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New Juvenile Sports Pac expected to be popular

State wildlife officials are expecting the new "Juvenile Resident Sports Pac" to be a popular draw beginning Tuesday when licenses and tags for hunting and fishing will be offered for the 2010 year.

The juvenile Sports Pac is a version of the popular adult package of licenses and tags that allow its holder to fish, hunt, crab and clam year-round, and includes the necessary tags for the fish and game species available.

Under a new set of fees that goes into effect this year, the adult version of the Sports Pac costs $164.75, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But under a law passed this year by the Oregon Legislature, the first-ever juvenile Sports Pac for kids ages 12 through 17 will cost $55.

The new tag package was suggested by the Medford-based Oregon Hunters Association and was widely supported in public meetings throughout the state as an avenue to give kids a wide introduction into Oregon's outdoor pursuits.

"The future is getting more kids involved, and the idea is that this is going to be popular," says Meg Kenagy, the ODFW's communications coordinator. "But we haven't sold any yet, so we don't know for sure."

The Sports Pac is one of two main additions to the license and tag fee changes — mostly increases — adopted by the Legislature.

The other main change is the addition of a special tag allowing holders to fish with two rods in inland lakes, reservoirs or ponds. Statewide, Oregonians have been relegated historically to just one rod at a time, but this $17 validation doubles an angler's chance when trolling for trout — Oregon's most popular fishery.

Two-rod tag holders must also have an angling license to be legal, Kenagy says.

The tags and licenses will be available at ODFW offices and Point of Sale license outlets statewide, with the vast majority seeing increases to help balance the ODFW's budget amid statewide budget shortfalls.

The resident combination hunting/fishing license has risen from $43.75 annually to $53. A resident hunting license has climbed from $22.50 to $27, while the resident fishing license has increased from $24.75 to $30.

In 2008, the agency sold 837,577 hunting and fishing licenses, according to ODFW statistics. Of those, 127,251 were Sports Pacs, combination hunting/fishing licenses and senior combination licenses, while 573,647 were angling-only licenses and 136,679 were hunting-only licenses.

Oregonians interested in buying a license or tag as a holiday gift can do so, but they must provide the clerk with the hunter's or anglers' full name and date of birth, along with other necessary information.

If that person previously had a license, the purchaser must provide the clerk with their ODFW hunter/angler identification number, which is printed at the top of the license.

For those buying a license for first-timers, buyers are required by state and federal law to provide the Social Security number of the licensee.

Licenses and tags can be bought online at www.dfw.state.or.us/online_license_sales/index.asp.

A Nov. 19 Outdoor Notebook item about requirements for boaters to wear approved life jackets while on Class III and above rapids beginning in 2010 should have said there were no Class III-rated rapids on the upper Rogue River, not in Jackson County.

Jackson County has several rapids rated at or above the Class III threshold. They include Powerhouse and Nugget Falls downstream from Gold Ray Dam, as well as other rapids on the Applegate River and along the far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Lake.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.