FWC Hears Proposals for 2005 Big Game Tags

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The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reviewed proposed big game hunting regulations and tag allotments for 2005, and considered possible hunting season changes for 2006.

The Commission will finalize 2005 big game tag numbers at its June 10 meeting in Salem. Immediately following adoption of the tag numbers, ODWF will begin drawing controlled hunt tags. Hunters will be notified of their success by mail.

Recommendations for controlled buck mule deer tags in eastern Oregon will be similar to 2004 numbers. Low fawn ratios in some areas are a contributing factor for reductions in controlled deer tags in several parts of Oregon. Increased opportunities for hunting Columbian white-tailed deer will be proposed in the southwest portion of the state for 2006.

Proposals to reduce the number of controlled rifle tags for elk in eastern Oregon are based on low calf recruitment and decreased populations. However, several new antlerless elk hunts will be proposed for 2006 as biologists attempt to resolve localized damage complaints on both agricultural lands and managed timberlands.

Buck and fawn pronghorn ratios continue to increase, and proposed tag numbers may be increased by as many as 90 tags for 2005.

Bighorn sheep populations continue to expand and increase. Wildlife managers have responded with a proposed 9-percent increase in bighorn sheep tags in 2005, with five of the available tags awarded to non-residents. Bighorn sheep are among the most coveted hunting opportunities in Oregon, and applicants may receive only one tag in a lifetime.

Rocky Mountain goats are Oregon’s most difficult hunt to draw, with more than 1,000 applicants per available tag. Six tags in five hunt areas are proposed for 2005.

The department has proposed spring bear tags be increased by 5 percent in 2005. Successful hunters are reminded to submit teeth for use in population estimation and age distribution.

Cougars currently are managed through general seasons. Proposals for 2005 include increasing the cougar quota for each zone in Oregon.

The state authorizes general hunting seasons and controlled hunts. During the controlled seasons, the number of tags is limited and hunters must apply for them by May 15. There is no limit to the number of general season tags sold.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is a seven-member, volunteer body which sets fish and wildlife policies in the state. The Commission meets monthly to establish policies and administrative regulations for ODFW to implement.