Crossbow hearing stalled by shutdown

Add disabled hunters seeking the right to use crossbows in the field to the list of victims of the federal government shutdown.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission had to table its review of crossbow hunting bans in Oregon because a federal official whom commissioners wanted to hear from could not attend Friday's meeting in Newport.

The seven-member commission was set to hear a presentation from Dana Perez, the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' Pacific Region based in Portland, says David Lane, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But the federal furlough meant no one from the USFWS could testify at the meeting, Lane says.

The discussion was tabled, and now the commission won't be able to revisit crossbow rules until Dec. 6 in Portland at the earliest.

The commission has no November meeting scheduled, Lane says. No formal agenda date has yet been set for the December meeting, he says.

The commission was set to discuss crossbows amid requests by disabled hunters to get the decades-old ban on crossbow use here lifted for hunting seasons.

As a jumping-off point, the commission was set to begin with where it left off when it last visited the issue in 2010 — allowing crossbows only for owners of an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit.

Crossbows are commonly accepted weapons among archery hunters in most Midwest and Southern states, many with whitetail deer populations strong enough that hunters are encouraged to kill multiple deer annually.

In Oregon, hunters have been concerned that the increased power and range of crossbows over conventional bows could lead to higher hunter success rates that could lead to shorter seasons on its migratory mule and black-tailed deer populations. Big-game seasons in Oregon are set based in part on the numbers of deer that hunters are expected to kill.

Crossbows currently are legal only for shooting non-protected animals such as nutria and coyotes that are not part of big-game hunting structures.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.


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