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Big game hunting regs OK'd for 2005 seasons

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the 2005 big game hunting regulations at its Oct. 15 meeting in Bend. The commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly to establish policies and administrative regulations for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Two types of hunting seasons are authorized in Oregon - controlled hunts and general seasons. The number of tags for controlled hunts is limited, and hunters must apply for them by May 15. There is no limit to the number of general season tags sold.

The following points summarize the commission's actions related to the 2005 big game seasons:



Cougar:

€ No changes were made to general cougar season dates for 2005.

Statewide general cougar seasons will run from Jan. 1, 2005, through May 31, 2005, and Aug. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2005.

€ The statewide quota for cougar harvest was increased 3 percent to 579, distributed across the six established quota zones.

€ The area open for hunting with the additional cougar tag will be expanded in 2005 to include all of eastern Oregon. The Eastern

Additional Cougar tag season dates will be the same as the general cougar seasons. All harvest under the additional cougar tag, including the additional area, will apply toward the quota.

€ The extended cougar season that takes place in southwest Oregon will run from Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2005.

€ There will be a tag sale deadline of Sept. 30, 2005, for all cougar tags including the second tag opportunity.

Black Bear:

€ With bear populations at healthy levels, a 7 percent increase in the number of spring bear tags will take place in 2005. A total of 6,480 tags will be issued for 17 spring bear seasons including three youth-only hunts.

€ The Indigo Unit will be deleted from the North Cascades hunt and will be added into an existing southwest Oregon hunt.

€ One new spring bear hunt will be added in south central Oregon.

€ No changes were made to the 2005 general fall bear season.

Bighorn Sheep:

€ The 2004 boundary expansions that took place for East Owyhee hunts #1 and #2 will become permanent in 2005. The hunts will be renamed Owyhee #1 and Owyhee #2.

€ A new bighorn sheep hunt will add a second hunt period in the East

Trout Creek Mountains.

€ The auction and raffle tag program will continue in 2005. A special

auction tag for bighorn sheep will be sold during the annual Foundation for North American Wild Sheep Convention, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, in March. The special raffle tag will be drawn during the Oregon Hunters Association state banquet.

Rocky Mountain Goat:

€ Current Rocky Mountain goat seasons will remain the same.

€ Two new hunts will be added that take advantage of expanding goat populations and distribution. The hunts will be added at Hat Point and Goat Mountain.

€ One special Rocky Mountain goat raffle tag will be drawn at the Oregon Hunters Association state convention. Funding generated from this raffle tag will be dedicated to goat management efforts including trapping, transplanting and research. The bag limit for this special tag will be one Rocky Mountain goat. The tag will be valid for a two-month season from Sept. 1, 2005, through Oct. 31, 2005, in any open Rocky Mountain goat hunt area for hunters with authorized tags. A pre-hunt orientation and post-hunt check-in will be required for all goat tag holders.

Pronghorn:

€ The 2005 pronghorn seasons will remain the same with the exception of date shifts for two bow hunts and two muzzleloader hunts to avoid conflict with controlled sage grouse hunts.

€ One special pronghorn raffle tag and one special auction tag will be available in 2005. Funding generated from these tag sales will be dedicated to pronghorn management and research. The raffle tag will be drawn at the Oregon Hunters Association state convention when all other raffles are drawn. The auction tag will be sold in conjunction with the Oregon Hunters Association's Harney County Chapter banquet.

Deer:

- Black-tailed Deer:

€ With the change in the elk season structure, five days will be added to the Wilson and Trask Unit rifle buck hunt to coincide with coastal buck season and simplify regulations.

€ The opportunity to harvest a third deer in one year (within the 800 series) will be eliminated as part of an effort to enhance black-tailed deer populations. All 800 series preference points will be converted to 600 series points, and affected hunters will be notified.

- Mule Deer:

€ A second mule deer archery season will be added for Hart Mountain

National Antelope Refuge by splitting the season into two hunts. Both seasons will be changed so tags will not be valid during the general archery season.

- White-tailed Deer:

€ One new hunt which allows the taking of Columbian white-tailed deer will be offered in the Umpqua Unit for the 2005 controlled rifle season with a bag limit of one buck with at least a forked antler.

Elk:

€ Two new private-lands-only, either-sex hunts will be added. The hunts will be called Grizzly #1 and #2.

€ Several antlerless hunts will be eliminated because agricultural damage issues have been addressed and to stabilize bull ratios. These hunts include: Upper North Umpqua, Old Blue Antlerless and Youth, Callahan Antlerless and Youth, SE Evans Cr #2, Foothills Rogue, Maury Unit, S Starkey #2, N Starkey, Astoria N #1, #2 and #3, Reed and Hawley Mountain, Steens, Silvies Unit #2, Wagontire Unit and McKay Creek Muzzleloader.

€ Antlerless hunts will be added to address damage complaints on both agricultural lands and managed timberlands including Astoria #1, #2 and #3, S Scappoose #3, Arlie-Lewisburg #2, West Kings Valley, Norton Cr, Callahan Antlerless #1 and #2, Callahan Youth #1 and Youth #2, Old Blue Antlerless #1 and #2, Old Blue Youth #1 and #2, Klickitat Mt. and Bully Cr #2.

€ Three hunts in southwest Oregon will be deleted and three hunts will be added as a result of the annual weapons rotation for the Sitkum, Lake Creek and Elliot hunt areas. Sitkum will change from bow to rifle, Lake Creek will change from muzzleloader to bow, and Elliot will change from rifle to muzzleloader.

€ The Wilson-Trask bull elk season will be moved from October to November to be part of the Coast #1 and #2 elk seasons to simplify regulations. The second season spike-only bag limit will remain in effect in the Wilson and Trask Units.

€ Hunt boundaries in five antlerless hunts will be modified. Those hunts include Crooked River, Southwest Grizzly, Tiller, Melrose Plus, and Thompson Creek.

€ Three Astoria North hunts will be deleted, expanding the boundary and replacing the hunts with three new Astoria-area north hunts.

Western Gray Squirrel:

€ No changes will be made to the 2005 Western Gray Squirrel season.

Emergency Hunts:

Emergency hunt tags allow ODFW to use hunters to respond to

unanticipated damage complaints caused outside of hunting seasons.

€ During 2003-2004, 36 district emergency hunts were authorized. Compared with 2002-2003, the number of emergency hunts decreased by 40 percent.

€ Emergency hunt tags were issued to 257 hunters statewide to harvest elk, deer and pronghorn.

€ Wild turkeys will be added to the list of species for which emergency hunt tags can be issued.

Travel Management Areas (TMAs):

€ Whiskey Creek TMA in the Sled Springs Unit will be enforced beginning in 2005. Whiskey Creek TMA is located on Boise property, as are the Noregaard and Shamrock TMAs. The effective period for these TMAs in 2005 will be three days prior to archery season through May 31, 2006, except for one open period including two weekends following the end of the last antlerless elk season to allow the removal of hunting camps.

€ Eight TMAs located in Baker County on the Pine Ranger District of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will be consolidated into five TMAs by eliminating shared boundaries of adjacent areas with a corresponding consolidation of effective periods.

€ Two new winter range closures also will take effect. The Metolius Winter Range closure will be 40 square miles in the Metolius Unit between Madras and Sisters. The Bryant Mountain Winter Closure will be 50 square miles in Klamath Falls Unit near the city of Klamath Falls.

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