Tag Archives: Oregon

2018 Northwest Spring Turkey Forecast

Prospects look good, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s regional turkey biologist. Here are her forecasts for Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

By Mikal Cline

Oregon’s wild turkeys continue to thrive, despite some mortality during the winter of 2016-17. We may notice a missing cohort of 2-year-old toms in the field this year, but in general the populations are quite healthy.

TACOMA CLOWERS OF THE BEND AREA GOT INTO THE DOUBLE BONUS DURING THE 2015 SPRING GOBBLER HUNT IN EASTERN OREGON, A PAIR OF ELK ANTLER SHEDS. HIS UNCLE CARL LEWALLEN SENT THE PIC. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

Oregon primarily offers Rio Grande wild turkey hunting, though some Merriam’s still persist in the Cascades. Oregon’s core populations exist in the southwest portion of the state, in the vicinity of Roseburg and Medford. The scattered oak savannas and transitional pine forests offer excellent habitat. Mild winters and early springs contribute to high survival and productivity.

OREGON’S “GOOD OLD” DOUGLAS COUNTY PAID OFF FOR JAYCE WILDER DURING THE 2016 SPRING HUNT. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

Take advantage of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Access & Habitat Program (dfw.state.or.us/lands/AH) if you are struggling to find good hunting access in this area. The Jackson Travel Management Area near Shady Cove is a personal favorite.

Wild turkeys also thrive on Forest Service land from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, in the northeast corner of the state, over to the Ochocos. The Malheur National Forest is one of my favorite spots to hunt turkeys in Central Oregon, thanks to healthy populations and excellent public access. Wild turkey density starts to thin out in the Central Cascades, but the White River area continues to be a big producer.

SHHH, DON’T TELL THE TRUANT OFFICER, BUT KEVIN KENYON SKIPPED SCHOOL DURING LAST YEAR’S TURKEY SEASON, BAGGING THIS BIRD WHILE HUNTING WITH HIS UNCLE. “TOOK ALMOST 3 HOURS BUT WHEN YOUR TURKEY HUNTING PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE,” NOTED KEVIN’S DAD, MARK. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

ODFW made a concerted effort to trap and transplant overstocked birds this past winter. I believe we can expect some emerging opportunities in South-central Oregon (think Klamath to Lakeview), thanks to this effort. The Ochocos and White River Wildlife Management Unit populations will also benefit from ODFW’s efforts.

The south Willamette Valley, particularly Lane County, is another emerging opportunity for wild turkey hunters, should they be able to secure hunting access.

JACOB HALEY NOTCHES HIS YOUTH TURKEY TAG FOLLOWING A SUCCESSFUL MORNING WITH “GUIDE” TROY RODAKOWSKI IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY. (TROY RODAKOWSKI)

IDAHO BUMPS BAG

Spring turkey hunters in the Gem State can now take two bearded birds a day, thanks to a rule change from the Fish and Game Commission earlier this year. 

It’s yet another sign that gobblers are doing well in much of their range across Idaho.

“They’re overrun,” jokes NWTF’s Mikal Cline. It’s going to be a great turkey season in Idaho.”

Commissioners also increased fall hunting opportunities in the Panhandle, Clearwater and Southwest regions, and added youth spring and fall controlled hunts in the Salmon district.

However, the general spring turkey season was closed in Unit 70, in Southeast Idaho.

The annual limit is still two bearded turkeys per spring.

WASHINGTON’S EASTSIDE TURKEY populations are robust, prompting the Department of Fish and Wildlife to propose more liberal fall seasons in some locations. The core population of Washington’s turkeys occurs in the northeast corner of the state, consisting primarily of the Merriam’s subspecies. Colville is the epicenter of spring turkey hunting in Washington, boasting high hunter success rates and a turkey harvest that is an order of magnitude greater than any other turkey management unit in
the state.

HOW JEREMY RACE CORRALLED THREE LITTLE BOYS TO SIT STILL FOR ANY PERIOD OF TIME DURING THIS SPRING TURKEY HUNT IS ANYBODY’S GUESS, BUT HIS NEPHEW CARTER MADE GOOD ON HIS SHOT OPPORTUNITY. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

We are seeing increased nuisance and damage complaints coming from the suburban fringes of Spokane and Cheney, but hunter access remains a constraint. We are also seeing increasing hybridization between Rio Grande and Merriam’s in this area.

