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News Articles

02
Replay of waterfowl hunting is likely
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Oregon waterfowl hunters seem assured of season lengths and limits almost identical to those of last fall and winter.


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"I don't see any problems at all," said Brad Bales, waterfowl biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Bales spoke Wednesday by telephone from Washington, D.C., where he is attending meetings of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

As with salmon, federal biologists have the final say on the framework of duck and goose hunting seasons and limits (dove and pigeon, too) in four continental flyways. The birds are federally regulated under international migratory treaties. States then set their seasons within the approved parameters. States might be more strict than federal rules allow, but not more liberal.

Adoption of this fall's Oregon seasons is scheduled next week in Gresham, where the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet at 8 a.m. on Aug. 6 at Gresham City Hall.

Assuming federal approval this week of a 107-day season, Bales said he will propose the following dates for commission approval:

Mourning dove -- Sept. 1-30.

Band-tailed pigeon -- Sept. 15 -23.

Ducks -- Zone 1 (Columbia Basin and Western Oregon): Oct. 16-31 and Nov. 3-Jan. 30, with a special pintail/canvasback season Oct. 16-24 and Dec. 11-Jan. 30; Zone 2 (Northeast and Southeast Oregon): Oct. 9-Dec. 7 and Dec. 10-Jan. 23 with special pintail/canvasback season Oct. 9-Dec. 7. Pintail and canvasback hunting will be limited to one bird daily during the shortened seasons.

A short goose hunt probably will start Sept. 11 statewide to avoid conflicts between hunters and non-hunting recreationists over the Labor Day weekend.

Goose hunters, including those in the Northwest permit zone, will have about the same split seasons as last year, Bales said.

A special youth-only duck hunt is proposed for Sept. 25-26.

Mixed bag: State biologists are scattered across Eastern Oregon this week counting chukar, quail, pheasant and grouse broods.

Early returns suggest another good quail hunt this fall, mixed blessings on chukar, and few, if any, gains on a beleaguered pheasant population.

Field surveys show promising chukar hunting in Malheur County and much of the rest of southeast Oregon, said Dave Budeau, upland game biologist in the department's Salem headquarters.

"Our biologists saw good numbers of adult chukars that made it through the winter during their big game surveys in March and April," he said.

Mark Kirsch, a Pendleton-based biologist, said quail throughout the upper Columbia Basin nested well, but pheasant numbers are "moderate at best," based on field sightings. Two- and three-week pheasant surveys began this week.

Kirsch said cold weather in January stranded many pheasants on deep snow, where they were more susceptible to predators, adding that "freakish events like that are hard on them."

He said Hungarian partridge numbers seem up.

In Hells Canyon, northeast Oregon biologist Vic Coggins said chukar counts won't start until next week, but it doesn't look good. Nesting chukar were hit by May and early-June rains, he said.

Chukar are persistent re-nesters when they lose a brood, Coggins said, but will tend to just one surviving chick instead of starting over.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission has already approved upland bird seasons for this fall.

Kids' fishing: Trout, in the form of 600 rainbows, will be stocked in the pond at Whiskey Creek Hatchery south of Netarts for a children's fishing day Saturday, Aug. 7.

Tillamook Anglers, a volunteer group that owns the hatchery, will provide rods and reels and assistance and help participants put inked fish prints on plain T-shirts they bring along.

Besides support from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, youth fishing is financed by the Legislature and the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

Fishing at the hatchery will be open to youths 13 and younger.

Tagged: Vic Gilbert of Portland will cash in an important document this week as he gets ready to pay July's month-ending bills.

Gilbert caught a tagged pikeminnow over the July 4 weekend while walleye fishing with nightcrawlers near pilings and bridge pillars off Government Island.

His voucher for the tagged fish is worth $500 in the Columbia River's pikeminnow bounty program, which rewards catches of the voracious salmon-eating fish with between $5 and $8 per fish. There were 640 pikeminnows tagged from Astoria to Lewiston, Idaho, before the season began, as an additional incentive for anglers, who get $500 for each tagged fish.

Anglers have to register at a check station before fishing, then return the catch to the same check station.

By Wednesday, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said 123 of the 640 tagged fish (not counting Gilbert's) have been turned in.

-- Bill Monroe

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