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6/7/2014

To all,

As most of you surely know, the Fish and Wildlife Commission met in Salem on Thursday last to adopt 2014 controlled hunt tag numbers and to consider regulatory proposals for the 2015 seasons.

There were a number of proposals, some coming out of the recent ARPAC process and some not, that should be important to Oregon's bowhunters. The proposals that garnered the most attention at the Commission meeting were proposals by ODFW to make the "one elk" controlled archery tags in the Heppner, Ukiah, Snake River, Sled Springs and Chesnimnus units a bowhunter's only elk hunting opportunity.

ODFW's interest in considering limits on tag portability was a big point of discussion in the ARPAC process. The bowhunter representatives on ARPAC were unanimously skeptical of the idea and there was no consensus supporting limits on tag portability. Then, right on the heels of the ARPAC discussions, ODFW came forward with their proposals to eliminate tag portability in the five (5) units.

Rich Thompson (TAO) and I testified in strong opposition to the ODFW proposals to limit tag portability. Several members of the Commission picked up on our opposition and questioned ODFW Director Roy Elicker about justification for the proposals. The short story is that Director Elicker told the Commission that the ODFW staff will work further with the ARPAC representatives and report back on the issue at their October meeting. I think there may be some reason for hope that ODFW's proposals to limit tag portability in the five (5) units may not be adopted.

ODFW's proposals to continue controlled deer hunting and to establish controls on elk hunting in the Warner and Maury MDI units is still up for consideration at the Commission's October meeting. I testified against those proposals as well, but I couldn't tell if I made any impact on the members of the Commission. We'll have to wait and see what happens when the proposals are considered for adoption in October.

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting and Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters


3/28/2014

To all,

I'm forwarding a news release I just received from ODFW.  If you scroll down through the news release far enough to get past the sturgeon item, you will find the schedule for the big game public meetings coming in May.  The meetings will occur at locations all around Oregon between May 1st and 15th, and are our first opportunity to provide input for consideration by ODFW and the Commission. 

As indicated in the news release, the public meetings will cover the recommendations from the recent ARPAC meetings and will also contain other proposals generated by ODFW, including anticipated tag numbers for 2014 controlled hunts, etc. The draft proposals from ODFW likely won't be available until late April, but I'll send them out for review as soon as I see them. 

The Commission meetings in June (2014 tag numbers) and October (2015 regulation changes) are when the ODFW concepts and input from the public meetings get considered.  Although there will almost certainly be nothing in the concepts from ODFW on equipment issues this year, the public meetings and the June Commission meeting, in particular, are a good time to make a pitch for things like lighted nocks if you want to keep the heat on to get them legalized. 

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting and Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters

Link To Calendar


1/20/2014

To all,

At their meeting on Friday, January 10th, the Oregon Game Commission reviewed information regarding the use of crossbows for hunting game animals in Oregon. It was determined that no rule making action is requested. The Commission tabled the idea opening archery season to use of crossbows by disabled hunters. Representatives from OBH, OHA and TAO strongly opposed the proposal from ODFW staff. In particular, Al Elkins, OHA's representative at the meeting, effectively spoke against legalizing crossbows in Oregon. As a result of the united opposition from sporting groups, ODFW Director Roy Elicker recommended tabling the staff proposal and the Commission agreed. Comments from Director Elicker implied that it would probably be two or three years before ODFW would consider the matter further, if even then.

Even though the ODFW proposal has been beaten back for now, we need to be aware that concerns over hunting opportunities for disabled hunters is still an issue needing to be addressed. Legalization of crossbows could still be addressed through the Legislature or the Courts. We still need to remain vigilant and ready to protect the interests of Oregon's bow hunters on this issue!

