Oregon to Make Final Decision
on June 11th
The number of tags allocated for limited-entry deer and elk hunts are proposed to decline for 2004, while limited-entry tags for bighorn sheep, mountain goat, pronghorn and bear are proposed to increase, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission heard Friday. A final decision is expected June 11 in Baker City .

The Commission is the policymaking body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) implements the policies of the Commission.

ODFW provided the Commission with an informational briefing on all proposals for 2004 season limited-entry tag numbers and 2005 proposed season dates and regulations. Public meetings were held on various dates through May 20, giving members of the public an opportunity to comment on all proposals before the Commission makes any final decisions.

In Oregon, two types of hunting seasons are authorized: general seasons and controlled seasons. During the controlled seasons, the number of tags is limited and hunters must apply for them by May 15. There is no limit to the number of general season tags sold.

The Commission heard the following proposals and updates:

Black-tailed Deer

A 22 percent proposed reduction in tags is based on an apparent decline of black-tailed deer numbers. More than 700 individuals attended recent public meetings to discuss black-tailed deer season options. After 18 months of analysis and public comment, the Commission directed ODFW to implement several strategies for black-tailed deer management, including completion of a species management plan by the summer of 2006. Other strategies are:

• Western Oregon general rifle season was shortened from 40 to 35 days starting in 2004;

• Western Oregon 600 series hunts will start the day after the Cascade Elk Season ends and run through the end of the General Buck Season;

• A bag limit changed from “one buck deer” to “one buck deer having not less than a forked antler” for western Oregon early and late archery season for 2004;

• Elimination of third deer opportunity hunts (800 series) starting with 2005 seasons. All remaining 800 series preference points converted to 600 series points; and

• Continued reduction in antlerless tags as appropriate with remaining hunts focusing primarily on damage.

Black Bear

ODFW is proposing a 4 percent increase in spring bear tags for 2005 and one new hunt in south central Oregon because statewide bear populations are stable to increasing.

Bighorn Sheep

Due to increasing and expanding populations from an aggressive trap and transplant program, proposals to increase 2004 tag allotments by 10 percent are being considered. One new hunt and an expanded boundary for two additional hunts also are being proposed for 2005. Because the boundary expansion is significant, the hunts will be renamed.

Rocky Mountain goat

Rocky Mountain goat populations are increasing in the Wallowa and Elkhorn Mountains as a result of reintroduction efforts. ODFW proposes five tags for 2004, in three hunt areas, which is up from the four allocated in 2003. Two new hunts also are being proposed for 2005. Rocky Mountain goat tags are the most difficult tags to draw in the state, with more than 1,000 applicants for each tag available.

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn populations continue to improve, especially in south central Oregon. Proposed tag numbers are up 4 percent for 2004.


A second mule deer bowhunting season is proposed for Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Both seasons are proposed to be changed so tags would not be valid during the general bow season. ODFW also proposes to delete four antlerless hunts and add one new antlerless hunt for 2005. Three “additional deer” hunts (800 series) are to be deleted in 2005. The two hunts eliminated in the Melrose Unit will be replaced with 600 series antlerless hunts.

Statewide deer tags are proposed to be reduced by 13 percent. Reasons for the decline in tag numbers include lower recruitment ratios and increased disease-related mortality.


Two subspecies of elk occur in Oregon. Roosevelt elk inhabit western portions of the state while Rocky Mountain elk are found in eastern Oregon. Several proposals are being considered that would affect hunting opportunity and tag availability across the state. Proposals include:

• 5 percent decline in controlled rifle bull and either-sex tags;

• 16 percent decrease in controlled rifle tags for antlerless elk;

• Two new rifle bull hunts or either-sex hunts and one rifle bull hunt to be eliminated in 2005;

• New antlerless hunts in 2005 to address damage complaints on both agricultural lands and managed timberlands;

• Five antlerless hunts to be modified with boundary changes;

• Four hunts to be deleted in southwest Oregon and replaced with eight hunts in 2005; and

• Elimination of three Astoria-area north hunts, expanding the boundary and replacing the hunts with three new Astoria-area north hunts.
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