Oregon May Reduce
Deer & Elk Tags
The number of controlled-hunt tags made available this fall should decline by 6.5 percent because of decreasing populations or low ratios of young to adult, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission heard today from wildlife biologists.

Each June, the Commission sets the number of tags available for hunts later in the year. The number of tags sold for many hunts is limited to improve management or the hunting experience. Hunters must apply for the limited number of "controlled" tags and a lottery is held after the Commission meeting to award the tags.

In preparation for the vote next month, the Commission heard preliminary information about the proposals and herd health.

• Bighorn Sheep: Biologists propose maintaining the current number of tags at 60. Due to improving populations, biologists also recommend expanding the number of hunts for 2003.

• Mountain Goat: No change is recommended for the four tags offered for mountain goat seasons.

• Pronghorn Antelope: Due to improved buck-to-doe and fawn-to-doe ratios, biologists propose increasing tags by 6.5 percent to 2,600.

• Deer: Buck deer tags are proposed to drop by 2 percent to 79,188 and tags for antlerless hunts are proposed to decline by 20 percent to 23,040 due to low fawn recruitment into populations and incidents of disease.

• Elk: Through surveys, biologists have documented low calf to cow ratios and low bull-to-cow ratios, which has led to decreased hunting opportunities. As a result, tags for bull and either-sex hunts are proposed to drop by 8.5 percent to 36,566, and tags for antlerless animals are proposed to drop by 3.9 percent to 21,836.

• Bear: Bear populations are stable to incresing and biologists propose to increase tags by 2 percent to 5,345 for the spring 2003 hunts.

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