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters


1/1/14 Legislative Report

To all,

As you’re reading this column, the 2013 Oregon archery seasons will be history! I hope 2013 was a good year for you whether you were able to measure success by bagging game or just by the opportunity to hunt. Now comes the time of year when we begin preparations for the new year. Some of us will be looking for new archery equipment, maybe even a new bow, while others may be looking to fine-tune existing equipment. The best shooters practice their shooting on a year-round basis and indoor practice sessions or leagues will soon be in full swing if they aren’t already. And, of course, we’ll be planning for the 2014 OBH Convention and banquet and our 2014 hunts!

Remember that the deadline for mandatory reporting on your 2013 tags is January 31, 2014. Reporting is required for most big game and turkey tags, and failure to report will result in a $25 penalty. Reporting is required whether a hunter is successful or not, and even if no hunting was actually done after a tag was purchased. The first assessment of the $25 penalty began December 1, 2013 for early purchase of 2014 licenses for those hunters who failed to report on their 2012 tags. The penalty for failure to report on 2013 tags will be charged for purchases of 2015 licenses.

During the last two (2) major Legislative sessions, State Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland) was the major roadblock in the way of potential legislation to address predation by cougars. Ms. Dingfelder recently resigned from her State Senate seat to accept a position in the office of the Mayor of the City of Portland. While Ms. Dingfelder’s absence from the State Senate is no assurance that future cougar legislation will be successful, it is a good thing for Oregon’s hunters!

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will be convening an Archery Review Committee (ARC) process early in the new year to discuss a variety of issues and concerns related to bow hunting in Oregon. Oregon Bow Hunters (OBH) will be represented in the ARC process by George Johnson and Craig Starr. Other hunting organizations, such as TAO and OHA, will also be represented in the process and several bow hunters, possibly including OBH members, will be selected at-large for the Committee.

It is still too early, at this point, to know exactly what issues will be discussed during the ARC process or how the discussions will go. However, there are a number of likely candidates for discussion, including:

  • Antlerless hunting inequities in central and eastern Oregon.
  • Cross-species archery hunting restrictions in northeast Oregon and the MDI units.
  • Crowding concerns and alternatives for addressing them.
  • The rationale for expanding archery hunting rather than restricting it.
  • Discrimination against purchasers of point savers in applying for 2nd choice controlled hunts.
  • Equipment issues, including crossbows in archery season, lighted nocks and expandable broadheads.
  • Safety issues, including mandatory Bowhunter Education and firearms hunts overlapping archery seasons.
  • General game management issues, including the impact of antlerless tag numbers and scheduling/duration of antlerless seasons on game populations.

Other issues not included on this preliminary list may also be raised during the ARC process whether by OBH or others. Anyone with interests or concerns that should be addressed, whether pro or con, in the ARC process is invited to contact George Johnson or Craig Starr with your ideas.

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters


12/17/13 Legislative Report

To all,

I imagine that many of you already know that the 2014 Big Game Regulations are available at many, if not all, license vendors. On Page 79, the new regulations reflect new controlled elk hunts that ODFW has established in the Heppner (248R), Ukiah (249R), Snake River (259R) and Chesnimnus (258R2) units. The bag limit is "one elk" for the first three hunts and "one antlerless or spike elk" for the Chesnimnus hunt. It is important to note that these controlled hunts are in addition to the existing general or, in the case of the Chesnimnus unit, controlled hunt in the units. So, for example, if you apply for and draw the controlled 248R tag in the Heppner unit you would be able to harvest either a bull or antlerless elk in that unit rather than just a bull elk as has been the case in recent years. If you apply but are unsuccessful in drawing the controlled tag, you can still hunt the Heppner unit, but you would be limited to a "bull only" bag limit just as you have been in recent years.

The change allows bow hunters who draw a tag to harvest an antlerless elk in some units where we haven't had that opportunity in recent years. With that in mind, if you haven't yet had a chance to review the new regulations in detail, you should know that there is an error on Page 79 regarding the new controlled archery elk hunts. That is, the new hunts did not get included at the top of the page in the listing of controlled hunts where the controlled hunt tag is also valid for the general archery season as they should have. The following message from Tom Thorton of ODFW confirms that the omission of the new hunts from that listing was an oversight and that the new controlled tags will be valid for the controlled hunt as well as for the general archery elk season in other units.

