Tag Archives: controlled hunts

ODFW Details Hunt Change Proposals; Legalizing Blacktail Spikes Could Up Harvest

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Last year, ODFW began a multi-year effort to review and improve hunting regulations.

Many of Oregon’s controlled hunts and season structures were put in place decades ago and mostly untouched through the years. “We have undertaken a complete review of our big game hunting regulations with the goal of making them more consistent, in tune with current populations and issues, and simpler,” said Nick Myatt, ODFW Grand Ronde Watershed Manager who is leading the effort.

AN OREGON HUNTING PROPOSAL WOULD REMOVE THE FORKED-ANTLER REQUIREMENT DURING WESTERN OREGON’S GENERAL BLACKTAIL SEASON. (ODFW)

A number of changes took effect in 2019, and now ODFW has new proposals for 2020. One of the major ideas proposed will be a change in the bag limit for the hunt in Oregon with more participation than any other—the Western Oregon general rifle deer season, which more than 61,000 people hunted in 2017. ODFW is proposing to simplify the bag limit from “one buck deer having not less than a forked antler” to “one buck with visible antler.” All 600 series antlerless deer hunts in western Oregon currently with a “one antlerless or spike deer” bag limit would also change to “one antlerless deer.”

The current bag limit is different from the eastern Oregon deer bag limit, creates enforcement issues, and is not biologically relevant. It is a relic of when western Oregon offered a large number of antlerless deer tags in some wildlife management units. The proposed bag limit change is expected to increase harvest opportunities and success for general season rifle deer hunters by allowing the harvest of spike bucks. While it may result in an increase in buck harvest, there are sufficient bucks in the population to support increased harvest. All but one Western Oregon unit has met or exceeded the benchmark for observed post-hunting season buck ratio in at least two of the last three years.

The change may also help the buck deer population by allowing hunters to remove the bucks genetically inclined to remain spikes. Data shows that some yearling bucks have forked antlers while some 2-year-old or older bucks have spike antlers.

Other eastern Oregon hunts in the 600 series that allow for buck harvest will be moved to the 100 series buck hunts for consistency and to more equitably distribute hunting opportunity by giving each hunter one buck hunting opportunity every year.

General season antlerless elk damage tag pilot program

Over the last few decades, elk populations in many areas have increased on private land adjacent to row crop or irrigated agricultural lands, leading to conflict, economic damage, and reduced hunting opportunity in some units.

ODFW and landowners use a variety of tools to address this damage, including hunting through controlled antlerless elk hunting and damage tags. However, controlled hunts can be inconvenient for hunters who must know far in advance (by May 15) that they will have private land access and want this as their elk hunting opportunity. Damage tags can be cumbersome for landowners and staff to implement. In many areas, overall harvest is still inadequate and private land elk populations continue to increase.

OREGON HUNTING MANAGERS HAVE A NEW PLAN FOR ACCESSING ELK CAUSING DAMAGE ON PRIVATE LAND. (RICK SWART, ODFW)

To address these issues, ODFW is proposing a new general season elk damage tag with an antlerless bag limit for the 2020 hunting season. This tag would replace 19 controlled hunts and the need for landowner damage tags during those timeframes (Aug. 1-March 31 for elk de-emphasis areas and western Oregon, and Aug. 1-Nov. 30 in other areas). The tags would be valid in specific chronic elk damage areas mapped annually by ODFW. Hunters considering this new opportunity would still need to think ahead about permission to hunt on private land for this tag and the tag would be their only elk hunting opportunity.

ODFW also proposes changing a few general bull elk rifle seasons in eastern Oregon (in Hood, White River, and central and SE Cascades) to controlled hunts, both for consistency and because some units are not meeting bull ratio objectives under the general season structure.

Other proposed changes include:

  • Longer, later seasons for pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and Rocky Mountain goat hunts to give hunters who draw one of these prized tags a later opening and more time to hunt.
  • 127 existing hunts being consolidated into 49 hunts.
  • 91 hunt dates expanded, made simpler or made consistent with other hunts.
  • 85 hunt areas expanded to the entire unit or hunt boundaries were made simpler.
  • 57 bag limits made simpler or made consistent with other hunts.
  • Nine new controlled hunt opportunities, including three late season mule deer hunts, two mountain goat hunts, and a pronghorn hunt.

A more complete list of proposed changes is available on MyODFW.com (under Big Game Hunting). ODFW is also hosting public meetings around the state in July to present these ideas and get feedback (meeting schedule will be posted on MyODFW.com in June).

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will be briefed on these concepts at their June 6 meeting in Salem, and make a final decision at their Sept. 13 meeting in Gold Beach when they adopt 2020 Big Game Regulations. Comments on the proposals can also be emailed to odfw.commission@state.or.us

ODFW Premium, Controlled Hunt App Deadline May 15; Heads Up On Baker Co. Ranch Access

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

One week left to apply for “Premium” hunt of a lifetime and other controlled hunts: Deadline May 15, 2019

It’s the hunt of a lifetime—though you can win it more than once.

