Oregon FWC Adopts 2008 Big Game Regulations

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The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted 2008 big game regulations.

Among the changes hunters will see next year are:

  • * Successful bear hunters will be required to check-in skulls within 10 days of harvest at an ODFW office during regular business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.). Participation in this currently voluntary program is not high enough, triggering the mandatory check-in requirement under the state's bear management plan.
  • * Hunters will get controlled late season buck hunting opportunities in 2008 (a total of 90 tags, in six hunts—three archery hunts and three firearms hunts). Bow hunters that obtain these controlled tags will not be able to hunt during the general archery season.
  • * Due to the ability of ODFW's new point-of-sale system to better track licenses, hunters will no longer forfeit preference points if they do not apply for a controlled hunt for two consecutive years.
  • * Future hunters may begin applying for preference points at age 9 rather than age 11. The new rule will enable young hunters and their families to invest in future hunting opportunities and more quickly have the opportunity to hunt. Young hunters applying for preference points will be required to have a social security number, a hunter/angler identification number, and to purchase an adult hunting license.
  • * Under a law passed by the state legislature to simplify the process for disabled hunters, hunters can now be certified as disabled by a licensed physician assistant, not just a licensed physician or a certified nurse practitioner.

In response to public testimony, and so department staff can clarify certain parts of the rule, the Commission chose to delay adoption of rules to manage special department-appointed agents who could pursue bears or cougars with dogs. The Commission will again consider adoption of agent rules during the Dec. 7 meeting in Salem.

The sport-hunting of cougars and bears with dogs is not legal in the state of Oregon under Measure 18, which Oregon voters passed in 1994. Measure 18 explicitly allowed ODFW and its agents to use hounds when implementing bear and cougar management but did not clearly grant the department authority to designate agents. To clarify the law, the 2007 Oregon Legislative Assembly enacted HB 2971 which provides the department clear authority to designate agents.

The Commission also adopted rules for the commercial crab industry that reduce the time period for permit transfers, ease buoy tag replacements, and require log book reporting so both the industry and department can better understand industry operations.

Finally, the Commission adopted staff-proposed long-term management plans for the Summer Lake and White River wildlife areas and appointed three people to the Restoration and Enhancement Board, which grants funds for projects that improve fisheries. Jack Glass of Troutdale was appointed to the sport fishing position, Terry Learned of Cloverdale to the troll fishing position and Dixie Boley of Gold Beach to the seafood processing position on the board.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly.