ODFW Grant Keeps 147,000 Acres Open to Public Hunting

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A $44,905 grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Access and Habitat Program awarded to Boise Cascade Company will be used to hire a wildlife technician during the 2004 hunting seasons as part of a cooperative management program that helps keep 147,000 acres of the company's timberlands in Wallowa County open to public hunting.

The technician will educate hunters, collect hunter harvest data, maintain signs and gates and ensure that Boise Cascade's resource protection rules are being followed by the public.

The area, known as the Sled Springs Management Demonstration Area, was created as a cooperative effort between ODFW and Boise Cascade to improve landowner-hunter relations, improve hunter satisfaction with natural resource management programs and develop hunting and livestock management plans. The project involves a series of road closures, big game management strategies and law enforcement patrols by the Oregon State Police during hunting seasons.

The road closures are an important part of the management strategy. “From the company's perspective, we want to reduce harassment of wildlife and minimize damage to roads associated with sedimentation to adjacent streams caused by lots of traffic,” said Boise Cascade wildlife biologist Bob Riggs.

These road closures have resulted in a higher quality hunting experience. Last season's success rate was 19 percent for archery elk hunters, 31 percent for the rifle bull elk hunters and 74 percent for the antlerless elk hunters.

The Access and Habitat Program has been contributing funding to this cooperative project since 1995.

“It's always been a good program and good for the resource,” said Riggs. “And it's been a pretty good deal for the hunting public as well.”

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.