Rocky Mtn goat auction tag available in 2016
Oregon -(Ammoland.com)- The Fish and Wildlife Commission met today in Florence and adopted 2016 big game hunting regulations.
Major changes for 2016 regulations are:
- Archery hunters may use lighted nocks which have no other function other than to increase visibility of the arrow and help hunters track wounded game.
- An auction tag for Rocky Mtn goat will be available in 2016.
- A new Premium Hunt series will offer an opportunity to draw an additional deer, elk, or pronghorn tag with a longer season. These tags will be very limited but available in most areas. Tags will be allocated through the regular controlled hunt draw process but will not use preference points.
- 2016 regulations will define “drones” and prohibit their use for activities related to hunting, trapping, and fishing.
- General archery elk hunters will be able to take either sex in Desolation and Minam units. Saddle Mtn and Scappoose, Wilson archery elk bag limit will go to bull only for all hunters (including Disabled Permit holders).
The Commission also discussed cougar target areas, where ODFW reduces the cougar population to reduce conflicts with livestock, public safety issues and impacts on ungulate populations (deer, elk, bighorn sheep). ODFW will begin cougar target areas in the E. Umpqua and Interstate wildlife management units and continue target areas in Steens Mtn and Warner units in 2016.
The Commission adopted fees not in statute that are set to take effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Finally, the Commission was briefed on the updated Biological Status Review of Wolves and evaluation of criteria to delist the gray wolf from the state Endangered Species Act. This was an informational briefing only. Rulemaking that could delist wolves will occur at the next Commission meeting Monday, Nov. 9 in Salem.
ODFW staff reviewed modelled outcomes for three scenarios: delisting statewide, delisting in eastern Oregon, and no delisting. In all three scenarios, Oregon’s wolf populations are projected to continue to grow and the likelihood of population failure was very low (less than 1 percent).
About 50 people signed up to testify at the meeting. Commission Chair Finley recognized the emotional nature of opinions about wolves before opening public testimony. “We are not making our decision based on emotion, we are making it on facts,” said Finley. “We have to follow the law and policy.”
He urged those interested in wolves and in testifying in November to review the Biological Status Review and meeting presentation on ODFW’s website and return comments with insight related to that information.
The state’s Wolf Plan calls for initiating a process to delist wolves from the state Endangered Species Act when Oregon reaches the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon. This objective was met in early 2015, after ODFW documented 10 packs and nine breeding pairs of wolves in 2014. (A breeding pair is an adult male and female wolf with at least two pups that survive thru Dec. 31.)
Regardless of any delisting decision, the Wolf Plan will continue to provide conservation and protection for wolves in Oregon, ODFW Wolf Program Coordinator Russ Morgan noted in his presentation.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state.