I don't know whether ODFW will issue a correction to license and tag vendors on this or not. If they don't (and, probably, even if they do), there will almost certainly be bow hunters who are confused by the failure to list the new hunts at the top of Page 79 and who may think that the controlled tag is to be their only elk hunting opportunity. It isn't -- if they draw one of the tags they can either hunt using the controlled tag in the unit they draw it for or they can hunt the general archery elk season in any unit where it is open. If you hear from any bow hunter who is confused about the situation, I hope this information will allow you to give them the correct information.

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters



05/20/13 Legislative Report

To all,

I hate to "scoop" the upcoming issue of our OBH magazine, but the ODFW proposal to open archery seasons to crossbow use is so important that I think it's necessary in this case. Because we've gone to a quarterly magazine out of fiscal necessity, the publication schedule is such that our next magazine issue won't hit the streets until after the June Commission meeting.

I've attached two (2) items above -- a short article on ODFW's crossbow proposal and a list of nine (9) "talking points" reacting to the proposal. The "talking points" have been developed cooperatively with TAO. The first attachment includes both E-mail and postal (snail mail) addresses for the Fish and Wildlife Commission. If you have concerns about opening archery seasons to crossbow use, please send the Commission an E-mail or letter as soon as possible so they have it prior to their meeting on June 6th. Please don't just forward the "talking points" to the Commission, but feel free to use any of the information in the "talking points" when preparing your comment to the Commission.

It is important that the Commission hear from bow hunters who have concerns about opening archery seasons to use of crossbows!!Let them hear from you!!

Also, if any of you plan to attend the Commission's June meeting and are willing to testify on the crossbow proposal, please let me know as soon as you can. We might be able to coordinate testimony to make the best use of the limited time we'll have available. The June Commission meeting will be in Tigard, but I still don't have an address. I'll find out where the meeting will be and let everyone know.

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters

attachment 1 -

Crossbows in Oregon?

ODFW is once again considering allowing "disabled hunters" to use crossbows in archery seasons. The crossbow issue was included in ODFW's proposals for 2014 regulatory changes that were recently out for review in public meetings around Oregon.

ODFW tried this in 2010, but their Commission rejected the proposal to open archery seasons to crossbow use after strong objections by a few TAO and OBH members who became aware of the secretive proposal only shortly before the Commission meeting where it was to be considered. Both TAO and OBH are strongly opposed to any use of crossbows during archery seasons.

Since the ODFW proposal became known this time, representatives of OBH and TAO have been working together to develop a list of "talking points" on the crossbow issue. The bottom line - if crossbows are allowed in archery season, look for archery seasons to become more restrictive - shorter and controlled!!!

ODFW's proposal will go before their Commission at the June 6th meeting in Tigard for initial consideration. As this is written, the outcome of the Commission's consideration of the ODFW proposal is uncertain. Unless the proposal dies in that meeting, it would be considered for adoption at the Commission's October 4th meeting in Newport.

To make comments on whether crossbows should be allowed in archery season, contact the Commission by letter at 3406 Cherry Street NE, Salem OR 97303 or by E-mail at odfw.commission@coho2.dfw.state.or.us to express your opinion. We need your help!!

