Tag Archives: Oregon hunters association

Op-Ed: More Intensive Cougar Management Tools Needed In Oregon — OHA

THE FOLLOWING IS AN OP ED FROM THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION

By Jim Akenson

The fatal cougar attack on a hiker in the Mount Hood National Forest last year was a tragic thing. Evidence evaluation indicated the cougar was a female in good health. Is this a surprise? Not really.

OREGON WILDLIFE MANAGERS IDENTIFIED THIS COUGAR AS THE ONE THAT KILLED HIKER DIANA BOBER IN LATE SUMMER NEAR MT. HOOD. THE ANIMAL WAS TRACKED DOWN AND LETHALLY REMOVED. (ODFW)

Cougar numbers are at all-time highs for our state, and the distribution of these cats encompasses the entire state. What has accounted for this cougar population expansion from an estimation of less than 3,000 in the mid-1990s to well over 6,000 today? Some of the answer is biological, some is social, and much is connected to management capabilities and practices. We need to find a way to return to this socio-biological balance, and looking to the recent past might just be the best bet – back to a time when hound hunting was a legal and effective management tool in Oregon.

What are the consequences of there being double the number of cougars in Oregon? These effects are best described as alarming and pattern changing. One such pattern is for prey animals, specifically deer, relocating to human development areas to avoid a higher predation risk. This relocation is also drawing in cougars that will go where the next meal can be found. Many hunters and state wildlife managers report that deer are now less abundant in the wilder mountain, high desert, and canyon regions of our state. Meanwhile, Oregon cities are wrestling with the number of deer inhabiting city limits, and cougars are showing up in backyards and schoolyards.

As cougars become more comfortable in human-altered landscapes, the probability of negative encounters with humans, as well as pets and livestock, increases.

JIM AKENSON. (OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION)

So, what is the solution? Biologically, it is plain and simple – more intensive cougar management through various hunting techniques. With an estimated population of 6,400 cougars, and roughly 14,000 people hunting cougars and harvesting from 250 to 300 cats per year, this only equals a harvest rate of 4 percent, which is not enough to even flatten the ever-rising cougar population curve.

Reducing human threat, increasing deer and elk survival, and bringing a cougar population back in balance with other interests in our state will require increased management action and efficiency. According to the 2017 Oregon Cougar Management Plan, the success rate for 2016 cougar hunters was 1.9 percent, with 13,879 people reporting that they did hunt cougars. Contrast that with 1994 data, the last year that dogs were allowed in conservatively controlled, limited-entry cougar hunting, showing 358 people hunted cougars and harvested 144 for a success rate of 40.2 percent. Bottom line: hunting efficiency with dogs is dramatically higher, and provides wildlife managers a reliable tool for maintaining the cougar population within its management objectives.

Oregon’s cougar management and record keeping are divided into six zones, each of which is assigned a desired harvest quota to keep the population in balance with the varied activities of all Oregonians. Employing the current limited management methods, only one of the six zones has met the harvest quota in recent years. A criterion for quota establishment is complaint frequency. By far the most cougar complaints are recorded on the west side of the Cascades, including the coastal region, in Zones A and B. This is also where the bulk of the human population lives. More than 350 cougar complaints per year were received during the last decade in these two zones. Unfortunately, this recording system was not initiated until 2001, so we don’t have data for the time before the dog ban of 1994. We do have records for administrative actions connected to human safety and pet conflicts before and after the dog ban of 1994. For eight years before the ban, they averaged only four per year, and then seven years after the dog ban these complaints increased to 27 per year – nearly a seven-fold increase.

Oregon does have a legislatively authorized agent program wherein highly vetted houndsmen are permitted to lethally remove cats to reduce human conflict and bolster deer and elk survival. These agents work closely with ODFW district biologists. Even with this program in place, cougars are steadily increasing in Oregon, where hunting them is very impractical without the aid of dogs. At present, the law authorizing the use of agents is up for renewal, and hopefully it will receive legislative support and then be applied more broadly for both reaching zone harvest quotas and to help curb the upward statewide population trajectory.

