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Oregon Sets Big Game Tag Numbers

June 9, 2008.

From Oregon Fish and Wildlife:

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved just over 134,000 hunting tags for controlled (limited-entry) big game hunts this fall.

Elk tags are virtually the same as last year, while tags are down slightly for buck deer and pronghorn. Rocky Mountain goat and bighorn sheep tags are about the same as last year, though new hunts have been proposed for 2009. Beginning in spring 2009, the SW Oregon Spring Bear Hunt (#722A) will change from a controlled hunt to a limited, first-come, first-serve season with a total of 4,125 tags proposed to be offered.

To set the numbers, the Commission adopted ODFW staff recommendations which were crafted using the latest population data available, results of hunter harvest surveys from last year, input from 23 public meetings held throughout Oregon in May and public correspondence.

The controlled hunt drawing process will now begin to award tags to hunters who applied by the May 15 application deadline. Results will be available by June 20. Hunters who were unsuccessful in the controlled hunt drawing may choose to hunt in a general season for elk and / or western Oregon deer. There is no limit on the number of general season tags sold. Cougar and fall bear hunting seasons are also managed as general seasons.

The following summarizes the Commission’s actions today. More detailed information on what the Commission adopted is available at this link.

Deer:

77,358 tags, a 4 percent decrease from last year due to low fawn ratios in some areas.

Elk:

53,841 total elk tags, virtually the same as last year.

Pronghorn (Antelope):

2,893 tags, a six percent decrease from last year. While the overall outlook for pronghorn remains positive, south-central Oregon populations are experiencing a cyclical decrease in fawn ratios.  

Bighorn Sheep:

89 bighorn sheep tags and a new hunt, W. Deschutes River.  

Rocky Mountain goat:

8 tags, one more tag than last season. Two new hunts proposed for 2009 season.

Spring bear

In October, the department will propose a one percent increase in spring bear tags to 8,010 tags for 2009.

Beginning in spring 2009, the SW Oregon Spring Bear Hunt (#722A) will change from a controlled hunt to a limited, first-come, first serve season with a limit of 4,125 tags proposed to be offered.

At its Oct. 10, 2008 meeting in Salem, the Commission may adopt a new rule for the 2009 season that will require bear and cougar carcasses brought to ODFW for mandatory check-in to be thawed. Biologists are not able to pull teeth or get accurate measurements from frozen skulls, and hunters that bring in frozen skulls experience long wait times or have to return at a later date. ODFW staff are currently working with taxidermy shops and other businesses to increase locations available for check-in to make the process more convenient for hunters.

Cougar

No season changes from last year.

At its Oct. 10, 2008 meeting in Salem, the Commission may adopt a new rule for the 2009 season that will require bear and cougar carcasses brought to ODFW for mandatory check-in to be thawed. Biologists are not able to pull teeth or get accurate measurements from frozen skulls, and hunters that bring in frozen skulls experience long wait times or have to return at a later date. ODFW staff are currently working with taxidermy shops and other businesses to increase locations available for check-in to make the process more convenient for hunters.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. The next meeting is July 17-18 in Sisters. Agenda item exhibits may be requested by calling the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 or visiting the link below the week before the meeting

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/

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