By Jim Akenson, OHA Sr. Conservation Director
ODFW’s 18 public hearings held across Oregon on proposed big game regulation simplifications are now completed. The purpose of these meetings was two-fold; to inform the public of the status of big game in local areas, and for hunters to hear about and comment on the changes proposed for 2020 and 2021 big game seasons.
With roughly 350 changes proposed, basically every hunter and form of hunting in Oregon will be affected – and certainly some aspects are positive, such as with more consistent start and end dates on hunts and season length increases, but others may not be positive.
Everyone should comment to the Fish and Wildlife Commission and make sure your comments are submitted prior to Aug. 26, so they make it into the Commission packets prior to the Sept. 13 Commission meeting in Gold Beach.
For more specific details on hunts and changes go to the ODFW website, under the Big Game tab, and enter: https://myodfw.com/articles/proposed-changes-2020-big-game-regulations
How to Submit Comments:
U.S. Mail: ODFW, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem, OR 97302.
OHA members have provided state staff with input, given comments on Facebook, or participated in the OHA website survey. Pulling from this input, and input from the state board, here are some topics and thoughts to consider for your input:
- General elk damage hunts: How will hunters connect with landowners? Will there be a list available at ODFW district offices? Will ODFW follow up with a questionnaire on the effectiveness of these general cow elk damage hunts?
- Clarification on hunt boundaries and timing: These could be good, but do they all have to be applied in one year, or could the implementation process take an additional year, or years, to implement and thus provide a chance for feedback and effectiveness assessment?
- Elk/deer distribution concerns: Given these species being increasingly skewed to private property use, it seems limited to only use expanded cow hunting to redistribute game. We have concerns about overall effect to herd numbers and moving or holding elk and deer on public land.
- This is a lot of change in short order: Will OSP enforcement be able to handle all the changes on the shirttail of electronic licensing going into effect? Recommend a slower and more methodical implementation process.
- Bag limit changes for blacktail deer: In an OHA website poll, nearly 80 percent of respondents opposed making blacktail spikes legal in general buck rifle seasons and illegal in “antlerless” hunts. Is this proposal based on blacktail-specific research? How do you know buck ratios can withstand this harvest? Will this change have a review period?
If you have questions or want to talk about providing Commission input specific to your hunt area concerns, feel free to email me at: email@example.com