Premium Hunts (see photos) are Oregon’s premiere hunting opportunity for both residents and non-residents—deer, elk and pronghorn antelope tags with a four-month season (Aug. 1-Nov. 30) and any-sex bag limit.

FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAMON STEELHAMMER OF EUGENE POSES WITH HIS FOSSIL UNIT BULL ELK, TAKEN ON DAY FIVE OF A PREMIUM TAG HUNT LAST SEASON. (BRYAN MURPHY VIA ODFW)

Like all limited-entry controlled hunts, applications are $8, and due no later than 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. Premium Hunt tags also cost the same as other big game tags.

But the draw for Premium Hunts is not based on preference points, so everyone has an equal chance to draw each year. And unlike “once-in-a-lifetime” bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat tags, Premium Hunts can be drawn again and again.

Premium Hunts are also considered additional tags—meaning winners can still hunt on their regular controlled or general season big game tag.

Finally, both residents and non-residents can apply and both have an equal chance to draw.

How to apply
It’s easy to apply online at www.myodfw.com Click the “Buy License/Apply for tag” button and login. If you haven’t created an online account yet, use Verify/Look Up Account to find your profile and create one. (All hunters and anglers who have purchased an annual license in the past three years, have preference points, or have Pioneer or Disability status need to use Verify/Look Up Account as they already have a profile in the new system.)

Once you are logged in or have set up your account, go to Purchase from the Catalog / Big Game Hunting / Controlled Hunts and choose the deer, elk or pronghorn antelope Premium Hunt application. Then Proceed to Checkout to make your hunt selections (hunts are selected before you enter your payment information and complete the purchase). Reminder that as with all controlled hunt applications, a hunting license is required to apply. For a step-by-step guide to applying online, visit https://medium.com/@MyODFW/how-to-apply-for-a-controlled-hunt-online-ed08f04b0345

One Premium deer, elk or pronghorn antelope tag is available in just about every unit where these species occur, see page 64-66 of 2019 Oregon Big Game Regulations or the online regulations (http://www.eregulations.com/oregon/big-game-hunting/premium-hunts/) for details and hunt numbers.

You can also apply for Premium and all other controlled hunts at ODFW offices that sell licenses and at license sale agents. Hunters are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to avoid long lines on deadline day.

More about Premium Hunts
ODFW first introduced Premium Hunts in 2016 to offer every hunter the chance to win the hunt of a lifetime at the cost of a regular tag. Last year, the Wenaha elk, Metolius deer, and W Beaty Butte-N70B pronghorn antelope were the most sought-after hunts with the most first-choice applicants. Find out more about the most and least applied for hunts at https://myodfw.com/articles/premium-big-game-hunts

To see photos and stories from 2018 Premium Hunt winners, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/premium_hunts/2018_winners/EverallDeerMurderersCreekcreditAndyDill.asp

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Lookout Mt. hunters: Forsea Ranch Access Area not available for fall big game hunting

Hunters should be aware that the Forsea Ranch Access Area is ending its participation in the Access and Habitat (A and H) program and will not be available to hunt through the program after July 31, 2019.

The property had provided open “Welcome to Hunt” access to more than 9,000 acres of private land in the Lookout Mt. Unit (Baker County). Hunters applying for fall big game controlled hunts in the unit will not be able to hunt this access area through the A and H program this fall.

AN ODFW HUNTING MAP SHOWS THE FORSEA RANCH, WHICH IS PULLING OUT OF THE STATE AGENCY’S ACCESS PROGRAM FOLLOWING A DISPUTE OVER A ROAD WITH BAKER COUNTY. (ODFW)

The fall controlled hunts affected are #164 (buck deer); #s 264A1, 264A2, 264X, 264Y (elk); #464 (pronghorn antelope); #s 564A1 and 564A2 (bighorn sheep). The deadline to apply for all fall controlled hunts is next Wednesday, May 15.

Hunters who have already applied for a controlled hunt in Lookout Mt and wish to change their hunt choice based on the closure of Forsea Ranch Access Area have until June 1 to do so. The easiest way to change a hunt choice is to login to your MyODFW.com account, go to Recreational Portfolio/Controlled Hunts and then click the Edit button next to Hunt Choices. Hunters who haven’t logged in to their online account yet should use the “Verify/Look Up Your account” button to retrieve and set up their online account.

Hunt choices can also be changed through June 1 at ODFW offices that sell licenses, at license sale agents, or by contacting Licensing (odfw.websales@state.or.us, tel. (503) 947-6101).

Forsea Ranch Access Area participated in ODFW’s A and H Program, which provides grants to landowners to allow hunters to access their private land. The property was originally scheduled to be in the program through 2021.

The landowner notified ODFW late last week that he was “regretfully” discontinuing participation in the program as of July 31, 2019 due to a disagreement with Baker County involving a public road.

Lookout Mt. is only 38 percent public land so A and H properties provide important hunter access in the unit. Other A and H properties in the unit include Widman Access Area, Troy Ranches Access Area, MR King Access Area, Virtue Flat Access Area and Iron Mountain Access Area. Find more information at https://myodfw.com/articles/hunting-access-map