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Disabled hunters face new permit rules

Outdoor Notes

Disabled hunters must now re-apply for their special permits every two years and have their doctors fill out a more detailed application under new rules meant to shore-up the state's program to help the disabled remain active in the outdoors.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted changes to the newly named Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit as a way of providing help to physically challenged hunters with the intent of creating a better managed program.

The permits allow disabled hunters to shoot from vehicles off roadways.

In the past, the permits allowed holders of buck deer tags to shoot does legally during buck seasons, but that provision was removed last year.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's old Permanent Disabilities Program swelled from about 600 hunters to more than 17,500 in 2004.

— The increase came after the Oregon Legislature relaxed rules governing who can get these permits.

The old permits were issued just once in a hunter's lifetime, so ODFW managers don't know how many living Oregonians hold these permits.

having hunters re-apply every two years, the ODFW will know how many people actually hold the permits.

The two-year requirement also matches the statute of limitations for crimes involving people who falsify their application to get a permit.

The commission also approved a better definition of what constitutes a brace that qualifies its user as permanently disabled. The new program goes into effect in 2006.

HOW TO FISH the Rogue, Williamson and the Wood rivers will be the featured topic at Wednesday's meeting of the Rogue Flyfishers Association in Medford.

Fishing guide Marlon Rampey will be the featured speaker at the Medford-based association's December meeting.

The wet fly hour begins at 6 p.m., with a buffet dinner, meeting, raffle, and Rampey's program scheduled for 7-9 p.m.

The RFF meets at the Red Lion Hotel, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford.

The association also has scheduled its annual New Year's Day chili feed beginning at 10 a.m. at River's Edge Park along the so-called Holy Water impoundment of the Rogue River between Lost Creek dam and Cole Rivers Hatchery.

ROGUE VALLEY hunters again are sharing some of their bounty with the less fortunate members of the local community.

The Oregon Hunters Association is accepting big-game meat as well as nonperishable foods that members of the OHA's Rogue Valley Chapter will be giving to needy families during the upcoming holiday season.

The chapter will be collecting food as part of its 12th annual Hunters Against Hunger program during tonight's meeting at J.J. North's Grand Buffet, 1016 N. Riverside Ave., Medford.

Hunters can bring frozen game meat that is cut and commercially wrapped.

Hunters who want to donate some of their meat can take it to Medford Ice, 2190 Joseph St., in northwest Medford off Sage Road.

The chapter also collected meat at its meeting last week.

THE MAIN BOAT launch in lower Coos Bay will remain closed for the next three months while the entire launching facility is rebuilt.

The Charleston Marina Launch Ramp is owned and run by the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay and is the favorite launch for winter crabbers who flock to the Charleston area in search of the bay's famed Dungeness crabs.

The launch was officially closed Wednesday for construction.

Until work is completed, crabbers and other boaters will be steered toward the Empire Launch Ramp owned by the city of Coos Bay as well as the California Street Launch Ramp in North Bend.

Both ramps are marked on most maps of the Coos Bay/North Bend area.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail Disabled hunters face new permit rules"mfreeman@mailtribune.com.