Editor’s note: Jim Akenson is a wildlife biologist, book author and Conservation Director for the Oregon Hunters Association (oregonhunters.org). He invested much of his career in researching the Northwest’s predators.

‘Great Victory … For Elk And Elk Habitat’: OHA On US Judge’s Ochoco NF Trail Decision

THE FOLLOWING IS AN OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION PRESS RELEASE

A U.S. District Court Judge in Portland today upheld the August findings of a Pendleton Magistrate Judge, siding with the Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) and other groups who filed suit to stop the U.S. Forest Service from building an additional 137 miles of off highway vehicle (OHV) trails in critical elk habitat on the Ochoco National Forest.

(JIM WARD, OHA)

District Judge Marco Hernandez adopted the findings of Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan, who on Aug. 27, ruled for OHA on four of the five claims made against the project. Finding that the Forest Service made an “arbitrary and capricious” decision to approve the project, she recommended that the Record of Decision be set aside. The judge’s decision essentially kills the project unless the Forest Service goes back to the drawing board.

OHA, a nonprofit group of more than 10,000 hunters, filed a lawsuit in 2017 challenging the Forest Service’s Record of Decision to implement the project. OHA’s claims that the project violated road density standards in the Ochoco National Forest Plan and didn’t adequately address protection for elk during calving and rutting seasons prevailed.

“It’s a great victory for OHA and for elk and elk habitat on the forest,” said OHA attorney Scott Jerger. “Judge Hernandez adopted and agreed with all of the Magistrate Judge’s rulings on OHA’s legal claims. The project is now officially dead, and the Forest Service must return to the drawing board to address the numerous legal deficiencies in its analysis.”

Jim Akenson, OHA’s conservation director, was pleased with the decision.

“It’s a good day for elk, hunters, and conservation,” said Akenson. “OHA is not opposed to responsible OHV use, we are just opposed to the disturbance and displacement of elk in critical habitat that would move them off public land onto nearby private land, where they would get themselves into trouble. We filed this lawsuit as a last resort.”

The Ochoco Mountains have historically been some of the best habitat for deer and elk in Oregon. Information published on ODFW’s website reveals that hunting contributes more than $14 million to central Oregon’s tourism economy and more than $104 million to the statewide tourism economy on an annual basis.

OHA’s successful suit was funded by OHA’s Hunter’s Victory Fund and Wildlife SuperFund, with major contributions from OHA’s Bend Chapter and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

OHA (oregonhunters.org) is the state’s largest Oregon-based pro-hunting organization, with 10,000 members and 26 chapters statewide. Its mission is “Protecting Oregon’s wildlife, habitat and hunting heritage.”

$7,500 Reward, Guided Hunt Now Offered For Info On Oregon Moose Poaching

Editor’s note: The following post has been updated (12-12-18, 8:50 a.m.) with a press release (at top) from the Oregon Hunters Association.

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION AND OREGON STATE POLICE

The Oregon Hunters Association’s Union-Wallowa Chapter has pledged $500 toward the reward for information leading to an arrest in the case of a bull moose poached in Wallowa County, bringing the total reward offered to $7,500. Area landowners are offering a Landowner Preference bull elk tag as part of the reward.

(ODFW)

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers are asking for the public’s assistance in locating and apprehending whoever is responsible for shooting a bull moose sometime between Nov. 8 and Nov. 11 (the last couple of days of the second Bull Elk Season) in Wallowa County.

OHA offers a $1,000 reward from the Turn In Poachers fund, and 11 OHA chapters (Union/Wallowa, Emerald Valley, Yamhill, Clatsop, Josephine County, Capitol, Ochoco, Bend, Columbia County, Umpqua, Rogue Valley, Tualatin Valley and Hoodview) pledged $500 each.

“The poaching of a moose is a tragic thing,” said OHA Conservation Director Jim Akenson, who resides in Wallowa County. “Especially because our moose population is low – fewer than 70 in Oregon. For perspective, gray wolves already number more than twice that many in Oregon, so moose should deserve at least equal management protection.”

Also offered as part of the reward for information leading to an arrest is a Landowner Preference bull elk tag for the Krebs Ranch in the Chesnimnus Unit for the second bull season in 2019. The tag, arranged by Wallowa County resident Jim Zacharias, must be purchased from ODFW by the recipient.

