposed by an Oregon/Washington workgroup and later approved by the Oregon Legislature. Those reforms include phasing out the use of non-tribal gillnets on the main stem Columbia River. In return for a larger allocation of available salmon and steelhead harvest, sport anglers would help fund increased hatchery production in off-channel areas where commercial gillnetting would continue.

The new endorsement would be required beginning Jan. 1, 2014 and would go on sale beginning Dec. 1, 2013.

In other business, the Commission will consider:

  • Delegating authority to the ODFW Director to appoint members to the Commercial Fisheries Permit Board.
  • Revisions to the crab quality criteria used to open the commercial ocean Dungeness crab season. The commercial crab season can be delayed beyond the traditional Dec. 1 opener in order to increase the likelihood of harvesting good quality crab at the beginning of the season.
  • Acquisition of the Rooke-Higgins boat ramp property in order to provide much-needed public boating access to the Millacoma River. The $250,000 purchase would be funded by grants from the Oregon State Marine Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration program.

Oct. 3 tour hosted by ODFW Marine Resources Program

The public are invited to join the Commission on an Oct. 3 tour that includes an overview of the Marine Resources Program and some if its research programs, a dock walk focused on the commercial fishing industry and a look at the use of sustainable commercial fishing gear. The tour will meet at 8 a.m. at the Hallmark Resort Inn at 744 Elizabeth in Newport. Anyone attending the tour must provide their own lunch and transportation. The tour will end at 4 p.m.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The six-member panel meets monthly.

Public testimony for issues not on the formal agenda will be held Friday morning immediately following the expenditure report. Persons seeking to testify on such issues 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.

Logo courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

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