SALEM, Ore.-- Big game regulations, consideration of mandatory hunter orange and coastal fall salmon season will top the agenda when the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets in Salem on June 3 and 4.
The meetings are at ODFW Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE in Salem. Thursday’s meeting begins at 1 p.m. and Friday’s begins at 8 a.m. The Commission will work through the following agenda:
The Commission will be briefed on the latest Sauvie Island Wildlife Area management plan. A final public meeting about the plan will be held June 16, 7 pm. at Sauvie Island School (14445 NW Charleton Rd, Portland) and the plan will be considered for final adoption at the Aug. 6 Commission meeting in Salem.
The Commission will also be briefed on recommendations of the Geese Control Task Force, which has been looking at ways to address agricultural crop losses created by current goose populations in different parts of the state
The Commission will appoint a new member to represent agricultural interests on the Fish Screening Task Force, a seven-person board that advises ODFW on fish screening issues.
The Commission will be asked to approve a fish passage waiver request on the Bull Run River near Mt Hood that was triggered by the proposed Bull Run Water Supply Habitat Conservation Plan being developed by the city of Portland. The city has proposed multiple mitigation measures to make up for the loss of passage on the Bull Run River.
The Commission will be asked to approve over $1.6 million in grants for six projects to maintain or improve wildlife habitat or hunter access to private land in Oregon. The proposed projects include renewal of the North Coast Travel Management Area and Willamette Private Lands Law Enforcement Project, which open over 2.7 million acres of private timberland to hunters in western Oregon.
The Commission will be asked to review and approve an exemption to the grass carp rules to allow stocking on a privately-owned reservoir that exceeds the 10-acre limit.
Finally on Thursday, the Commission will consider a citizen-initiated petition that asks for one permit to be issued to a licensed bait company allowing it to harvest anchovies from Yaquina Bay and sell them as live bait.
Mandatory hunter orange
On Friday, the Commission will be briefed on ODFW staff’s hunter orange report and rule options for making the wearing of hunter orange mandatory in Oregon. A full description of the options can be found online. A brief summary of rule options follows:
- Option 1 – No change to current status (voluntary hunter orange).
- Option 2 – Require upper garment and hat for hunters 17 years of age and younger while hunting big game and upland birds (except turkey) with any firearm.
- Option 3 – Require upper garment or hat for all hunters while hunting big game and upland birds (except turkey) with a centerfire firearm or shotgun.
- Option 4 - Require upper garment and hat for all hunters while hunting big game and upland birds (except turkey) with a centerfire firearm or shotgun.
- Option 5 - Require upper garment and hat for all hunters while hunting big game, upland birds (except turkey), small game animals and predators with any firearm.
If the Commission decides to proceed with rule-making, final rules regarding hunter orange would be considered at the Oct. 1, 2010 meeting in Bend when 2011 big game regulations are set.
Big game and furtaker regulations
The Commission will be asked to formally adopt 2009 fall big game tag numbers, which are proposed to be almost the same as last year.
The Commission will be briefed on concepts for potential changes to 2011 big game regulations, which will be formally set Oct. 1 in Bend. See here for details on changes including deleted and added hunts. Changes under consideration include:
- Allow any legal weapon during “rifle” pronghorn, and elk hunts.
- Allow Sport Pac hunters to use the deer voucher for 600 series hunts.
- Allow limited tags sales after deadlines.
- Allow second choice after using “Preference Point” as first choice.
- Implement winter range closure at Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area.
- Extend Murderers Creek-Flagtail TMA so it begins 3 days prior to archery season (currently begins 3 days prior to buck deer rifle season).
- Replace general late season archery cow hunts with controlled hunts in Santiam, Stott Mt, Alsea, McKenzie and N. Indigo (due to declining elk populations and to better distribute hunters).
The Commission will be asked to set 2011 big game auction and raffle tags, which are proposed to be the same as in 2010.
The Commission will be asked to adopt furtaker regulations for the 2010-2012 seasons.
Coastal fall chinook and coho seasons
The number of fall chinook expected to return to many of Oregon’s coastal rivers is expected to improve in 2010; however some steams on the North Coast are expected to be below escapement goals. In response, the Commission will be asked to adopt coastal fall chinook regulations that include lower bag limits and area closures on North Coast Rivers from the Necanicum River south to the Yaquina River. Forecasts are for average or better than average chinook returns to south coast rivers; the Commission will consider minor adjustments to permanent regulations for rivers from the Alsea south to the California border.
While the 2010 coho salmon return will not be as large as the 2009 return, it is healthy enough that ODFW biologists are recommending wild coho fisheries on the Siletz and Coquille rivers and Tenmile Lakes. Because coastal coho are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, these fisheries must also be approved by NOAA.
Columbia River and Buoy 10 summer and fall recreational salmon seasons
The Commission will consider summer and fall recreational salmon seasons for coho, chinook and sockeye salmon on the Columbia River. At the same time biologists are predicting a strong return of summer chinook, there has been strong public support for a longer fishing season. Therefore, ODFW staff has proposed limiting the summer chinook fishery to adipose fin-clipped fish only in order to extend the length of the season.
While fall chinook runs will be strong, coho salmon returns will be down considerably from 2009 resulting in ODFW staff proposing a more traditional season structure with a daily bag limit of two salmon or steelhead.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. Agenda item exhibits may be requested by calling the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.