Hunting raffles raise $569,000 for programs

Michigander Bradley Eldred got a taste of Western Oregon hunting last season when he stalked black bears with Coos County guide John McCollum, who backed that up with a recent telephone proposition.

McCollum told Eldred of the state's hunting raffle program, which includes the raffling of a tag to hunt Roosevelt elk anywhere in Western Oregon over three months this fall.

"I told John to put my name on a few tickets," Eldred says. "So I gave him a couple thousand bucks."

McCollum bought 800 tickets for Eldred. All he needed was one.

Eldred won the Western Oregon elk tag in last week's raffle among 6,454 entries, of which 13 percent had Eldred's name on them.

Eldred, a 46-year-old taxidermist from the south-central Michigan town of Lake Isabella, returned Monday from a successful elephant-hunting trip to Africa and did not learn of his success until then.

"I'm pretty stoked," Eldred says. "I'm pretty lucky, I guess."

The raffle program grossed $209,342 for the 12 tags, including $69,025 for chances at a bighorn sheep tag won by Charles Johnson of New Brighton, Minn.

The raffle winners were drawn during the Oregon Hunters Association's May 16 convention in Grand Ronde.

Combined with a dozen similar tags auctioned at various sporting groups' venues, the combined program grossed $565,342, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Michelle Dennehy says.

Of that, $278,113 will go to the state's Access and Habitat Program and $187,229 to big-game research and management. The remainder went to the groups that hosted the auctions, and that money will go toward other projects benefiting wildlife habitat or hunter access, Dennehy says.

Eldred says he does not know any details about his hunt, other than it will be under McCollum's eye.

"I have no idea where we're going," he says. "Wherever John says.

The Statewide Combination Deer and Elk raffle hunt went to Marvin Farley, of Ontario, Canada.

Locally, the Statewide Deer tag was won by Jamie Jackson of Klamath Falls, and the Southeast Oregon Deer tag was drawn by Robert Douglas, also of Klamath Falls.

No residents of Jackson, Josephine or Curry counties won any of the raffle tags.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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