attachment 2 -

CROSSBOWS IN OREGON

  1. Oregon Bow Hunters (OBH) and Traditional Archers of Oregon (TAO) have historically opposed use of crossbows in archery-only seasons, and are still strongly opposed today.
  2. At the Archery Technology Review meeting on July 24, 2010, all participants involved, including OBH, TAO, Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) and representatives from ODFW and OSP Game Enforcement Division are on record as not favoring use of crossbows in archery-only seasons in Oregon.
  3. Crossbows are not at all similar to vertical bows, and, in fact, have more in common with rifles than with bows and arrows.
  4. Vertical bows must be hand drawn and the string held by the archer for release. Crossbows are locked and loaded at full draw, minimizing the need for the drawing movement that often foils the opportunity for a shot with a vertical bow. Crossbows can readily be used over a rest, from behind a rock or log, or even from within a vehicle thus making them much more effective as an ambush or poacher's weapon.
  5. Crossbows have many features in common with rifles: shoulder stock, cheek piece, forearm grip, scope, trigger with kill switch, and features which allow them to mate up with tactical- style rifle accessories. Vertical bows have none of these features!
  6. Vertical bows commonly have draw weights between 50 and 80 pounds, and typically produce a kinetic energy between 40 and 80 foot-pounds. Crossbows typically have cocking weights of 150 to 200 pounds and produce a kinetic energy of 120 to 200 foot-pounds.
  7. In state after state across the U.S., opening archery season to use of crossbows by disabled hunters has been the "toe in the door" that crossbow manufacturers have then used to continually expand crossbow use to additional users. In Kansas, for example, crossbows were initially only allowed in archery season for use by disabled hunters. Then, it was anyone under 15 years of age or over 55 years of age regardless of physical ability. Now, the push is to open archery season for use of crossbows by anybody. Oregon shouldn't head down that slippery slope!
  8. Unlike eastern and mid-western states with an overpopulation of whitetail deer where use of crossbows is common, Oregon's deer herds are struggling to maintain management objectives and buck/doe ratios. Mule deer numbers have been on the decline due to predation and habitat issues as noted by ODFW's Mule Deer Initiative. Blacktail deer also suffer from habitat loss with the decrease in timber cutting, predation and the effects of Hair Loss Syndrome. Increased effectiveness of crossbows in archery-only seasons would surely result in a loss of opportunity for all Oregon hunters.
  9. If disabled hunters want to hunt in Oregon's archery only seasons, they should do it using a vertical bow fitted with Adaptive Archery Equipment", not with an entirely different kind of weapon. ODFW should establish specific medical standards for disabilities similar to those in place in Washington which must be certified by a physician before an individual is entitled to an accommodation to the standard archery equipment regulations. Then, ODFW should identify equipment modifications to vertical bows similar to those established by Montana which can be used during archery season as an accommodation for a physical disability certified by a physician.
  10. In addition to provisions for approval of "Adaptive Archery Equipment" for disabled hunters during archery season, crossbows could be considered as a lesser weapon during rifle season and/or an equal or lesser weapon during muzzleloader hunts where they more closely resemble the weapons legal for such seasons.
  11. The combination of provisions for "Adaptive Archery Equipment" and identification of crossbows as a lesser weapon in rifle and/or muzzleloader seasons will provide a legally defensible reasonable alternative to opening archery season to use of crossbows.
  12. While crossbow manufacturers claim they want to help wildlife agencies RECRUIT, RETAIN & REACTIVATE hunter numbers, the truth is that every trade magazine article ends with a "pitch" that selling crossbows will enhance dealers' bottom lines. The crossbow manufacturers are eager to have their products legalized in archery seasons only to enhance their sales.

04/15/13 Legislative Report

What's happening at the Legislature and ODFW.

There is lots of apparent activity around the whole issue of gun rights vs. gun control in the aftermath of Sandy Hook and other fairly recent mass shooting tragedies, both at the federal and state legislative levels. Most of the gun control proposals seem intended more to give the illusion of "doing something" than to actually address issues that might make a real difference in gun violence.

In the Oregon legislature, Oregon Outdoor Council's (OOC) bill (HB-2624) which would allow counties to vote to allow use of dogs and bait for hunting cougars and bears has received initial hearings. Also, OOC's effort to include Constitutional protections for hunting, fishing and trapping is in the legislative hopper. Support from us is important on these issues!