JOHNNY HONE DOWNED HIS FIRST GOBBLER WITH A SINGLE SHOT FROM HIS 20-GAUGE SHOTGUN AT 25 YARDS AFTER HIS DAD JOHN CALLED HIM WITHIN RANGE. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

The foothills of the Blue Mountains in Southeast Washington are also a world-class destination, with the towns of Dayton, Pomeroy and Walla Walla serving as gateways for excellent Rio Grande turkey hunting.

The Klickitat River watershed offers the best turkey hunting closer to the west side of the state. Check with WDFW for access opportunities on wildlife areas and industrial timberlands in the area.

THE HARSH WINTER OF 2016-17 MAY HAVE LINGERING EFFECTS ON HOW MANY TURKEYS SPRING HUNTERS SEE IN SOME PARTS OF THE NORTHWEST, BUT OVERALL PROSPECTS ARE GOOD. RICH AND MATT OAKLEY OF VANCOUVER BAGGED THEIR FIRST EVER GOBBLERS IN KLICKITAT COUNTY ON THE SECOND DAY OF LAST YEAR’S HUNT. FRIEND GREG ELLYSON SENT THE PIC. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

Turkey hunting in Southwest Washington for the eastern subspecies continues to be a challenge. These flocks have never thrived, but do persist in certain areas, including Lewis County. Tapping into local knowledge is the best way to complete your Washington turkey slam, but you will have to work for it.

KEITH MOEN, THE SUBJECT OF A BIG ARTICLE IN OUR PAGES LAST FALL, HARVESTED THIS SPRING TURKEY A COUPLE SEASONS BACK IN NORTHEAST WASHINGTON. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

From Goldendale to the Methow, the east slope of the Cascades continues to hold pockets of wild turkeys, which do seem to be increasing, though there are not rigorous surveys in this area. Again, local knowledge from your district wildlife biologist will help you locate these birds.

MCKENNA RISLEY SHOWS OFF HER FIRST TURKEY, TAKEN IN THE METHOW VALLEY LAST SPRING WHILE HUNTING WITH HER DAD ROB. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

On an interesting note, we have heard evidence that wild turkeys have crossed Snoqualmie Pass and have been seen around North Bend.

Also, WDFW is in the process of updating its wild turkey management plan, including the trap and transplant operational guidelines. Until the plan is approved, T&T operations are on hold. 

Editor’s note: For more on how to hunt Northwest gobblers, check out the April issue of Northwest Sportsman!

$70 Million From Federal Fish, Wildlife Restoration Program Coming To Northwest DFWs

Northwest fish and wildlife managers will receive nearly $70 million for fish and wildlife this year, thanks to the annual disbursement of funds from two key federal programs.

Oregon is set to receive the most, $25,510,834, through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts which help restore game and sportfish through excise taxes on certain hunting, angling and boating purchases.

THE FIRST CHUNKS OF THE SINLAHEKIN WILDLIFE AREA, WASHINGTON’S OLDEST, WAS PURCHASED USING PITTMAN-ROBERTSON ACT FUNDING IN 1939.. (JUSTIN HAUG, WDFW)

Washington will see $22,232,988 and Idaho $21,904,604.

The figures were announced yesterday by Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior.

“Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation,” Zinke said in a press release. “The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”

The feds use a formula based on how many fishing and hunting licenses that ODFW, WDFW, IDFG and other agencies sell, as well as land size to disburse the funding.

Texas received the most this year, at $54 million, following by Alaska at $51 million and California at $42 million. 

According to the Department of Interior, since Pittman-Robertson went into effect in 1938 and Dingell-Johnson in 1950, a grand total of $20.2 billion has been sent back to the states.

“In discussions with hunters/anglers, we often mention that their license fees, leveraged with PR and DJ, account for about one-third of WDFW’s operating budget – a significant contribution,” WDFW Policy Director Nate Pamplin told me for a blog I posted here earlier this year on how much of your license revenue actually goes back to the agency.

Zinke made the announcement in Wisconsin, which was also the backdrop of a Tuesday NPR story on declining numbers of hunters, a warning about the impending “demographic wall” as baby boomers age out of the sport and attempts to get other outdoor enthusiasts and the public to pay a fairer share.

