Hunting season

A Roosevelt elk looks back at others in his heard this past August at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area east of Reedsport. Elk and deer hunting are big topics for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has opened an online forum to discuss potential changes to the 2021 seasons.

Hundreds of hunters from around Oregon have voiced opinions to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife about the organization’s management plan of big-game hunts.

Feedback has come by way of an online forum on the ODFW’s website at www.oregonbiggameforum.org. The wave of suggestions cane not long after the ODFW announced on Feb. 5 it planned on “reviewing our primary deer and elk hunting seasons” according to Nick Myatt, a watershed manager for the ODFW who is leading the review for the agency.

As of early Saturday afternoon, approximately 280 comments had been left regarding big-game hunting seasons for Western Oregon rifle elk seasons, archery elk seasons and Eastern Oregon rifle elk seasons, with 158 comments coming for archery elk seasons. Another 184 had been left in the deer hunting forum, and 117 comments had been made in the forum for big-game hunting.

Any changes made to those season will be for the 2021 hunting seasons. Although the ODFW said in its forum site that random responses will be used for any proposed changes, more opportunities for feedback will be available once those proposal are made.

Questions the ODFW asks in the forums range from timing of the elk and deer seasons to how hunting opportunity and harvest be allocated between weapon types.

Start times for this year’s elk and deer seasons vary. The eastern and western archery deer and elk seasons — the first big-game hunting season for deer and elk in Oregon — runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 27.

Feedback will be taken on the ODFW site through March 3.

BIRD SEASON CHANGESLike deer and elk hunting, the ODFW is also taking feedback for proposed changes to bird hunting in Oregon.

Many of those proposals involve turkey hunting. One, in an effort to streamline regulations, involves the opening of fall turkey season to run concurrently state wide. Currently, fall turkey season in Eastern Oregon begins one week after the Oct. 15 fall turkey season opener in Western Oregon.

Another would lift caps on the number of turkey tags hunters can purchase. The ODFW said in a press release the change would be beneficial since Western Oregon tags never sell out as opposed to Eastern Oregon tags, which always sell out. Eastern Oregon turkey hunting is only allowed on private land, however.

“Removing artificial tag caps will increase opportunity for hunters and provide an additional tool for Wildlife Districts seeking to address turkey damage using licensed hunters,” the ODFW press release said.

Other topics, which include opening mountain quail season statewide with a 10-bird bag in Western Oregon and a two-bird bag in Eastern Oregon, will also be a topic of discussion when the ODFW meets to discuss possible seasons for the upland bird hunting seasons from 2020 to 2025. The ODFW said it sets the general framework for upland bird hunting seasons once every five years, rather than making major changes annually, because upland bird numbers can fluctuate widely each year.

The meeting takes place in Reedsport on April 17. Interested people can also testify in person about the topic at the meeting.

Information: Mikal Cline, Mikal.L.Cline@state.or.us, or 503-947-6323.

BEAR HUNTING ON TAP

The ODFW said this past week that the deadline to apply for a spring bear hunt is 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

Hunters can apply online, with a licensed sales agent, or at an ODFW office that sells licenses.

Hunters can apply online by going to https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login. A 2020 Annual Hunting License is required to apply. Proceed to checkout to complete your hunt application and select your hunt choices.

This year, the SW Oregon spring bear hunt became a controlled hunt and requires application.

Application results will be available by Feb. 20.

Jon Mitchell is a page designer, photographer and writer for The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4214, or at jmitchell@nrtoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJonMitchell.

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