ODFW's proposed 2013 tag numbers and 2014 regulatory proposals should be coming out any time now for the public meetings in May. OBH has proposed establishment of a late-season archery deer hunting opportunity in several northeast Oregon units as a partial offset to the opportunities lost as a result of ODFW controlling archery elk hunts in that area of the state. If that's something you'd like to see, let ODFW know at the public meetings.

Finally, there has been some preliminary indication that ODFW may be preparing to take another run at legalizing use of crossbows by disabled individuals during archery seasons. At this early point, we don't know if there will be a proposal presented for the May public meetings or if ODFW will move forward in some other way. OBH will be closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates as the situation becomes more clear. OBH has an established position opposing use of crossbows during archery season.

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters


2/23/13 Legislative Report

 CENTRAL OREGON HUNTING ACCESS

Our Fall 2012 edition of “Oregon Bowhunter” included an E-mail letter to editor Jack Elbert from Fred Maurer of Bend expressing substantial concern about a report in the Bend Bulletin regarding access agreements on two (2) private ranches in central Oregon . The news report indicated that ODFW was funding habitat improvement projects on the ranches in exchange for hunting access only for rifle hunting. Mr. Maurer was obviously (and understandably) concerned that public funds were being used for the projects, but that bow hunters would apparently be excluded from access to the ranches.

After receiving a copy of Mr. Maurer’s E-mail, I did some checking and, as is often the case, found that the newspaper report omitted several important facts. First, much, if not all, of the funding for the habitat improvement projects was from a federal farm program that was being eliminated and the funding needed to be used within a short time window. The ranches involved had “shovel-ready” habitat improvement projects that could start quickly and the work would benefit important wintering grounds for Mule Deer that spend much of the year on public lands. Second, the projects were not regular ODFW Access and Habitat (A&H) projects (projects funded from license/tag fees) which give priority to projects that do not restrict access based on seasons or hunting methods. Third, the ranch in the Maury unit will be open for bow hunting under the access agreement beginning in 2013. The ranch did not allow bow hunting access in 2012 because the habitat improvement work was under way over much of the hunting area during archery season and the property owner was concerned for worker safety. Finally, the rancher in the Ochoco unit has a long history of not allowing archery hunting, not even by family or friends. While the prohibition on archery hunting on the ranch in the Ochoco unit is still bothersome, the bottom line is that the complete story creates less cause for concern than did the news report to which Mr. Maurer was reacting.

All access for hunting on the two (2) ranches, including bow hunting on the Aspen Valley ranch in the Maury unit, will be on a reservation basis. All hunting will be on a walk-in basis only and hunters will be required to park in designated areas. No motorized access will be permitted beyond the parking areas. Information regarding reservations can be obtained by contacting Meg Eden in ODFW’s Prineville Field Office at (541) 460-2266. The number of hunters allowed access at any one time will be limited so advance contact is recommended! Of course, hunters will be required to have the appropriate controlled hunt tag(s) in order to hunt on the ranches.

These projects are the first of their kind in central Oregon and we’re fortunate that ODFW was able to find ranchers who were willing to open their property to hunters in exchange for the habitat improvement projects. Unfortunately, far too many ranchers have had bad past experiences with “slob” hunters who tear up the land, litter or otherwise leave messes, damage fences or other property, and harass, injure or even kill livestock. Whether we can gain access to hunt on other private properties in central Oregon in the future probably depends to a great extent on whether the hunters who take advantage of these new access agreements leave a positive impression on the ranchers involved in the projects. If any of you take advantage of this new central Oregon hunting access opportunity, please remember that you are acting as good will ambassadors for all of us. Please go out of your way to leave your host with a good impression and do more than your part to be sure the owners and their properties are treated respectfully!

