ODFW Grant Funds Big Game Winter Range Habitat Improvements

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The Redmond Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association has been awarded a $12,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Access and Habitat Program to continue an ongoing deer and elk winter range improvement project on the Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area in Grant County.

The funds will be used to purchase more than 15,000 native shrub seedlings for planting by volunteers from the Oregon Hunters Association, Quail Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and others. Volunteers also will construct one mile of fence to protect the shrubs from livestock and big game. The planting is scheduled to take place in late March.

The more than 2,000 mule deer and 1,200 Rocky Mountain elk that winter on the wildlife area will benefit from the project through improved winter survival. About 100 pronghorn antelope and a few California bighorn sheep also are found in the area.

Known as the Murderers Creek Winter Range Shrub Planting Project, it now is in its fifth year. The A&H Program has contributed $45,690 to purchase 67,600 seedlings for the project to date. The Oregon Hunters Association plans three more years of plantings.

In addition to the Access and Habitat Program grant, project funding also was provided by the Bureau of Land Management, Quail Unlimited and the Oregon Hunters Association.

Created by the Oregon Legislature in 1993, the A&H Program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Funds raised by the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations and others for cooperative wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.