By Tyler Dungannon, OHA Conservation Coordinator
OHA had a strong presence with three representatives at the September Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Burns, where big game regulation proposals were ultimately approved. OHA was one of only two organizations to testify at this important meeting, and OHA’s representatives were the only ones to testify on behalf of Oregon hunters in person.
OHA staff expressed to the Commission that OHA should play an important role in the creation of the new Mule Deer Management Plan, and that one of our highest priorities is to bolster mule deer populations, while also optimizing hunting opportunity and quality. OHA’s Mule Deer Sub-Committee is comprised of mule deer experts from Oregon, Idaho and Montana, and they are eager to help develop the new plan.
Spring Bear Hunting
After a commissioner pressed concerns about the ethics of spring bear hunting, and Washington’s recent ban on spring bear hunts, OHA stepped up in support of continued spring bear hunting in Oregon. Our black bear population is strong and increasing, and ODFW does an excellent job of protecting sows with cubs and making use of the extensive data that are collected from harvested bears. ODFW has a mandatory check-in for bears, and the data collected inform population models. As a result of these data and others, Oregon’s bear population estimate sits at 34,000 bears.
OHA also thanked ODFW for carrying out OHA’s desire to create more youth archery elk hunting opportunity in light of archery regulation changes in eastern Oregon. OHA is confident that this will maintain and improve archery hunter recruitment.
Chronic Wasting Disease
OHA applauded ODFW for their work to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Oregon, including their effort to partner with Oregon State University, which will allow for in-state CWD testing of ungulate samples. Hunters were reminded to stop at roadside check-stations this fall and allow ODFW to collect samples in an effort to monitor for the presence of the disease.
ODFW has an excellent CWD web page complete with resources for Oregon hunters. To learn more about CWD, check the status of your sample, the laws in effect pertaining to CWD prevention, and what ODFW is doing to prevent the disease, please visit https://myodfw.com/CWD.
In addition to working with ODFW, OHA is also working closely with legislators to develop legislative concepts aimed at securing funds to maintain the in-state testing opportunity with OSU, as well as added personnel specific to CWD research and sample collection.