The moose was shot and partially cut up off of the USFS 46 Road between Teepee Pond and mile marker 35 in the Chesnimnus Unit. The suspect(s) accessed the moose carcass from a campsite on the north side of the USFS 46 Road. Additionally, a side-by-side UTV was used to haul the moose meat and parts from the kill site back to the campsite.

Anyone with information that will help identify the suspect(s), is asked to call the TIP line at (800) 452-7888, *OSP (677) or Senior Trooper Mark Knapp at (541) 426-3049.

Informants providing information leading to an arrest in the case could be eligible for 5 big game preference points in lieu of the standard $1,000 TIP reward for a moose case. Callers may remain anonymous and still collect a reward.

In 2017, OHA (www.oregonhunters.org) increased the TIP reward amounts and paid a record $24,200 to informants in fish and wildlife violation cases.

……………………………………….

OREGON STATE POLICE PRESS RELEASE

Pledges from OHA chapters across the state have poured in thus increasing the cash reward amount to $7,500 for information leading to the issuance of a citation or arrest for the bull moose unlawfully killed in the Chesnimnus unit.

In addition to the cash reward the Krebs Ranch, located near the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in the Chesnimnus unit, notified the Oregon Hunters Association, that they are also offering a guided bull elk hunt valued at $3,500, to the person that provides the information.

“The poaching of a moose is a tragic thing,” said OHA Conservation Director Jim Akenson, who resides in Wallowa County. “Especially because our moose population is low with fewer than 70 in Oregon.”

‘We Fought For Elk, And Won’–OHA On Judge’s Recommendation Against Ochoco OHV Expansion Plan

Unlike the other end of the wildlife spectrum, sportsmen conservationists don’t often go to court, but hunters are heralding a federal judge’s recent preliminary decision against a plan to build 137 miles of new offroad trails in a Central Oregon national forest.

THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION AND OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE HAVE BEEN OPPOSED TO THE PROPOSED NEW OFF-HIGHWAY TRAILS THROUGH THE OCHOCO NATIONAL FOREST BECAUSE OF IMPACTS TO ELK HABITAT. DARREN ASHLEY HARVESTED THIS BULL IN THE OCHOCO UNIT A COUPLE SEASONS AGO. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

“We fought for elk, and won,” said Jim Akenson, conservation director for the Oregon Hunters Association, in a press release.

OHA was among several parties that filed a lawsuit to halt a U.S. Forest Service bid to put in the off-highway vehicle trails through critical habitat in the Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville.

They argued that the forest plan violated road density standards and didn’t adequately consider how it would affect calving and rutting elk, according to a press release.

US District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan in Pendleton recommended that the Forest Service’s record of decision on the project be set aside.

A local TV report termed it “preliminary” as Sullivan’s ruling must be reviewed by another federal arbiter, Judge Marco Hernandez in Portland, with both sides able to submit more arguments. But according to an attorney quoted by the station, it is rare for magistrate’s decisions to be overturned.

No doubt that OHVs are a good way to get around the woods and haul out big game, but according to a Northwest big game biologist’s 2013 paper summarizing the impacts of roads and traffic on elk, the vehicles cause the most disturbance for the species, leading bulls, cows and calves to react “negatively” to them at distances of even two-thirds of a mile away.

“OHA did everything they could to participate in the Forest Service planning process and raise their concerns about impacts on elk security and habitat,” said OHA Legislative Director Paul Donheffner in a press release. “We filed this lawsuit as a last resort. This was a very good day for OHA, other conservation groups that value the Ochocos, and for elk. Prevailing against the federal government is no easy match. This is a great victory for OHA and our mission.”

The main lawsuit was filed by Central Oregon Land Watch, with OHA filing a companion case. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has also opposed the new trails. We covered the issue in our September 2013 issue.

ODFW, OSP Team To Remove Arrows From 2 Shady Cove Does; Search Still On For Poacher

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

Two deer, illegally shot with arrows in the Shady Cove area, were successfully tranquilized yesterday and the arrows removed.

