For the latest on IP3, click HERE

OHA engages in search for ODFW’s next director 

ODFW is on the cusp of a new era with the retirement of current Director Curt Melcher. 

Effective April 1, Director Melcher is retiring, and the current ODFW Commission is tasked with the selection of the new agency leader. 

The Commission and Governor Kotek are at the helm of the selection process with the Governor’s office facilitating the recruitment and selection process and the Commission making the final selection from the winnowed list of applicants. 

Selection of a new director is scheduled for the May 10 Commission meeting. 

OHA has been engaged with Commission members, as well as decision-makers in the Governor’s office, to express our concerns and advocate for a director who can effectively lead the agency through a hotbed of social topics while remaining focused on science-based wildlife management. 

An extensive background in wildlife management, as well as a strong understanding and belief in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, are crucial attributes OHA has put forth to decision-makers. Additionally, a knowledge of the principles of wildlife research and how to apply those in an unbiased manner is another key characteristic a successful director should possess. 

Another important attribute is fiscal responsibility for the agency and to the rate-paying stakeholders made up of hunters, anglers and trappers. Understanding and appreciating that these stakeholders contribute 47 percent of the agency’s budget is key to managing and conserving wildlife. 

OHA will continue to work with the Commission members, as well as the Governor’s office, to express the views and needs of the sportsmen and women in Oregon.


OHA succeeds in securing critical funding to fight spread of CWD

OHA came out of the 2024 legislative session with one of the most meaningful wins for Oregon’s wildlife: additional funding to increase monitoring and testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The funding allocated $1.9 million to the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory located at Oregon State University for increased lab capacity and the establishment of in-state testing for CWD samples. In addition, ODFW received $795,000 for increased personnel capacity in the Wildlife Laboratory and the hiring of several seasonal positions to increase sample collection.

CWD, which is contagious and 100-percent fatal to deer and elk, has been found in Idaho deer very close to the Oregon border.

Securing this funding was a two-year process. In 2023, we authored HB 2532, which originated the CWD funding request. That bill passed unanimously out of its policy committee but died in Ways & Means when it did not rise to the top of the list for necessary funding. With a legislature focused on housing, homelessness, and addiction, getting their attention on wildlife is an uphill battle.

This multi-year process is a great example of the constant work needed to maintain OHA’s legislative presence. Much of the foundational work is done during the interim time between legislative sessions: working with legislators and their staff to develop legislation, participating in collaboratives to develop concepts, and building relationships in and out of the Capitol.

OHA’s 2023 victory with HB 3086, which changed the regional selection for the ODFW Commission, was due in part to the relationships formed with our Tribal partners. The full force of the environmental coalition was brought against that bill and, frankly, the sportsmen’s community would not have prevailed if it had not been for Tribal leadership weighing in on the importance of ODFW’s Commission being represented by more regions of the state outside the Portland metro area.

When HB 2532 died at the end of the 2023 session, it was OHA’s relationships with legislators that afforded us the opportunity to bring it back to life in 2024 in HB 4148. And when HB 4148 also died, it was OHA’s tenacity and willingness to work across the aisle that secured the funding for CWD in the final budget bill of the session.

OHA is already looking ahead to the 2025 session and working with decision makers to bring our future legislative concepts to life. In the legislature, the off-session is where we put in the work to build the relationships, collaboratives, and legislative concepts that further our mission statement to protect Oregon’s wildlife, habitat, and hunting heritage. We don’t stop working for our members, and for all of Oregon’s sportsmen and women, at the end of legislative session, rather that’s when we’re just getting started.


Measure 114 found unconstitutional, components blocked

Harney County Judge Raschio issued his ruling on November 21 regarding the Measure 114 litigation at the state level, permanently blocking the measure’s implementation and ruling it as unconstitutional. Two major factors contributed to his findings, the permit to purchase scheme of Measure 114 and the the ban on the sale, transfer, and manufacture of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. The State is expected to appeal the ruling which will likely end up before the Oregon Supreme Court.


IP3 proponents eye 2026 Ballot

IP3 proponents have gathered almost 31,000 signatures in their efforts to put the egregious, ridiculous, and downright offensive initiative petition that would ban legal hunting, fishing, and trapping on the 2024 ballot. In addition criminalizing hunting, fishing, and trapping, the initiative would also criminalize wildlife management efforts, education and research with animals, and even trapping vermin such as mice and gophers. It would also effectively end farming, ranching, and eating Oregon-grown animal products such as meat, dairy, and seafood.