A bill in Congress would help fund managing the increasing numbers of endangered species across the country. Introduced in the House of Representatives last December, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act picked up more than two dozen cosponsors from both sides of the aisle earlier this month.

For more on the acts, the umbrella Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the 29 key words written in 1937 and which that require your fishing and hunting license money to go straight to the DFWs and not state general fund coffers, see this handy-dandy presentation.

ODFW’s Take A Friend Hunting Contest Winners Announced

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

A deer tag that’s good for three months statewide and a Leupold rifle scope valued at $690 are among the prizes 22 lucky hunters have won for taking part in the 2017 Take a Friend Hunting Contest.

A GRAPHIC SUPPLIED BY THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE FOR THE AGENCY’S NEW “TAKE A FRIEND HUNTING” CAMPAIGN, FEATURING SOME GREAT PRIZES. (ODFW)

The contest was launched in spring of last year to encourage experienced adult hunters to take out other adult friends and family members who had never hunted before or hadn’t gone in several years. (While ODFW has a variety of programs encouraging hunters to mentor youth in the sport, the contest was a way to incentivize mentoring among adult hunters.)

A total of 1,546 people signed up for the contest (773 entries of two hunters, the mentor and the mentee).

Outdoor businesses Cabela’s, Bi-Mart, David Kurt Handmade Knives, DICK’s Sporting Goods, Leupold, Nosler, SITKA Gear, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and Weatherby all donated prizes. Sportsmen conservation groups Ducks Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wild Sheep Foundation also donated prizes. (More details on prize donations below.)

“We thank all the hunters who signed up to participate, and all the vendors and groups that donated a prize,” said Chris Williard, ODFW Retention and Recruitment Coordinator.

The contest was part of larger ODFW efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of hunting among Oregonians and encourage more participation in the sport. Through their purchase of hunting licenses and equipment, hunters fund wildlife management, research, habitat restoration and other work that benefits both game species and wildlife species that aren’t hunted

ODFW is planning to host a similar contest in 2018. Look for details to be announced and registration to open sometime this spring at www.MyODFW.com

A list of winners of the 2017 Take a Friend Hunting Contest follows. Winners have already been notified and most prizes delivered.

Statewide deer tag (courtesy of ODFW)
Mark Anderson, Ione

Siberian Sidekick Cooler (donated by Mule Deer Foundation)
Erik Hasselmen, Eugene

Eberlestock Me Team Elk Pack (donated by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)
Dylan Boyer, Coos Bay

Leupold Rifle Scope (donated by Leupold)
Jason Saucedo, Tualatin

Timberline Jacket, Pants and Cap (donated by SITKA Gear)
Brian Alexander, Oakland

Wild Sheep package (Sitka hat, camo pullover, scope shield, etc.) (donated by Wild Sheep Foundation)
Mark Smith, Oak Grove

DICK’S $50 gift cards (four gift cards donated By DICK’s Sporting Goods)
Alfredo Cruz, Monmouth
Gordon Bristlin, Medford
Josh Rosin, Durkee
Kellen Huddleston, Portland

Bushnell Binoculars (donated by Bi-Mart)
Jeremy Hruska (Philomath)

Alps Grand Slam Turkey Vest (donated by National Wild Turkey Federation)
James Munson, Milwaukie

David Kurt Handmade Knife (donated by David Kurt Handmade Knives)
Ryan Martin, Springfield

Sportsman’s Warehouse $300 gift card (donated by Sportsman’s Warehouse)
William Ham, Bend

TangleFree Deadzone Layout Blind (donated by Ducks Unlimited)
Rafael Friedenfels, Portland

Nosler $100 gift cards (five gift cards donated by Nosler)
Travis Rogers, Molalla
Levi Tickner, Bend
Marcus Starr, Seaside
Bob Perez, Silverton
Jeffery Birkholz, Salem

Cabela’s $500 gift card (donated by Cabela’s)
Robert Stahl, Pendleton

Weatherby Vanguard Rifle (donated by Weatherby)
Jon Blyeth, Keizer

2018’s First Free Fishing Weekend In Oregon Coming Up Soon

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

It’s free to fish, crab or clam on the Saturday and Sunday of President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 17-18, so take a friend!

