The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will approve 2016 big-game hunting rules, the top action item on the agenda when it meets Friday in Florence.
But the hottest topic at the meeting will be a proposal to take gray wolves off the state Endangered Species List, which has drawn nearly 6,000 written comments.
And a vote about de-listing won’t even be held until the Nov. 9 commission meeting in Salem. The Friday agenda item is for taking some of the anticipated huge volume of verbal public comments about the proposal.
The meeting starts at 8 a.m. at the Driftwood Shores Resort, 88416 First Ave.
The de-listing proposal is on the table because Oregon’s Wolf Plan calls for initiating a process to take the predators off the state list when there are four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in Eastern Oregon.
The criteria were met in early 2015 after the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented 10 packs and nine breeding pairs of wolves in 2014. A breeding pair is an adult male and female wolf with at least two pups that survive through Dec. 31.
The overwhelming majority of written comments support a continued listing, but the bulk of those are postcard, note card and boilerplate email submissions from organized “send the following message” solicitations.
On the item about the 2016 hunting regulations, some of the hot topics include allowing archery hunters to use lighted nocks, adding a new Premium Hunt series for drawings for an additional deer, elk or antelope tag with extended seasons; changing the renewal period for hunters with a disability permit from every two years to every five years, legislatively mandated prohibitions of the use of “drones” to aid in hunting, trapping and fishing; and to adopt rules that clarify public access to the new Lower Deschutes River Ranch, which has been added to the Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area.
The full agenda, complete with links to all of the public correspondence on all of the agenda items, is online at stjr.nl/October_commission.