(OSP)

ODFW wildlife biologists and Oregon State Police fish and wildlife officers worked together to track and tranquilize the deer, remove the arrows and treat the wounds. The deer, an adult doe and a yearling doe, were successfully released in good health with no visible infection.

(OSP)

“Pictures of these deer stuck with arrows have been circulating widely in the media and social media, and understandably, it’s upsetting to see. We are happy to say the arrows were removed and these deer have a very good chance of survival,” said Steve Niemela, Rogue District Wildlife Biologist.

Last week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State police began receiving calls from landowners in Shady Cove who saw these deer on their properties. Niemela said this is the second time in two years deer were illegally shot with arrows.

“This is not ethical hunting, it’s a twisted act of poaching,” said Zach Lycett, board member of the Rogue Valley Chapter of Oregon Hunter’s Association. “True ethical hunters respect the animals they hunt and are grateful for the opportunities to hunt. We do not stand for these kinds of criminal acts.”

OSP Sergeant Jim Collom said OSP is investigating and encourages anyone with information to call the TIP line at 1-800-452-7888.

The Rogue Valley OHA contributed $1,500, Ashland Archers contributed $100 and Dewclaw Archery contributed $500 to add on to the Oregon Hunter’s Association’s standard $500 reward for information leading t

Record Payout For Oregon Anti-poaching Reward Program In 2017

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION

The Oregon Hunters Association’s Turn In Poachers (TIP) reward fund paid a record $24,200 in rewards to informants in poaching cases last year, according to a report delivered to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission by OHA State Vice President John Gander on Friday, Feb. 9 in Portland.

OREGON STATE POLICE CREDITED THE TURN-IN-POACHERS PROGRAM IN PART FOR DEVELOPING SUSPECTS, INCLUDING NATHAN W. CROUCH, IN THE SHOOTING AND WASTING OF TWO BULL ELK NEAR ELGIN IN NOVEMBER 2016. (OSP)

The rewards were paid in 50 separate fish and wildlife violation cases reported to Oregon State Police Offices throughout the state.

Both the number of cases and reward sums easily eclipsed all previous marks in the program’s 32-year history. Reward cases in recent years have typically numbered from 20 to 35, and total reward amounts averaged approximately $10,000.

OHA in 2017 increased the standard reward amounts, which now range from $100 for birds, fish and furbearers to $500 for deer, elk and antelope and $1,000 for bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose.

OHA State Coordinator Duane Dungannon, whose OHA Office issues the reward checks, believes the increased reward amounts likely contributed to the sharp increases in cases as well as the sum of rewards.

“Obviously increasing the amounts of each reward will result in a greater total paid for the year, but the jump in the number of TIP cases – where a caller requests the reward – suggests there’s more going on,” Dungannon said. “The rewards offered are included in news releases published in local media when a poaching case occurs and police are looking for leads, so members of the public can see that we’re offering them some sizable sums to do the right thing.”

An increased level of public awareness may be a factor, as well, according to Lieutenant Craig Heuberger of the Fish and Wildlife Division at the Oregon State Police headquarters in Salem.

“I think it is a combination of different things,” Heuberger said. “We are doing a better job of advertising the TIP program through social media such as our monthly newsletter, Twitter, and Facebook. When we make a TIP case and are able to promote it, we try to channel that information out to the public every chance we get.

THE UPDATED TURN IN POACHERS LOGO FEATURES THE OREGON STATE POLICE’S NEW MOBILE NUMBER, *OSP. (OHA)

“Internally we have changed the administration of the TIP program to make it easier for the Troopers to get the information they need to promote the TIP program to the public, and we have also streamlined the reporting mechanism to make it easier for Troopers to turn the documentation in that is needed to facilitate a TIP request to OHA.”

Started in 1986 with startup funds from OHA and Leupold & Stevens, the TIP fund is largely self-sustaining as the result of courts ordering convicted violators to pay restitution to the fund. The $23,917 restitution paid to the reward fund in 2017 nearly equaled the reward amounts paid for the year.

