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  • Tag-change proposals minor

  • Hunters looking to draw tags for limited-entry hunts this fall will look at this year's suite of tag proposals with more than a hint of deja vu.
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  • Hunters looking to draw tags for limited-entry hunts this fall will look at this year's suite of tag proposals with more than a hint of deja vu.
    The 140,704 big-game tags recommended by state biologists for limited-entry hunts represent less than a 1 percent change from last year.
    That includes the rare hunts in Southern Oregon that are limited-entry because most of the main seasons in this region are general with no tag ceilings.
    "There's very little change this year," says Mark Vargas, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Rogue District wildlife biologist. "Some tag numbers in Northwest Oregon for elk are down, and some Southeast Oregon for elk are up, and that compensates for it. Tag numbers are just about the same."
    And likely so will be the comments about them in a series of public meetings ODFW has planned this month across Oregon to present biologists' tag proposals.
    The comments will be added to a packet of 2013 tag numbers the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on during its June 6-7 meeting in Tigard.
    Most of the public meetings are held in conjunction with Oregon Hunters Association chapter meetings, including the 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, gathering of the OHA's Rogue Valley chapter at the Eagles Club, 2000 Table Rock Road, Medford.
    Hunters also can email comments to odfw.comments@state.or.us, or fax them to 503-947-6330.
    The only proposed change for limited-entry hunts in Jackson and Josephine counties will be in the 230R antlerless elk hunt, a 50-tag bow hunt in the West Rogue area designed to thin Roosevelt elk that are causing winter damage in low-elevation agricultural lands, Vargas says.
    Vargas didn't propose changing that hunt's tag numbers, but he has proposed to extend the hunt from throughout January to Jan. 1 through Feb. 28 to give tag-holders a better chance at killing an elk. That change is proposed to begin in 2014.
    The biggest change among deer and elk proposals are that bow and muzzleloader tags are proposed for an 8 percent increase statewide and youth elk tags are proposed for a 6 percent increase to 1,115 statewide.
    Buck deer tag numbers overall are slightly less than 1 percent lower than last year.
    The tag numbers for the spring bear hunt in Southwest Oregon was increased from 4,000 tags in 2012 to 4,400 tags this year. Vargas has proposed the same number for 2014.
    The biggest uptick in tag numbers comes for mountain goat, with a 27 percent increase. But that means the proposed total would jump from 11 to 14.
    Bighorn sheep tags are proposed to drop from 97 last year to 96 this year, according to the ODFW.
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