Black-tailed Deer Hunting Public Meetings Set

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The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a series of public meetings starting next week in western Oregon to obtain public comments on draft strategies for black-tailed deer hunting seasons for 2005 and beyond.

Information obtained at the public meeting will be forwarded to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for consideration in March. The Commission plans to give initial guidance on black-tailed deer seasons for 2005 in March and make a final decision in June.

ODFW biologists have identified declines in black-tailed deer populations, hunter success, deer harvested and hunter participation. An analysis of 40 years of buck-to-doe ratios found a drop from about 40 bucks per 100 does to about 25 bucks per 100 does. The population declines may be associated with disease, changing timber management practices which reduce the quality of deer habitat, or other factors.

The following strategies are currently being considered:

* Buck deer season: Three options have been drafted, including:

• Maintain current general season structure. Add a mandatory reporting and mandatory check-in requirement, and change the bag limit to a “buck with a visible antler.”

• Change the season to a 31-33 day season, alter rules for the Cascades and Wilson-Trask hunting units, change the bag limit to a “buck with a visible antler,” require mandatory reporting, require mandatory check in for harvested deer in selected hunting units and create selected controlled hunts for bucks or either sex animals.

• Create an Oct. 1-31 season, alter rules for the Cascades and Wilson-Trask hunting units, change the bag limit to a “buck with a visible antler,” and create selected controlled hunts for bucks or either sex animals.

*Antlerless deer seasons: Set seasons concurrent with general buck season, phase out many 600 series “antlerless deer” hunts, and possibly end the awarding of preference points if changes are made that would significantly reduce 600 series tag numbers.

* General archery season : Use 2004 season structure for next five years, change bag limit to “buck with a visible antler.”

* Multiple deer hunting opportunities: Phase out many 600 series “antlerless deer” hunts, focus remaining 600 and 800 series hunts in areas with agricultural damage, create new 100 “buck” hunts where populations are robust, and possibly end the awarding of preference points if changes are made that would significantly reduce 600 series tag numbers.

* Late archery deer season : Incorporate season into a single controlled hunt with dates consistent with late elk archery season, establish bag limit to be one deer or one buck with visible antler depending on local population.

Public meetings are scheduled for the following dates and locations to obtain public input on the proposed strategies:

Brookings: 7 p.m. , Tuesday, Feb. 17, Brookings Elk Lodge, Weisner Room, 800 Elk Drive .

Canby: 7 p.m. , Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the Pioneer Oregon Hunters Association meeting, Jarboe's Grill, 101 N. Elm.

Clackamas: 6:30 p.m. , Thursday, Feb. 19, ODFW Regional Office, 17330 SE Evelyn, Building 16.

Coos Bay : 7 p.m. , Tuesday, Feb. 24, Tioga Oregon Hunters Association meeting, Georgia Pacific Security Office.

Coquille: Tuesday, Feb. 24. Time and location to be announced. Contact Stuart Love, 541-888-5515.

Grants Pass : 7 p.m. , Thursday, Feb. 19, Josephine County Oregon Hunters Association meeting, Wild River Pub.

McMinnville: 7 p.m. , Tuesday, Feb. 24, Yamhill Oregon Hunters Association meeting, Tequilla Grill, 325 NE Hwy. 99.

Medford : 7 p.m. , Thursday, Feb. 12, Rogue Valley Oregon Hunters Association meeting, JJ North's Grand Buffet.

North Bend : 7 p.m. , Wednesday, Feb. 11, North Bend Public Library, 1800 Sherman Ave.

Roseburg : 7 p.m. , Tuesday, Feb. 17, Umpqua Oregon Hunters Association meeting, ODFW Regional Office, Roseburg .

Springfield : 7 p.m. , Wednesday, Feb. 18, Emerald Valley Oregon Hunters Association meeting, Union Hall, 1116 South “A”

Tillamook: 7 p.m. , Monday, Feb. 16, Tillamook Oregon Hunters Association meeting, Tillamook PUD.

Warrenton: 7 p.m. , Tuesday, Feb. 10, Lower Columbia Oregon Hunter Association meeting, Kilroy's Restaurant.

More information about the proposed strategies will soon be available on the ODFW Web site under Exhibit “B” at this site.