The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission updated bird hunting regulations and game bird regulations for the 2022-23 at its April meeting, where OHA testified. A few notable updates include regulations for Canada geese, fall turkey and sage-grouse.
FALL TURKEY — The ODFW Commission recently approved the ODFW staff proposal to increase the daily bag limit for the General Western Oregon Fall Turkey Season to two turkeys per day. The season limit of two turkeys of either sex has not changed, but this change now allows hunters to fill both tags on the same day. OHA testified at the April Commission meeting acknowledging the effort by ODFW to expand hunting opportunity while using hunters to address damage issues. In response to the daily bag limit increase for western Oregon fall turkey, OHA asked that ODFW continue to carefully monitor turkey populations in western Oregon, particularly on public lands, because OHA does not support reducing turkey populations on public lands.
SAGE-GROUSE — OHA continues to have strong influence in protecting sage-grouse hunting in Oregon. There are many factors driving sage-grouse populations, but hunter harvest does not contribute to any decline in Oregon. Hunting yields vital rate data for biologists, and ODFW currently uses more than 50 percent of upland gamebird stamp funds to benefit sage-grouse. Hunters also pay for sage-grouse permits and applications, while hunting organizations, including OHA, frequently contribute large sums to the species’ research and conservation. OHA asserted that sage-grouse must retain their gamebird status if they are to continue receiving this substantial chunk of upland stamp funds.
The ODFW Commission approved sage-grouse permits similar to those allocated in 2021. ODFW staff have the authority to implement a temporary rule to alter permit allocations later this summer if breeding survey data indicate change is needed.
CANADA GEESE – Due to declining cackling, Taverners, and struggling Dusky Canada goose populations, the ODFW Commission approved the ODFW staff proposal to reduce the limit on all Canada geese in the northwest Oregon permit zone to 3 per day beginning in the 2022-23 season.
There are seven sub-species of Canada geese that can be found in the northwest Oregon permit zone. All but the dusky have open seasons. Cackling and Taverners Canada geese typically make up a large portion of the geese harvested in the northwest permit zone. OHA testified at the April Commission meeting and did not stand in the way of this change because recent surveys in Alaska are showing the cackling Canada geese population at just over 200,000. The population goal for the species is 250,000, and Taverners Canada geese have experienced a population decline. Other waterfowl seasons for the state will be similar to the 2021-22 season for bag limits and season length.