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters


10/10/12 Legislative Report

ODFW MAKES 2013 HUNTING CHANGES

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission had its major big game meeting of the year on October 5, 2012 in Salem to consider new regulations proposed for the 2013 hunting seasons. Following are some of the more significant proposed regulation changes adopted by the Commission for 2013:

The previous S. Paulina controlled archery antlerless deer hunt will be replaced with a unit-wide hunt.
Controlled archery elk tags for the Ochoco unit will be divided between bull only tags and any elk tags rather than all being for any elk.
Spike-only elk hunting in the Wenaha, Walla Walla and Mt. Emily units will be controlled. Elk tags in these units will be a hunter's only elk hunting opportunity and hunters who do not draw a controlled elk tag will not be able to hunt for deer in the units.
Elk hunting for all hunters (rifle, muzzleloader or bow) hunting the west slope of the Cascades will be bulls only on National Forest lands, but will remain any elk for archers on lands outside of the National Forests.
A $25 penalty for failure to make a mandatory hunting report will go into effect beginning with purchases of a 2014 hunting license.
Oregon Bow Hunters (OBH) strongly opposed the restriction on deer hunting in the Wenaha, Walla Walla and Mt. Emily units only to holders of a controlled elk tag. Although the staff recommendation was adopted over OBH's objections, several Commissioners expressed concern about the impacts of the proposal especially since these units are part of the small portion of Oregon where Whitetail deer can realistically be hunted on a general archery tag. This concern may open the door for more serious consideration of some late-season Whitetail deer opportunities for Oregon's bowhunters in northeastern Oregon as OBH has been seeking for years.

Several OBH members again urged the Commission to legalize use of lighted nocks for hunting in Oregon. Even against the usual opposition from Traditional Archers of Oregon (TAO), a motion was put before the Commission to legalize lighted nocks as an exception to the current total prohibition against any electronics on the bow or arrow. The motion failed by a 3 to 3 tie vote, but even just having the Commission vote on legalizing lighted nocks was a small step toward eventual approval of an effective tool for improving recovery of wounded game.

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters


9/25/12 Legislative Report

Long Shots and Bowhunting Ethics

As you surely know, Oregon Bow Hunters (OBH) ran an opinion poll on our web site a few months ago regarding legalization of lighted nocks. During the course of that poll, exchanges occurred on two (2) internet hunting forums in which proponents of traditional archery repeated their myth that modern archery equipment has become so hi-tech and effective that it threatens to cost Oregon's bowhunters the relatively generous hunting opportunities we still enjoy. Several of those who made such arguments suggested that shooters of compound bows routinely take shots at game at 70 yards, 80 yards, 100 yards or more while implying that those using traditional equipment are restricted to much lesser distances by their equipment choice!

To put it bluntly - I think such arguments are, for the most part, baloney!!

While there unquestionably are some bowhunters using modern equipment who take shots at
longer distances than many of us may consider appropriate, there have always been individuals who will take exceptionally long shots regardless of the equipment they use. Dr. Saxton Pope wrote about taking hunting shots at 150 yards or more, and reported several instances where deer, sheep, moose and bear were taken by him and/or hunting companions Art Young and Will Compton at 65 to 85 yards. In his early years, Howard Hill figured his effective range was 200 yards - using a longbow! Among his successful shots, Hill reported taking a running Pronghorn at 70 yards, a Bald Eagle (in Canada) at 150 yards and a bull Elk at an amazing 185 yards!! While on a hunt in British Columbia, Hill and a hunting companion, Fred Woodley, each killed a Mallard duck with consecutive shots at 160 yards! Most modern compound shooters should no more be characterized by the exploits of a relatively few individuals who take long hunting shots today than traditional shooters should be characterized by those individuals from traditional archery's documented past. Archery equipment has always had a deadly range far greater than the capability of most shooters using it, and that's true for both traditional and modern equipment!

