|The first of the Oregon 2006 Access and Habitat Program auction hunts got off to a roaring start with a record-breaking $25,000 winning bid on a statewide elk tag, breaking the previous elk auction tag record of $19,500 set in 2000.
The elk tag sold at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Tillamook Chapter's annual banquet February 4.
The Access and Habitat (A&H) Program was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1993 and is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Funds raised by the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations and others for cooperative wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.
Auction hunts are one way the A&H Program raises funds. Each year, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission provides five elk tags and five deer tags. The A&H Program enters into sponsorship agreements with various hunter conservation organizations, which auction the tags at their annual banquets. The groups keep 10 percent of the revenues for their own conservation projects and the remainder goes to the A&H Program for grants.
"Last year, hunters reached an all-time high with the deer and elk auction tags, raising $217,000," said A&H Program coordinator Nick Myatt. "I expect 2006 to be another record-setting year for the auction program."
The A&H Program also receives five elk tags and five deer tags for its raffle program. Raffle tickets are currently on sale at point-of-sale agents and from ODFW headquarters in Salem. Revenues from the raffle hunts also are used for A&H habitat and hunter access projects.
Winning auction bidders and raffle ticket holders are allowed an extended deer or elk hunting season, from September 1 through November 30 over multiple management units. Any legal hunting device may be used to fill an auction or raffle tag. Winners may harvest an additional deer and/or elk with general or controlled season tags during authorized seasons.
More information on the A&H Program, auction hunts and raffle hunts may be found on pages 28-31 of the 2006 Oregon Big Game Regulations booklet, on the program website at www.dfw.state.or.us/ah , or by contacting A&H Program Coordinator Nick Myatt at 503-947-6087.
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