Good sportsmanship critical during drought
Oregon -(Ammoland.com)- Oregon’s drought has wildlife biologists and public land managers especially concerned for upcoming pronghorn and other hunting seasons.
They are asking hunters to be especially mindful when placing hunting blinds and camping near water holes this year.
Craig Foster, ODFW district biologist in Lake County, notes that some hunters set up several blinds, which can lead to conflict. “It’s a restricted water year this year and hunters need to be more considerate,” says Foster. “Don’t put up blinds too early, be mindful of where you place them and leave the critters a way to get a drink.”
Fewer water holes is leading to greater competition for placement of big game hunting blinds. Habituating animals to blinds by placing them in an area a few days in advance of hunting season is an accepted practice and within the rules. However, placement of blinds well in advance of the season to stake claim to an area is unfair to other hunters and against land management regulations.
Unattended blinds left on public lands longer than 10 days can be considered abandoned property and are subject to removal, following a 72-hour notice. “BLM intends to enforce these regulations. After 10 days, we will tag blinds with a warning that they will be removed after 72 hours,” says Patrick Apley, BLM Lakeview District Law Enforcement Ranger. “Ideally hunters will voluntarily take them down. However if necessary, we will remove the blinds.”
Hunters should also be mindful of where they camp and follow BLM and U.S. Forest Service regulations. Camping within 300 feet of water sources is prohibited on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District.
“Hunters are encouraged to camp out of sight and sound of important watering sources for animals, so that they are not deprived of access to water,” said Lisa Bryant, BLM spokesperson. “The drought has eliminated many water holes and those that remain are farther apart. This can cause additional hardship for wildlife when they are already stressed by drought.”
E. Lynn Burkett, BLM Lakeview District Manager, added “The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service welcome hunting on public lands. Good sportsmanship is a proud tradition of Oregon hunters and this year we are asking everyone to take extra care during our continued drought.”
The first pronghorn hunting seasons open in early August in Oregon. Most deer and elk archery seasons open Aug. 29.