It isn't the equipment each of us prefers to use that determines whether or not we will take a long shot. It's something inherent within each of us - our respect (or, unfortunately, the lack of it in some cases) for the game we pursue and our individual bowhunting ethics - that guides how long of a shot we are willing to take. I'm a firm believer that hunting ethics can't be "legislated" (e.g., controlled by equipment regulations). However, I believe just as strongly that we each have a moral obligation to the game we pursue and to our sport of bowhunting to be sure that we aren't taking shots that are beyond our competence level regardless of the capability of our equipment. When the average shooter's competence is the measure, the difference between the length of hunting shots taken by traditional shooters and most compound shooters is much, much less than those who object to all modern equipment options (except, of course, the ones they now accept as "traditional") would have us believe.

Anyway, the sad fact of the matter is that Oregon's archery seasons have little or nothing to do with the effectiveness of archery equipment, whether traditional or modern! Since 1979 when separate firearms and archery tags were initiated in Oregon, archery seasons have been determined primarily, maybe even entirely, by the politics around ODFW's management of firearms seasons and tags. A couple of times over the past three (3) years, I've had ODFW staff tell me directly that they won't do something OBH is requesting for Oregon's bowhunters because of the blowback they would get from firearms hunters! So long as archery seasons remain constrained by the politics of firearms seasons, the difference, if there is any, between the effectiveness of traditional and modern archery equipment is meaningless!

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters


7/3/12 Legislative Report

A Short History of Oregon's Bow Seasons

I recently did a little research to follow up on concerns expressed by "traditional" archery advocates responding to OBH's poll on legalizing lighted nocks. Several people commented on internet hunting forums that the effectiveness of modern archery technology could lead to shorter hunting seasons. Although I didn't find even a single instance where modern archery technology has shortened Oregon's archery seasons, the exercise of reviewing old hunting regulations and communicating with some archery "old timers" was both informative and interesting. I thought you, too, might be interested in some of the information I found about the history of Oregon's bowhunting seasons.

1928 - Hunting with the bow and arrow first became legal in Oregon. There were no special archery seasons and hunting with a bow was just an option in the general hunting seasons.

1935 - Oregon's first archery-only hunt was established in the Canyon Creek area south of John Day. Oregon was the second state to have an archery-only season following only Wisconsin which had its first archery-only season just a year earlier. I was unable to find any information on the length of the hunt or the bag limits of that 1935 archery season so if anyone out there has that information I'd like to know it.

From 1935 through 1978, additional archery hunts came (and some also went away) in areas scattered around the state. Any hunter who desired to hunt with a bow could do so during the archery-only hunts and then, if unsuccessful, hunt using a rifle during the general hunting season on the same tag. In 1969, as an example, archery hunts lasting from 13 to 61 days were provided in what would now be comparable to our early general archery season. However, only seven (7) areas were open for elk and eighteen (18) areas for deer. In some cases, the open area included an entire unit, but several hunts were limited to only part of a unit. Only a couple of areas in the whole state had a late season for deer, and the only late elk seasons were in a few areas in western Oregon where hunting was limited to within 400 yards of agricultural lands.

1979 - Hunters were first required to choose between a rifle tag or an archery tag for deer and elk hunting, and Oregon's first statewide general archery season was initiated for bowhunters choosing to bowhunt. ODFW Commissioner John Boyer and OBH representatives negotiated a general archery season that was 49 days long. Cow elk could not be taken during the first three (3) weeks of the season in western Oregon. Several late deer and elk hunts of substantial length were also provided in both eastern and western Oregon.

1980 - Unfortunately, the general season negotiated with ODFW Commissioner Boyer only lasted a single year. As a result of complaints from a grand total of seven (7) rifle hunters, ODFW reduced the 1980 general archery season from 49 days to 37 days - a loss of 12 hunting days after only a single year of a statewide season!!

