Water-gear swap set for DRIP Fest

    Sawyer Paddles and Oars will host its second annual DRIP Fest, which provides a venue for watersports lovers to swap gear during a fun weekend near the banks of the Rogue River in Gold Hill.

    The event is similar to the popular ski swaps conducted annually in Medford and Ashland, but it focuses on gear for rivers and lakes and it is centered at Sawyer Station, the company's retail hub in downtown Gold Hill.

    "It's really a ski swap for boating and fishing gear," says Sawyer President Pete Newport. "I'm expecting 200 to 300 boats."

    Those who have gear they want to sell can drop it off at Sawyer Station between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. today. Those who don't help out at the sale will be charged a 15-percent commission on items they sell, Newport says. Those who do help will pay a 10 percent commission.

    The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

    Music, food and drink sales will be ongoing, and the U.S. national rafting team, which includes Newport, will put on a demonstration at 9 a.m. Sunday in the Rogue near Gold Hill.

    DRIP is an acronym for the kinds of gear available at the swap — driftboats, rafts, inflatables and paddles, with camping and fishing gear also available.

    "We'll be ready for rain, and we'll see who's up for fun in the rain," says Newport, referring to a weekend weather report that calls for potentially heavy precipitation.

    The event is centered around the Oct. 15 end to the limited-entry permit season for the Wild and Scenic Rogue. Beginning every Oct. 16, free permits to float the 40-mile stretch of the Lower Rogue Canyon are uncapped.

    Newport says he plans to have the swap this same weekend every year, and he hopes to grow it into the largest swap of its kind on the West Coast.

    "We're encouraging people to drive across the country, swap gear and hit the river," Newport says.

    Apply now for C2 Ranch bow hunt

    The state's Access and Habitat Program is once again partnering with the C2 Ranch to offer six adult hunters a chance to bowhunt on the ranch's high-grade habitat near Lake Creek.

    Winners in an upcoming drawing will get a free, three-day, unguided hunt on the 9,500-acre ranch between Nov. 12 and Dec. 4.

    The ranch offers unique hunting opportunities in exchange for the A&H Program helping to pay for seeding and buckbrush removal at the ranch. The A&H Program and the ranch have offered similar youth turkey- and deer-hunting opportunities under similar agreements.

    This is the sixth year of the adult archery hunts, which have become popular among archers statewide, says Vince Oredson, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist who oversees the program here.

    Last year, the adult archery hunters failed to bag a deer, Oredson says.

    "Some people were real picky, and some others didn't get any good shots," he says. "Archery hunting isn't that easy."

    Applications for the bow hunts are available online at http://bit.ly/2d8a3CF. Applications can be emailed, faxed or mailed back. Directions are on the applications, which must be returned by the close of business Oct. 31.

    Winners must buy their own hunting license and late-season archery deer tag, and they set up hunt dates themselves with the ranch, Oredson says.

    The A&H Program uses a $4 surcharge on hunting licenses and state hunting raffle-tag sales to fund hunter access or habitat-improvement projects on private lands.

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

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