OREGONIANS CAN GO CRABBING, CLAM DIGGING AND FISHING FOR FREE ON THE WEEKEND OF FEB. 17-18. (ODFW)

During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag and a Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. Although no licenses or tags are required, all other regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions.

“Free Fishing Weekends are a great opportunity for friends and families to get out and enjoy a day or two of fishing,” said Mike Gauvin, ODFW recreational fisheries manager. “Winter steelhead, trout, crabbing and clamming are just some of the great opportunities available.” Look for the best opportunities in ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report, which is updated online every Wednesday.

Under statute set by the Oregon State Legislature, ODFW can offer eight days of free fishing each year. The six other days of free fishing in Oregon this year are listed on page 16 of the 2018 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations and are June 2-3, Sept. 1-2 (Sat.-Sun. of Labor Day Weekend) and Nov. 23-24 (the two days after Thanksgiving).

ODFW Sets Jan. 30 Meeting In Newport To Talk 2018 Halibut Seasons With Anglers

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

ODFW will be asking for public input on the upcoming spring halibut season for the central Oregon coast at a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the ODFW Marine Resources Program conference room, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport.

OREGON HALIBUT ANGLERS ARE BEING ASKED FOR INPUT ON THE 2018 FISHERIES OFF NEWPORT — WHERE JESSICA HERBORN CAUGHT THIS NICE ONE IN 2016 — AND ELSEWHERE ON THE CENTRAL COAST. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

ODFW staff will give an overview of the results of the International Pacific Halibut Commission Annual meeting and the resulting quotas.  Then meeting participants will be able to provide input on the number and timing of “fixed” and “backup” dates for the Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) spring all-depth halibut season.

People who cannot attend the meeting in person can still participate in one of two ways:

·        Join the meeting via GoToMeeting (see details below).

·        Complete an online survey, which will be posted on the ODFW halibut webpage. (Both the online survey and background materials for the meeting will be posted by mid-afternoon on Monday, Jan. 29 on the ODFW halibut webpage http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/halibut/index.asp.

·        Anglers may also provide input by contacting Lynn Mattes (lynn.mattes@state.or.us) or Christian Heath (Christian.t.heath@state.or.us) at the ODFW Marine Resources Program, (541) 867-4741.

GoToMeeting DETAILS 

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/554636005

You can also dial in using your phone.

United States: +1 (872) 240-3412

Access Code: 554-636-005

California Sea Lions Meet Key Population Goal, Say Federal Researchers

California sea lions have reached a high enough level that West Coast states could begin to take over management.

The National Marine Fisheries Service reports that the pinnipeds are at their “optimal sustainable population,” a triggering point in the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

SEA LIONS CROWD THE DOCKS AT ASTORIA IN SPRING 2015. (WDFW)

Graphs produced by researchers at the federal Alaska and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers for the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the species show sea lion numbers are at their habitat’s carrying capacity, around 275,000 animals.

They first hit that benchmark around 2008, rising to 306,000 before The Blob took a bite out of their lunch, but then rebounded.

“The population has basically come into balance with its environment,” said Alaska-based research biologist Sharon Melin in a NMFS story announcing the news. “The marine environment is always changing, and their population is at a point where it responds very quickly to changes in the environment.”

Melin and her coauthors’ work was published today in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

The story notes that the tripling of sea lion numbers from fewer than 90,000 in 1975 has not come without consequences including chowing down on ESA-listed Chinook, steelhead and other stocks.

NMFS permits Northwest states to take out problem pinnipeds at Bonneville, and the story says that “the species maintained OSP levels even when small numbers of adult males were being removed to protect salmon runs in the Columbia River and climate events were depressing growth.”

To Melin, that means such removal programs are not all that likely to impact the species’ overall population, according to the story.

ODFW is currently asking NMFS for permits to remove sea lions from Willamette Falls, where they’re feasting on winter steelhead like their ancestor Herschel did at the Ballard Locks.

More Oregonians Cited For Bringing In Game Parts From CWD States

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

Two local hunters recently brought prohibited elk parts from Colorado and Wyoming into the Rogue Valley. The elk were harvested in these states which have some deer, elk and moose infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease.

Oregon is still a CWD-free state. It has never been detected in captive or free-ranging deer, elk, or moose in Oregon.

