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Commission to set big game tags, coastal coho fisheries

May 29, 2015

SALEM, Ore.-- The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, June 5 in Salem to finalize controlled hunt tags for the 2015 hunting season and set coastal coho fisheries.

The meeting begins at 8 a.m. at ODFW Headquarters in the Commission Room, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE. The agenda is online at, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/15/06_june/index.asp

The first order of business for the Commission will be finalizing 2015 controlled hunt tags and considering some changes to 2016 Big Game Regulations (though final 2016 regulations won’t be adopted until October 2015). ODFW staff are proposing that 137,015 controlled hunt big game tags be available this fall.

Major changes under consideration for the 2016 hunting season include:

  • A new “premium hunt” series that would offer an opportunity to draw an additional deer, elk, or pronghorn tag with a longer season. These tags would be very limited but available in most areas. Tags would be allocated through the regular controlled hunt draw process but would not use preference points.
  • Shift Wendling Travel Management Area (TMA) time period from the start of archery season (when fire danger often limits access) through the end of the rifle buck season, to the opening of the general rifle buck deer season-Nov. 30.
  • End Eagle Creek TMA on Willamette National Forest due to low usage by elk and hunters.
  • Change renewal period for hunters with a disability permit from every two years to every five years.
  • Consider new and maintenance cougar target areas to reduce cougar damage to livestock, limit human safety problems, and reduce impacts on ungulate populations.

The Commission will also be asked to set coastal wild coho salmon seasons for coastal rivers. Wild coho fisheries have been proposed in 12 basins, in addition to Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes.

Under the proposed regulations, anglers will be able to harvest wild coho from the Tillamook, Nestucca, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coos and Coquille rivers, Beaver and Floras creeks and Tenmile lakes (Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes remain open under permanent regulations).

Due to projected low returns, the Nehalem River would be closed to wild coho harvest in 2015, but anglers will be able to keep hatchery coho.

Daily and seasonal bag limits in open areas will be similar to recent years.  Because fewer Endangered Species Act (ESA) impacts are available in 2015, season lengths in some basins will be shortened compared to 2013 and 2014.  All proposed coho fisheries must be reviewed and approved by NOAA.

The 2015 Coastal Coho Fishing Regulations will be posted on the ODFW website after Commission approval.

For the first time in several years, there will be no emergency regulations for coastal fall Chinook. Anglers should refer to the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for those seasons.

In other business, the Commission will:

  • Allocate 2016 big game raffle and auction tags among sportsman conservation groups and consider funding for A and H projects that provide hunting access or improve wildlife habitat.
  • Set the July 2015 - June 2016 commercial seasons for coastal pelagic species.
  • Approve funding for one fish enhancement and one restoration project recommended by the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony for topics not on the agenda will be held first thing Friday morning, just after the adoption of temporary rules. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy or Jessica Sall
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us or Jessica.Sall@state.or.us
(503) 947-6022 or (503) 947-6023

 
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