2012 - Fast forward to today and we now have a general archery season of 30 days - another 7 days lost since 1980! We no longer have any late general seasons for either deer or elk in eastern Oregon. The late archery deer season in some western Oregon units has been reduced by a week, supposedly over safety concerns related to a muzzleloader hunt that ODFW allowed to encroach on the previously existing late archery season. Antlerless hunting opportunities for both deer and elk have been drastically curtailed in much of the state. We now have at least 24 controlled archery hunts where there were NONE in 1980!! And, many of the controlled hunts seem to serve no purpose other than to inconvenience Oregon's bowhunters!

Comparing the archery seasons from 1979 with those of today, it is easy to become frustrated over the loss of archery hunting opportunity, especially when much of the lost opportunity seems due to nothing more than an attempt by ODFW to appease firearms hunters who are jealous of our opportunities! However, consider what our situation might be like if it weren't for OBH fighting to preserve the hunting opportunities we still enjoy. I've been told by some of the "veterans" of the battles to preserve archery hunting seasons that we'd be lucky to have a two-week general archery season today if it weren't for the efforts of OBH and, based on my experiences working with ODFW over the past 3 or so years, I believe it!!

If you don't like the ever more restrictive limits on archery hunting in Oregon, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you've done all you can do to help preserve our archery hunting seasons! OBH has been in there fighting for bowhunting opportunities since 1948! We need the other 29,000 or so bowhunters in Oregon to pull their weight!!

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters

6/29/12 Legislative Report

LIGHTED NOCKS - IS OBH PRO OR CON?

At a June 7th meeting in Salem, two (2) individuals, both members of Oregon Bow Hunters (OBH), asked the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to legalize lighted nocks for hunting in Oregon. They told the Commission that lighted nocks are legal to use in 44 states placing Oregon in the small minority of states in which lighted nocks are still not legal for use while bow hunting. The individuals argued that lighted nocks provide no advantage to a bow hunter before a shot is taken, and that they only aid in recovery of the arrow and information about a hit that could aid in recovery of a game animal that might otherwise be lost. In particular, they indicated that lighted nocks would be helpful during the late archery Blacktail deer season when hunting often occurs in low-light situations even at mid-day and arrow flight is often extremely hard to follow.

During the Commission's discussions following testimony by the individuals, an ODFW staff member told the Commission that testimony at their September 30, 2010 meeting was "overwhelmingly opposed to legalizing lighted nocks." Unfortunately, this serious mischaracterization of the testimony from the September 2010 Commission meeting seems to have made its way into the lore regarding legalization of lighted nocks as I've also heard it other places in the past year or so. Even OBH Editor Jack Elbert, in his editorial comments in the new issue of "Oregon Bowhunter", said, "An attempt by ODFW to legalize lighted nocks was presented before the Commission (at their September 30 meeting) but was opposed by OBH because it would have opened the door for crossbows in Oregon, NOT something that OBH is in favor of."

Jack was absolutely correct that OBH strongly opposed and helped defeat ODFW's proposal to allow disabled individuals to use crossbows during archery seasons at the September 2010 Commission meeting. However, he was dead wrong in stating that OBH opposed legalizing lighted nocks at that same meeting. In fact, except for passing comments by a couple of Traditional Archers of Oregon (TAO) representatives opposing lighted nocks, there was NO testimony from OBH or anyone else opposing the part of ODFW's proposal that would have legalized lighted nocks. It was the Commissioners themselves who had reservations about easing the existing prohibition against electronics on bows or arrows and who rejected the ODFW's proposal to legalize lighted nocks in spite of having received no significant amount of testimony opposed to that part of the ODFW proposal.

Without question, OBH strongly supports legalization of lighted nocks for hunting in Oregon. As Jack said in his editorial comment, OBH has a formal, written policy statement expressing our support for legalizing lighted nocks. As an organization, OBH decided at our 2012 Convention not to actively pursue legalization of lighted nocks this year. However, we fully support the efforts of the individual OBH members who have decided to continue the effort on their own!

Craig Starr
2nd VP Bowhunting & Legislation
Oregon Bow Hunters