However, the risk of non-reversible disease transmission to wild ungulates is high because even one infected animal can affect the future of all susceptible species in the state. By bringing potentially CWD-infected elk parts containing central nervous system tissue into Oregon, these hunters jeopardized the health and population of Oregon’s deer, elk, and moose.

Oregon State Police cited the hunters. This follows a similar case earlier in November where a Madras man also brought banned parts of a CWD-positive deer harvested in Montana to Oregon. ODFW collected the banned parts and incinerated them which is one of the only ways to destroy the pathogen.

Duane Dungannon, State Coordinator for the Oregon Hunters Association says hunters play a critical role in keeping CWD out of Oregon.

“We need hunters who go out of state to be vigilant and not bring prohibited ungulate parts back to Oregon. CWD represents perhaps the greatest threat to our big game because it has the potential to devastate our ungulate populations,” Dungannon said.

OHA has been seriously concerned about preventing the spread of this disease to wild game herds. The group has advocated for tight regulations on game ranching and has consistently funded disease research and prevention across the state.

People hunting in states with CWD who harvest a deer, elk or moose may only bring back parts without spinal cord or brain tissue (e.g. no spinal column and only antlers on a clean skullcap). See page 29 of the Oregon Big Game Regulations under “Parts Ban” for more information.

CWD is caused by a protein prion that damages the brain of infected animals, causing progressive neurological disease and loss of body condition. It’s untreatable and always fatal. It spreads through none-to-nose contact between infected animals and through the animal’s bodily fluids. The priors that cause CWD can also last a long time in the environment, infecting new animals for decades, which is why Oregon has had a parts ban in place for 15 years.

ODFW State Wildlife Veterinarian Colin Gillin said CWD is considered one of the most devastating wildlife diseases on the American landscape today.

“Once CWD enters a state and infects free-ranging deer and elk, it has been nearly impossible to eradicate with present day tools. We want to do all we can to keep Oregon CWD-free,” Gillin said.

ODFW has monitored the state’s wildlife for CWD for years and is increasing its surveillance this year by asking hunters interested in having their deer or elk tested for CWD to contact their local office to set up an appointment. Hunters need to bring in the animal’s head, which should be kept cool prior to sampling if possible. ODFW is most interested in testing deer and elk that are at least two years old (e.g. not spikes).

ODFW also asks taxidermists and game meat processors throughout the state to alert the agency or OSP if banned deer, elk or moose parts are brought to them from CWD-positive states for processing. ODFW will collect the banned parts and properly dispose of them via incineration.

Anyone who sees or harvests a sick deer or elk should also report it to the ODFW Wildlife Health Lab at 866-968-2600 or by email to Wildlife.Health@state.or.us

Cases of CWD have occurred in Alberta, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Saskatchewan.

Oregon Man Cited For Bringing CWD-infected Deer Carcass Back From Montana

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

Last week, Montana reported its first case of a free-ranging deer testing positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The deer was harvested by a Montana hunter and its carcass was brought to Oregon by the hunter’s relative, who lives in Madras.

(USGS NATIONAL WILDLIFE HEALTH CENTER)

The parties involved failed to follow regulations that prohibit certain parts of deer, elk and moose that contain central nervous system tissue (where the prion that causes CWD is most concentrated) from being brought into Oregon. People hunting in states with CWD who harvest a deer, elk or moose may only bring back parts without spinal cord or brain tissue (e.g. antlers on a clean skullcap). See page 29 of the Oregon Big Game Regulations under “Parts Ban” for more information.

ODFW and OSP contacted the relative late last week after learning from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks that the deer had tested positive for CWD. They discovered that prohibited parts containing neurological tissue had been brought into Oregon and had been disposed of in the local area following butchering. ODFW and OSP immediately retrieved these deer parts for safe disposal.

Some parts of the deer also went to a landfill. ODFW was unable to locate and retrieve these parts, as too much time had passed since their disposal. However, the parts are deeply buried and will not come into contact with deer or elk, so are considered a low risk to free-ranging wildlife.

Following investigation, OSP Fish & Wildlife Division Troopers criminally cited the relative for Unlawful Import of Cervid Parts from a CWD State. Troopers also recovered packaged deer meat as well as additional parts of the infected deer which will be safely disposed of by ODFW Staff.

