OHA authors CWD-funding bill, provides testimony at first public hearing

OHA has authored HB 2532, a bill that seeks to appropriate General Fund dollars to ODFW and OSU for the purpose of establishing in-state testing for CWD, as well as increased staffing for CWD-specific sample collection and research. The bill had its first public hearing, in the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources and Water on Thursday, January 26. OHA Policy Director Amy Patrick took part in a three-person panel to provide the committee with information on CWD and the urgent need for greater testing and research in Oregon. Collin Gillin, ODFW Veterinarian, and Kurt Williams, Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Lab Director, provided the additional panel testimony.  Representatives from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) were on hand to provide supporting testimony, and a joint letter of support from OHA, RMEF, TRCP, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Deer Association, Oregon Trappers Association, Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, Fur Takers of America, Oregon Pack Works, Oregon Wild Sheep Foundation, and Advocates for Sustainable Animal Populations was also submitted into testimony.

The bill will now be scheduled for work session to determine if the committee will pass it and send it to the House floor for approval before being sent to the Senate where it will undergo the same process.


OHA introduces bills, follows close to 100 others

CWD, cougars, bobcats,  wildlife crossing bills highlight OHA’s efforts

The 2023 legislative session has officially begun with more than 4,000 bills filed the first week and potentially hundreds more waiting to be filed in the next few weeks. The session will last until the end of June, providing six months of political engagement on a myriad of topics. In this protracting landscape of bills, OHA is actively tracking close to 100 bills that affect our interests of wildlife, habitat and hunting heritage.

OHA has authored several bills this session, providing us the opportunity to play offense on issues such as establishing funding for enhanced, in-state testing for Chronic Wasting Disease, restructuring the Fish & Wildlife Commission, and attempting to secure a ballot referral for a constitutional protection to fish, hunt, harvest and gather.

OHA will support the plethora of concepts that have been put forth to approve cougar hunting with hounds on a county-by-county basis by utilizing a county-wide election. There are no less than six bills addressing this topic, each with slight differences in the process but all unified with the intent to allow hound hunting for cougars. However, a bill has been filed attempting to further restrict hound hunting by making it illegal to utilize hounds in the pursuit of lynx and bobcat; OHA will oppose this bill.

Protecting wildlife migration and reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions has long been an area of focus for OHA. In 2022, OHA supported the $7 million wildlife crossing bill, and in 2023 we will be supporting the follow-up legislation that requests an additional $5 million while tasking Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife with prioritizing projects that support wildlife mobility and habitat connectivity.

OHA will engage on numerous other bills throughout the session, all with a focus on our mission of protecting Oregon’s wildlife, habitat, and hunting heritage.


OHA files briefs challenging Measure 114

OHA filed two amicus briefs in early January, supporting the lawsuit against Measure 114 brought by National Shooting Sports Foundation and Oregon State Shooting Association, both members of the sportsmen’s coalition formed to fight the measure.

The first brief was filed in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited; the second was filed with other members of the coalition, including Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Deer Association, Oregon Wild Sheep Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, Safari Club International, and Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation.

Two OHA members provided depositions to the amicus briefs that gave individual voices to our arguments. Kelly Parkman, Hoodview Chapter president and Learn to Hunt founder, spoke to the detrimental effects Measure 114 would have on new hunters and those wanting to expand their hunting skills into new areas of game that require specific firearms. James Nash, outfitter/guide and podcast personality, wrote eloquently about his experiences as an outfitter/guide, hunter, and veteran, all of which would be negatively impacted by the measure.

OHA worked with two lawyers to prepare the briefs, Mike McLane and Matt Wand, both of Lynch Murphy McLane LLP in Bend, who support sportsmen’s priorities. OHA was able to file both briefs with the recent donations made to the Victory Fund. To donate to this effort, and the numerous others on the horizon, you can donate to the Victory Fund on the OHA website at https://oregonhunters.org/donate/.



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