Poaching will be a major emphasis in the current state legislative session that opened this week. One bill would better enable courts to apply the penalties already in place for poaching. In addition, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will present a proposal for a poaching public awareness campaign, mandated by a budget note requested by OHA and attached to the agency’s budget when it was approved last year.

OHA chapters and other conservation groups sometimes pledge additional amounts in particularly heinous poaching cases. Reward offers have exceeded $17,000 in a few cases, including one involving a recent northeast Oregon bighorn sheep poaching and another in a southern Oregon elk killing and wasting spree that took place for an extended period of time. When the reward of $17,500 was offered, the elk killing stopped.

OHA (oregonhunters.org) is the state’s largest Oregon-based pro-hunting organization, with 10,000 members and 26 chapters statewide. Its mission is “Protecting Oregon’s wildlife, habitat and hunting heritage.”

How the TIP Program Works

Callers can remain anonymous and still collect a reward from OHA if the information leads to a citation.
TIP hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or dial *OSP (24/7)
TIP email: TIP@state.or.us (monitored weekdays 8 a.m to 5 p.m.)
Use the TIP hotline on weekends and evenings.

Standard rewards:

Bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose: $1,000.
Elk, deer, antelope: $500.
Bear, cougar, wolf: $300.
Habitat destruction: $300.
Illegally obtaining Oregon hunting or angling license or tags: $200.
Game fish, shellfish, upland birds, waterfowl, furbearers: $100.

Group Effort Solves Public Access Dispute In Prime Oregon Elk Country

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The public will continue to have access to 43,000 acres of central Oregon’s prime elk country thanks to a group effort including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Bureau of Land Management, Crook County, Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) and the Waibel Ranches, LLC.

A BLM IMAGE SHOWS THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED ROAD. (BLM)

“We are pleased that all parties could come together to provide continued access to a part of Oregon revered by elk hunters and others,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Opening or improving access to our public lands lies at the core of our conservation mission. We hear time and time again from our members how important it is that we carry out this public access work.”

At issue was what was thought to be a public road through private land south of Prineville in the Crooked River drainage that provided access to the southern end of Ochoco National Forest. RMEF provided title work and research that showed continuous public use of the road since the late 1800s.

Waibel Ranches, LLC facilitated the construction of the new road at their own expense and at their own initiative. They did so in order to provide access to the same public lands as a means to reduce the liability, trespass, poaching and littering associated with public travel along the old Teaters Road.

A CLOSED GATE NOW BLOCKS OFF THE OLD TEATERS ROAD. (BLM)

“It’s great to have a partner like RMEF to help find solutions to public land access issues,” said Dennis Teitzel, Prineville BLM district manager.

“This project provides access for hunters and all others that could have been lost without the cooperation and efforts of several organizations. The landowners should be thanked for their willingness to work to solve a problem for the benefit for all,” said Richard Nelson, OHA Bend Chapter past president. “It shows what can be accomplished when all work on a solution instead of locking in to an adversary position.”

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 875 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $57.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 793,317 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 90,073 acres.

Oregon Hunters Files Suit Against USFS Over OHV Trails Through Critical Ochoco Elk Habitat

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION

The Oregon Hunters Association (OHA), a nonprofit group of more than 10,000 hunters, has filed a lawsuit challenging the June 27 Record of Decision by the U.S. Forest Service to build an additional 137 miles of off highway vehicle (OHV) trails on the Ochoco National Forest.

THE FOREST SERVICE’S OCHOCO SUMMIT OHV TRAIL WAS THE SUBJECT OF A JULY 2014 ARTICLE IN NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN NOTING BOTH THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION’S AND DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE’S OPPOSITION. (USFS)

OHA’s State Board of Directors, staff, and Central Oregon OHA chapters have opposed the Ochoco Summit Trail Project since it was proposed in 2009. OHA and others, including the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, have been fully engaged in the public process to oppose adding 137 miles of OHV trails and roads in critically important elk habitat.

The lawsuit filed by OHA states that the decision to approve this project is not supported by scientific wildlife research conducted by the Forest Service on the Starkey Experimental Forest in northeast Oregon. According the Jim Akenson, OHA conservation director, the project would add significant new road and trail use, which has been shown by the Forest Service’s own scientists to have adverse impacts on elk habitat and security. Research on the Starkey Experimental Forest has found that elk avoid areas with 1.1 miles of roads or motorized trails.