“Enforcing the regulations established to protect Oregon’s fish, wildlife and other natural resources is the Division’s top priority. The cooperation with the individual who imported the unlawful parts, as well as the close coordination with ODFW, was paramount and really aided us in completing a thorough investigation” said Tim Schwartz, OSP Fish & Wildlife Division Lieutenant. “Without this cooperation and coordination, this could’ve turned out much worse.”

Chronic Wasting Disease is caused by a protein prion that damages the brain of infected animals, causing progressive neurological disease and loss of body condition. It’s untreatable and always fatal. It spreads through nose-to-nose contact between infected animals and through the animal’s bodily fluids. The prions that cause CWD can also last a long time in the environment, infecting new animals for decades, which is why Oregon has had a parts ban in place for 15 years.

“CWD is considered one of the most devastating wildlife diseases on the American landscape today,” said Colin Gillin, ODFW State Wildlife Veterinarian. “Once CWD enters a State and infects free-ranging deer and elk, it has been nearly impossible to eradicate with present day tools. So we want to do all we can to keep Oregon CWD-free.”

Oregon is still a CWD-free state. The disease has never been detected in a captive or free-ranging deer, elk or moose in Oregon. ODFW has been monitoring the state’s wildlife for the disease for years and is increasing its surveillance this year.

For example, ODFW is asking hunters interested in having their deer or elk tested for CWD to contact their local office to set up an appointment. ODFW is most interested in deer and elk that are at least two-years-old (e.g. not spikes). To get an animal CWD tested, hunters will need to bring in the animal’s head, which should be kept cool prior to sampling if possible. ODFW will also take a tooth for aging and hunters should receive a postcard several months later with information about the animal’s age.

Anyone who sees or harvests a sick deer or elk should also report it to the ODFW Wildlife Health Lab number at 866-968-2600 or by email to Wildlife.Health@state.or.us.

CWD spreads most quickly through movement of live animals, although it can also spread by transport of carcasses by hunters or through infected migrating deer and elk. In addition to Montana, documented cases of CWD have occurred in Alberta, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,  Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Saskatchewan.

What A Deal! Free Fishing In Oregon On Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday

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

ODFW is waiving all fishing licensing requirements on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to #optoutside with friends and family during the long holiday weekend.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

On Nov. 24 and 25, 2017, all fishing, crabbing and clamming in Oregon will be free for both Oregon residents and non-residents. That means no licenses, tags or endorsements are needed on those days. All other fishing regulations apply.

Below are some good bets for fishing, crabbing or clamming on Thanksgiving weekend. For more, check ODFW’s Recreation Report, which is updated on Wednesday each week. Be sure to check water conditions and the weather forecast before heading out and dress appropriately. If you’re heading to the coast, be wary of high surf.

Trout: Lakes and reservoirs across Oregon have been stocked with trout in recent weeks, and several western Oregon lakes will be stocked the week of Nov. 20 including: Waverly Lake (Albany), Emigrant Lake (Ashland), Hyatt Reservoir (SE of Ashland), Applegate Reservoir (SW of Ashland), Expo Pond (Central Point), Faraday Lake (Estacada), Blue Lake (Fairview), St Louis Ponds (Gervais), Reinhard Park Pond (Grants Pass),  Mt Hood Pond (MHCC-Gresham), Junction City Pond, Medco Pond (east of Lost Creek Lake), Willow Lake (east of Medford), Agate Reservoir (White City/Medford), Garrison Lake (Port Orford), Walter Wirth Lake and Walling Pond (Salem), Alton Baker Canal (Springfield) and Progress Lake (Tigard).

Winter steelhead: Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of winter steelhead season on the coast, and some early returning hatchery fish have already been caught. Check the Recreation Report for the latest on conditions.

Crabbing and clamming: While some crabbing closures are in effect due to domoic acid and ocean crabbing is closed, recreational crabbing is open in bays and estuaries and on beaches, docs, and piers from the north jetty of Coos Bay to Tahkenitch Creek and from north of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River. Always check ODA’s shellfish page before crabbing or clamming for the latest information on any closures due to domoic acid http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx  Bay clam and mussel harvesting are currently open along the entire Oregon coast and razor clamming is open on Clatsop County beaches.

