Outdoors Notebook: Hunting reg changes proposed

Tags for Southwest Oregon’s spring bear season would go from first-come to meted out in the controlled-hunt lottery under a new suite of proposals offered as a way to simplify and streamline regulations.

Also proposed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is allowing “robo” decoys with moving parts on big-game hunts, standardizing the minimum-draw requirements on legal bows and eliminating party sizes for deer, elk, bear and pronghorn hunts.

The proposals are the latest in a multi-year effort to streamline Oregon’s hunting and angling regulations after decades of complaints that regulations are too difficult to understand and too inconsistent.

ODFW plans to present its draft big-game hunting proposals to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission during its June 8 meeting in Baker City. Public comments can be emailed to odfw.commission@state.or.us.

The final proposals will be presented to the commission Sept. 14 in Bandon. Public comments will also be accepted at both commission meetings.

For a complete list of the draft proposals, see www.dfw.state.or.us/news/docs/Regulation_Simplification_Phase_2_Concepts_w_Proposal_Language_v2.pdf.

It comes as the agency is also floating some changes to salmon and steelhead seasons amid simplification of angling regulations. No changes are proposed for the Rogue River Basin, however.

For years ODFW has sold its spring bear tags in southwest Oregon on a first-come, first-served basis, and tags routinely sell out before the start of the season. However, the new proposal would standardize it with all other Oregon spring bear hunts, and agency biologists believe it could reduce pressure in the Jackson/Josephine/Curry county areas, where the lion’s share of spring bear hunters go.

ODFW spokesman Michelle Denney says it also could spread out hunting opportunities because, while the tags sell out earlier and earlier, fewer than half the tag-holders actually go afield during the spring season.

“This way it could hopefully give some opportunities for those who really want to go bear hunting,” Dennehy says.

ODFW biologists believe hunting-party sizes are self-regulating and don’t need the rule.

Also, ODFW has proposed a ban on the import of any deer, elk or moose parts containing central-nervous system tissue from any state or Canadian province.

Current rules ban imports of such parts only from states with confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease cases. The proposal is billed as a simplified rule that still supports efforts to keep CWD out of Oregon’s wild deer and elk herds.

Free fly-casting clinics slated

The Medford-based Rogue FlyFishers Association has resumed its popular free fly-casting lessons at Hedrick Middle School along East Jackson Street in Medford.

The classes, which are held at the school’s athletic field, will run from 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays when it doesn’t rain, through Sept. 10.

The club has rods and reels to loan out, but casters are encouraged to bring their own gear if they have it.

The lessons are led by John MacDiarmid, a certified casting instructor through the International Federation of Fly Fishers, and include assistance from other seasoned casters in the association. Other instructors include club members Tom Collett and Bob Pierce.

Merlin swap meet

A Merlin river livery will hold its fourth annual Rogue River Boat Swap Saturday for sellers and buyers to hook up on river-running equipment without extra fees.

Oregon Torpedo Trips hosts this event annually for a free, river-centered equipment swap in the parking lot at 2210 Merlin Road, Merlin.

Sellers should start showing up about 8 a.m. to get space, and buyers should plan to show up around 8:30 a.m.

Vendors include Sawyers Paddles and Oars and Sotar.

To learn more, see www.orangetorpedo.com/rogue-river-boat-swap/.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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