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Commission sets bird hunting regulations

August 7, 2015

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission set 2015-16 game bird hunting regulations today at its meeting in Salem. The major changes from last year will:

  • End goose check stations and check-in requirements for goose hunters in Northwest Oregon. Close dusky Canada goose season. Combine the Northwest Permit and Northwest General Zones into a single Northwest Permit Zone.
  • Increase the bag limit for white geese in the Northwest Permit Zone from four to six.
  • Increase the canvasback daily limit from one to two; otherwise duck bag limits remain unchanged from last year.
  • Extend three-turkey spring season limit statewide. Currently limited to two turkeys everywhere but most of western Oregon.
  • Align quail, chukar and gray partridge closure dates in eastern Oregon. Currently, Umatilla and Morrow seasons close earlier (on Dec. 31 instead of Jan. 31).
  • Extend forest grouse seasons in eastern Oregon through Jan. 31, which will align with western Oregon.
  • Allow upland bird hunters to leave wing or head on birds they harvest as evidence of sex and species. Currently, these hunters must leave a head on the bird.
  • Open the Beaver Tract of the new Coquille Valley Wildlife Area to bird hunting.

The 2015-16 Oregon Bird Hunting Regulations will be online by Aug. 15 and the booklet will be available at ODFW offices and license sales agents by Aug. 24.

The Commission also approved the acquisition of the  Lower Deschutes River Ranch, which will add 10,000 acres to the Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area and create 25,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat and public access on the west side of the Deschutes River. This acquisition was coordinated by The Trust for Public Land in collaboration with local ODFW staff. The purchase is being funded through federal grant monies generated by the sale of hunting equipment, grants from private organizations including the Oregon Chapter of the Foundation of North American Wild Sheep and Wild Sheep Foundation, and habitat mitigation funds.

The Commission approved testing of the three-year Fish Passage Mitigation Banking Pilot Project, an innovative approach to address high priority fish passage projects. Under the Pilot Project, ODFW has partnered with the Oregon Department of Transportation to develop a new habitat calculator tool for quantifying and qualifying native migratory fish habitat. This tool will help guide future fish passage waiver and exemption net benefit analyses. The new tool will be tested on a number of North Coast streams. The Department will report back to Commission with an evaluation of the Pilot Project and opportunities for future implementation of fish passage mitigation banking.

The Commission also was briefed on proposed changes to the 2016 sport fishing regulations aimed at streamlining and simplifying the rules for trout and warmwater fishing. Some of the proposals include:

  • Removing the April trout opener and opening these water bodies to year-round fishing.
  • Setting the May trout opener at May 22 each year, ensuring that trout fishing statewide would always be open Memorial Day weekend.
  • Streamlining the number of different seasons, gear restrictions and bag limits related to trout and warmwater species.
  • Removing bag limits for warmwater fish in the Columbia, John Day and Umpqua rivers to both simplify regulations and potentially reduce predation on listed salmon and steelhead smolts.

The Commission will consider adoption of the final 2016 sport fishing regulations at its Sept. 4 meeting in Seaside.

In other business, the Commission:

  • Approved two new members of the ODFW Restoration and Enhancement Board. Yancy Lind, a financial advisor and angler from Bend, will represent sport fishing interests. Ray Monroe, a commercial salmon troller from Pacific City, will represent the commercial troll industry. Both will serve four-year terms. The seven-member Board works with ODFW to approve grants under the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program.
  • Was updated on revisions to the Oregon Conservation and Nearshore strategies. The Commission will be asked to accept final revisions at its Sept. 4 meeting, and both documents will be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Oct. 1.
  • Named Commissioner Bob Webber vice-chair by unanimous vote.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Its next meeting is Sept. 4 in Seaside. 

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy, Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us, (503) 947-6022
Jessica Sall, Jessica.Sall@state.or.us, (503) 947-6023

 
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