“This project would displace elk and force them from public to private lands, resulting in more damage complaints and fewer elk to pursue for the public land hunter,” Akenson said.

IN THEIR FEDERAL LAWSUIT, OHA SAYS THAT THE USFS FAILED TO ANALYZE THE TRAIL’S IMPACTS ON ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK. THE ORGANIZATION FEARS IT WILL JUST MOVE MORE WAPITI TO LOWER GROUND, WHERE THERE ARE ALREADY PROBLEMS AND WHICH WOULD RESULT IN LOST HUNTING OPPORTUNITY. (OHA)

OHA filed a lawsuit in the Pendleton Division of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. Scott Jerger, an attorney for OHA, explained that OHA’s suit alleges that the Forest Service’s decision violates the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“OHA did everything they could to participate in the Forest Service planning process and raise their concerns about impacts on elk security and habitat,” said Jerger.  “The final decision by the Ochoco National Forest left OHA with no other option but to seek relief from the Court.”

The Ochoco Mountains have historically been some of the best habitat for deer and elk in Oregon.

THE OCHOCOS ARE GOOD HABITAT FOR ELK BUT RESEARCH HAS SHOWN ROADS HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THEIR BEHAVIOR. (OHA)

Information published on ODFW’s website reveals that hunting contributes more than $14 million to central Oregon’s tourism economy and more than $104 million to the statewide tourism economy on an annual basis.

“OHA filed this lawsuit as a last resort,” said Paul Donheffner, OHA’s Legislative Director.  “We were very frustrated that despite the objections of ODFW, OHA and others, the Forest Service disregarded their own studies and plans to approve this project. This is not about off-road vehicles, which certainly have their place. This is all about protecting the Ochocos for elk.”

OHA (oregonhunters.org) is the state’s largest Oregon-based pro-hunting organization, with 10,000 members and 26 chapters statewide. Its mission is “Protecting Oregon’s wildlife, habitat and hunting heritage.”

Oregon’s Elliott State Forest Remains Public

The Elliott State Forest was officially kept public in a ceremony near Reedsport this morning, a victory by and for hunters, anglers and others and ending the potential threat of lost recreational access.

A CREEK FLOWS THROUGH A PORTION OF THE ELLIOTT STATE FOREST AT THE SITE OF A STREAM IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. THE 82,500 ACRES OF OREGON’S OLDEST FOREST ARE HOME TO COHO, ELK, DEER, GROUSE AND OTHER CRITTERS. (OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY)

Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law a local lawmaker’s bill that moves the 82,500-acre parcel between the Umpqua and Coos Rivers out of the Common School Fund and its obligations to produce revenue, which had led to its near-sale to a private timber company and a local tribe.

“Oregonians overwhelmingly made it clear that the Elliott’s lands should remain in public hands. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we not scale back any of Oregon’s public lands or national monuments,” Brown said, crediting fellow members of the state Land Board Tobias Read and Dennis Richardson, as well as bill sponsor Sen. Arnie Roblan and the state legislature for their work.

SB 847 passed the Senate 21-6 and the House 47-12. It raises $100 million in bonds to partially offset the transfer out of the school fund.

Among those on hand at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area was Ken McCall, resource director for the Oregon Hunters Association, and speaking on behalf of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and the Wild Salmon Center.

“Our public lands are highly valued among the groups involved in our coalition,” McCall said. “We see many benefits and opportunities to improve and share the Elliott’s public-land habitats that support our outdoor interests. The Elliott shines as an opportunity to continue a multiple-use forest model in Oregon’s Coast Range … We can envision a strategy that includes research, education, habitat management and recreation among the many benefits of our public lands.”

“Finding creative ways to keep public lands in public hands is paramount in our fight against losing access to the lands and waters that we as sportsmen and women love,” said Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Oregon Chair Ian Isaacson in a press release. “Just as important is engagement by the public. We must be active participants in the entire process, no matter how difficult, tiring and frustrating as it may be.”