The Commission Orders ODFW To Stop Coyote Killing Contests Within Its Legal Authority

Coyote Killing Contests: Though it denied a petition from 15 groups asking for regulation on this subject, the Commission today authorised ODFW staff to collaborate with the Department of Justice and draught guidelines to end coyote shooting competitions in a way that is consistent with its legal authority. The measure received support from 6 members of the board with only 1 dissenting vote.

The Commission Orders ODFW To Stop Coyote-killing Contests Within Its Legal Authority

Coyotes are considered dangerous predators “when they are or may be harmful to agricultural crops, goods, and activities” according to state law. In accordance with ORS 496.162, the Fish and Wildlife Commission “must not establish limits on the times, locations, or quantities for the taking of predatory animals.” Otherwise, the ODFW manages coyotes, including regulating the method of take, as unprotected animals. The Commission expressed concern that the project had no firm deadline.

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To further the government-to-government connection between Oregon and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, the Commission also today adopted a cooperative management agreement and accompanying rules (CCBUTI).

ODFW To Stop Coyote Killing Contests Within Its Legal Authority
ODFW To Stop Coyote Killing Contests Within Its Legal Authority

As part of their voluntary cooperative collaboration, ODFW and CCBUTI will pool their resources and work together to create strategies for conserving, restoring, and enhancing fish and wildlife populations and the habitats in which they thrive throughout five counties in southwestern Oregon.

Together with the Oregon Department of Fish and Animals and the Oregon State Police, the agreement establishes a framework for tribal people to legally hunt fish and wildlife for sustenance and ceremonial purposes. Douglas, Lane, Jackson, Josephine, and Coos counties, which are all included in the CCBUTI federal service area, will see subsistence and ceremonial harvesting.

“We continue to practise our traditional lifeways of hunting, fishing, and gathering,” stated Kelly Coates, CCBUTI Natural Resources Manager. We educate the next generation on the need of caring for the earth’s natural resources.

Gary Jackson, Vice Chair of CCBUTI, stated, “We are devoted to the preservation of natural resources as part of our cultural identity and conserving these resources for future generations, just as our forefathers did.”

There was supposed to be a vote on a similar arrangement with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians today, but it was postponed until the next meeting.

Other than that, the Commission:

The Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (OCRF), Access & Habitat, and Restoration & Enhancement boards all made recommendations for projects that received funding approval. Many of the 25 projects OCRF suggested for financing address not only drought readiness and wildfire research but also conservation and recreation needs across the state.

A&H plans to extend many hunting access agreements on private land. Reclamation and enhancement programmes (R&E) revitalise and expand fishing opportunities. Tom VanderPlaat of Beaverton was chosen to represent sports fishermen on the R&E board by the commissioners.

Changes to the rules governing the fish passage programme are not unprecedented; regulations mandating fish passage at dams and other impediments date all the way back to 1849. Proposed rule amendments by staff to improve fish passage standards were approved by the Commission with unanimous support. The alterations were the result of the efforts of a Stakeholders’ Subcommittee and of lessons learnt over the previous 22 years.

In doing so, they will hasten the pace at which fish passage is provided at barriers by making it more clear when an owner must address fish passage requirements, giving barrier owners a variety of options to achieve compliance, making sure structures are more resilient to higher storm flows, and encouraging co-existence with beavers to advance nature-based restoration.

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Staff proposals for the groundfish regulations for 2023 were adopted, and the requirements will be in line with federal law. In 2023, the marine bag limit of 5 fish will still be in place to provide a consistent fishing season throughout the year.

Due to the low capture rates of these species, the retention ban on quillback rockfish will stay in effect, while the sub-bag restriction of one fish for China and copper rockfish will be removed in 2023.

Since 2023, all-depth groundfish fishing will be permitted in July and August, as the 40-fathom seasonal depth limitations imposed in the past to protect yelloweye rockfish are no longer necessary. That means next year, when retention is authorised, all-depth halibut fishermen will be able to retain both bottom fish and halibut on the same trip, streamlining restrictions and expanding opportunities.

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