For tips on how and where to fish, crab and clam, visit ODFW’s new webpage www.myodfw.com

 

More Details Emerge On Oregon Elk Hunter’s Killing Of A Wolf

A series of news stories are providing more details as well as commentary on the shooting of a wolf by an elk hunter in Northeast Oregon’s Starkey Wildlife Management Unit in late October.

Following last Thursday’s press release from the state police, first out was an Oregonian piece on Saturday morning based on a troopers case report obtained by the paper.

Reporter Andrew Theen wrote that Brian Scott, 38, had three wolves in his vicinity and one “had targeted me … and was running at me to make contact,” according to the documents.

A SCREENSHOT OF ODFW’S WOLF ALBUM ON FLICKR SHOWS A NUMBER OF THE WILD CANIDS ACROSS THE STATE.

That article was followed the next day by an actual interview of Scott at his Clackamas home by freelance Oregonian outdoor writer Bill Monroe.

“It meant to make contact,” Scott told Monroe while pecking at his breakfast. “I was terrified. I screamed and raised my rifle. All I saw (in a scope) was hair so I shot.”

After confirming the animal was a wolf with his hunting partners, Scott contacted the Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who arrived with “forensic equipment, GPS units and a video camera; surveying the scene and evidence and taking Scott’s statement,” Monroe wrote.

OSP’s press release, which was also posted by ODFW, stated “The Union County District Attorney’s Office was consulted regarding the investigation and based upon the available evidence the case will not be prosecuted as this is believed to be an incidence of selfdefense.”

In Theen’s Saturday article, a member of Oregon Wild questioned the path of the killing bullet, described as hitting the wolf’s right side and exiting on the left.

In a Monday story, Eric Mortenson of the Capital Press interviewed renowned retired Northern Rockies wolf expert Carter Niemeyer, who said he is in “doubt” about Scott’s story based on the wound channel which suggests a broadside shot.

Interviewed by Monroe, Scott said he couldn’t explain that as he had had other priorities in that moment in the woods.

“I screamed, raised the rifle and saw fur,” he told Monroe. “Who knows how it was moving in that split second? I don’t and was more interested in defending myself.”

It’s possible the bullet deflected off bone.

As with nearly every single bit of wolf news, this incident caused quite a stir on social media and in story comments.

It was always going to, as it was the first time an Oregon hunter has killed a wolf in what was classified as self defense (Washington’s first occurred in 2013 in the Pasayten Wilderness).

In the end, there are bits of wisdom worth gleaning.

Wolf attacks on humans remain very rare; wolf encounters with humans in the Northwest are increasing as wolf populations continue to increase; some of those are occurring at close range; we don’t all have the same comfort levels in terms of personal safety; we don’t all have the same experience with wolf behavior; and nobody can say with absolute certainty how every single wolf will act — they’re wild animals.

“If you see a wolf or any other animal and are concerned about your safety, make sure it knows you are nearby by talking or yelling to alert it to your presence,” advised Roblyn Brown, ODFW acting wolf coordinator. “If you are carrying a firearm, you can fire a warning shot into the ground.”

“That would have been the first logical thing to do,” Niemeyer told Mortenson of the Press. “The gunshot and a yell from a human would turn every wolf I’ve ever known inside out trying to get away.”

Niemeyer also suggested carrying bear repellent, which Spokane Spokesman-Review outdoor columnist Rich Landers had in hand during a similar incident this summer with his dog and two wolves.

Landers wrote about that again in a Monday blog post, as well as offered this observation:

“The wilds won’t miss one wolf as the still-endangered species is multiplying beyond expectations in the Northwest. Meanwhile, the other two wolves likely learned a tad more fear of humans. That’s a recipe for success.”

I’ll second that, and for my part I’ll point out that somewhat underplayed in all of this was that Scott did the exact right thing to do: He immediately called OSP and ODFW to come investigate. That’s stand-up. That’s jumping from the frying pan into potentially a bonfire.

The results of that evidence collecting won’t ameliorate the hard-core wolfies, but what ever will.

For the rest of us outside the fringes, it yields several lessons, even as it put a pall on the hunting season of the man at the center of the story.

“People envision this jerk hunter out to kill anything, but that’s not me,” Scott told Monroe. “It frustrates me they don’t understand. I’m a meat hunter. I was looking for a spike elk. This wasn’t exciting. It ruined my hunt.”