SALEM, Ore.- At its monthly meeting today, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted eligibility rules for the houndsmen who could serve as agents for ODFW when doing cougar and bear management.
Commissioners unanimously adopted rules that make individuals ineligible if they have been convicted of any violations of any animal or wildlife protective laws, regardless of when the conviction occurred. Agents will only be able to use dogs when working in an official capacity to implement the state’s wildlife management plans or responding to damage or public safety complaints involving bears or cougars. Prospective agents will be required to undergo background checks; attend a training session where a code of conduct, specific area boundaries and timing of activities is reviewed; and sign an agreement with the agency indicating rules are understood and will be followed.
The sport-hunting of cougars and bears with dogs is not legal in the state of Oregon under Measure 18, which Oregon voters passed in 1994. Measure 18 explicitly allowed ODFW and its agents to use hounds when implementing bear and cougar management, but did not clearly grant the department authority to designate agents. To clarify the law, the 2007 Oregon Legislative Assembly enacted HB 2971 and the Commission today adopted administrative rules to put the law into practice.
In response to a request from the Oregon Falconers’ Association, the Commission adopted new falconry regulations that allow the limited take of peregrine falcon nestlings or fledglings from the wild for falconry purposes by licensed Master Falconers. Under the rules, up to seven nestlings or fledglings could be taken in 2008. Peregrine falcons were de-listed from the Oregon Endangered Species Act last year.
The Commission also adopted permanent rules that set a 2008 recreational sturgeon season on the Columbia River as follows:
- In the estuary below the Wauna powerlines, seven days a week through June 24 with nine-day closure retention during May 1-9. There will be a 45-inch minimum size bag limit beginning May 10.
- From Wauna Powerlines to Bonneville Dam, including the Lower Willamette, retention is allowed four days a week (Thursday-Sunday) January through July and October through December. This area is closed to retention August and September.
- From Bonneville to McNary Dam, sturgeon retention is allowed seven days a week with reservoir specific quotas.
Commissioners selected a painting of blue grouse by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana as the winner of the 2008 Oregon Upland Game Bird Art Contest. Klinefelter has won the contest six other times since Oregon’s contest began in 1990. The second-place winner was Larry Simons from Lebanon.
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.
Agenda items also can be found on ODFW’s website.
Note: Photos of upland bird artwork available by emailing Michelle Dennehy.