Young guns can now point and click their way toward the necessary hunter-education requirements needed to hunt in Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife now is equipped for hunter-education students to register online at the agency's licensing website, https://or.outdoorcentral.us/or/license, for classes and the required field day.
Young hunters can also register at any license sales agent, such as local sporting goods stores.
The new site, which went live this week, should streamline the sign-up process for students and volunteer hunter-ed instructors, and it fulfills a years-old request by students and parents to get organized online, says James Reed, ODFW's hunter-education coordinator.
Oregon is the first state to integrate education registration though its licensing sales system, according to Reed.
To register, students must pay the $10 class application fee and choose the scheduled date and time they want for their classes or field day. Contact information for the class instructor is printed on their receipt. Students who do not have access to the Internet can call the hunter-education department at 503-947-6028.
Hunter education is mandatory for all hunters under 18 and is recommended for any new hunter. The course covers topics such as firearms safety, hunter ethics, wildlife identification, hunt preparation and techniques, and outdoor survival.
The Oregon program certifies about 6,000 new hunters each year. Classes are taught by ODFW's network of volunteer hunter-education instructors.
In addition to being available online, the course can be taken entirely through a classroom setting or independent study through a workbook. Independent students must pass a field-day exam that includes live-fire exercises.
More information: www.dfw.state.or.us/education/hunter/index.asp.
Robert Watson of Port Orford may have taken the concept of hiding in plain sight a bit too literally.
The 45-year-old Watson was cited for several wildlife crimes last week when he was discovered by an Oregon State Police trooper carrying fresh deer meat, weapons and antlers while hiking out of an area near Tiller that's closed to deer hunting.
Senior Trooper Don Frerichs was patrolling the Tiller area of Douglas County for poachers when he began hiking into a forest area around noon on Nov. 28.
Frerichs spotted Watson hiking out of the area while carrying a backpack, rifle and compound bow, according to the OSP. A search of the pack turned up the freshly cut deer meat and the four-point antlers of a black-tailed buck.
Frerichs cited Watson on misdemeanor charges of unlawful take of black-tailed deer in closed season and failure to validate a big-game tag. The meat, antlers and rifle were seized, police said.
People wanting to soak in Umpqua Hot Springs near Tokatee will need to hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski to reach the springs now that the Umpqua National Forest has closed the road to the springs for public-safety reasons.
A temporary gate just past the junction of Forest Service Roads 34 and 3401was erected this week was to prevent vehicles from getting stuck in the snow on the way to the hot springs.
The closure comes at the behest of the Douglas County Sheriff's office and Toketee residents to prevent vehicles from getting stuck in the snow and subsequent search-and-rescue deployments, according to Umpqua Forest spokeswoman Susan Johnson.
The road was closed last winter, and it was the first time no search-and-rescue missions were launched for the hot springs, Johnson says.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.