However, even with the influx of funding received earlier this year and the initial efforts to gain the signature threshold (120,000) to make the ballot, it appears the proponents are now looking to the 2026 election. Initiative Petition 28 (IP28) has been filed with the Secretary of State for the 2026 ballot and is a new iteration of the language that began as IP13 in 2020 and returned as IP3 in 2022. With few substantial changes, IP28 rolls forward the IP3 efforts to 2026 and gives them three years to continue their plans to take this extreme agenda to Oregonians.

OHA continues to lead the opposition to this proposed measure so stay tuned for more information.

IP3 information and updates are located HERE


2023 Legislative Session – A long and arduous session yields victories in the final hours.

The 2023 Legislative session came to a close on Sunday, June 25, and while not successful in securing a ballot referendum to constitutionally protect the right to fish, hunt, harvest, and gather, the sportsmen’s community had several major victories. 

HB 3086, the bill to restructure the map by which ODFW Commissioners are selected, passed with an unanimous vote in the House and a near unanimous vote Senate.  After working all session to keep this bill alive, the unanimous passage of this bill is notable and should be considered a substantial milestone for the bill supporters. 

The ODFW commission was previously aligned to congressional districts plus two at-large positions, one eastside and one westside. The new statute bases all positions in the river basin regions with two commissioners each from the Northwest and West Central Regions, and one commissioner each from the Southwest, North Central, and Eastern Regions. This provides greater representation to the eastern portion of the state and ensures we will no longer have three, or more, commissioners centered in the Portland area. 

The bill had two public hearings in which sportsmen and women around the state submitted over 1,000 pieces of written testimony in support. Additionally, Howl For Wildlife’s action alert system garnering over 3,000 interactions and generating nearly 51,000 individual emails to legislators over the course of the session. 

OHA partnered with other sportsmen’s organizations, natural resource organizations, and livestock producers to build a united front of stakeholders supporting the bill. A huge factor in it’s passage were the six federally recognized Tribes in support: Coquille Indian Tribe, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians, Confederated Tribe of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, Burns Paiute Tribe, and the Confederated Tribe of Grand Ronde. The support of six tribes made this bill historic as the first pieces of legislation to ever garner such a level of support from sovereign nations.

The bill also had immense bipartisan and bicameral support with 30 bill sponsors. Chief sponsors were: Rep. Bobby Levy (R – District 58), Sen. Hansell (R – District 29), Rep. Owens (R – District 60), Rep. Hartman (D – District 40), Rep. Emerson Levy (D – District 53), Sen. Brock Smith (R – District 1).  Regular sponsors were: Representatives Boice (R – District 1), Boshart Davis (R – District 15), Bynam (D – District 39), Cate (R – District 11), Diehl (R – District 17), Gomberg (D – District 10), Goodwin (R – District 4), Heib (R – District 51), Lewis (R – District 18), Lively (D – District 7), McIntire (R – District 56), Morgan (R – District 3), H. Nguyen (D – District 48), Osborne (R – District 2), H. Pham (D – District 36), Sanchez (D – District 43), Stout (R – District 31), Wallan (R – District 6), Walters (D – District 37), Wright (R – District 9), Senators Anderson (R – District 5), Bonham (R – District 26), and Meek (D – District 20).

Defeating a bad bill is a victory in itself. From further restrictions on hunting with hounds and criminalizing fur sales to restrictions of managing predatory animals, the engagement of sportsmen and women around the state were instrumental in defeating or modifying five bills that would have had detrimental outcomes. 

OHA’s bill seeking new funding for establishing in-state testing for chronic wasting disease was not included in the final budget bill of the session. However, there were other financial wins for wildlife and rural Oregonians. In addition to the $5 million appropriated for further investments in wildlife crossings, the Minam River Wildlife Area Acquisition Phase II funding was approved, and the Mule Deer Coordination position was funded in a permanent status. 

In a session that at times appeared to be one obstacle after another, the voices of sportsmen and women around the state were ultimately heard, making a substantial, and positive, difference in many outcomes. 


Sign up for OHA updates and alerts at: