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Biologists recommend tag limits.

Byline: From The Register-Guard and news service reports

Fewer limited-entry deer and elk tags will be issued to Oregon hunters this fall, if the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approves recommendations presented Friday by state wildlife biologists. However, the number of tags available for bighorn sheep, mountain goat, pronghorn and bear would increase over 2003 levels.

Statewide, deer tags are proposed to be reduced by 13 percent from 2003 levels because of lower fawn survival rates and disease-related mortality.

In Western Oregon, a 22 percent reduction in controlled-hunt tags for black-tailed deer is proposed, based on an apparent decline in deer numbers.

(Two types of hunting seasons are held in Oregon - general seasons open to all comers and controlled-hunt seasons for which a limited number of tags are issued via a lottery. To be decided by the commission is how many tags will be available in the lottery in mid-June.)

Elk hunters, meanwhile, face a 5 percent decline in controlled rifle bull and either-sex tags and a 16 percent decrease in controlled rifle tags for ant-lerless elk.

The outlook is brighter for other species.

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

State biologists propose a 4 percent increase in spring bear tags for 2005 because statewide bear populations are stable or increasing.

Bighorn sheep tags are due to increase by 10 percent as a result of expanding populations from an aggressive trap and transplant program. One new hunt and an expanded boundary for two existing hunts also are being proposed for 2005.

The number of Rocky Mountain goat tags is slated to increase from four tags to five in 2004 and to seven in 2005, as a result of reintroduction efforts in the Wallowa and Elkhorn mountains. Rocky Mountain goat tags are the most difficult tags to draw in the state, with more than 1,000 applicants for each tag available.

Final decisions on 2004 tag numbers and on season structures for 2005 will be made at a June 11 meeting in Baker City.
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Title Annotation:Recreation; Deer and elk hunters could have fewer opportunities in the fall
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 20, 2004
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