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New contest for mentor hunters includes prizes

Oregon hunters who help bring a new face to the woods or reintroduce the fields to a lapsed hunter this fall can come away with a statewide deer tag or other prizes.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is hosting its new “Take a Friend Hunting” contest to encourage friends and family members to enjoy time together in the outdoors this year.

Adult hunters who mentor other new or lapsed adult hunters can qualify for a drawing whose prizes include a Weatherby .300-magnum rifle valued at $1,000, a 2018 statewide deer tag, a Leupold rifle scope valued at $690 and others.

The mentor and the mentee have to preregister with the ODFW and hunt together any time and in any season during the rest of 2017. Prizes, which also include gift cards to sporting goods outlets and other gear, will be awarded in January.

The statewide deer tag must first be authorized by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which is scheduled to do so in September.

So far, close to 500 mentor/mentee tandems have signed up, says Michelle Dennehy, the ODFW's Wildlife Division spokeswoman.

"We don't necessarily have a target number of participants," Dennehy says. "But I think we'll see more pickup in registrations as fall seasons get underway."

To be eligible, both players must have a valid 2017 Oregon hunting license and be age 18 or older and all regular weapons, tag and hunting requirements apply.

For contest purposes, new or returning hunters are those who have never purchased an Oregon hunting license, purchased for the first time in 2016, or have not purchased since 2012.

For more information and registration, go to www.oregonhunter.info/.

Fire closures at TouVelle

Most of the TouVelle State Recreation Site along the Rogue River is closed indefinitely to the public so it can be used as a base camp for Oregon Department of Forestry crews battling the Flounce fire near Lost Creek Lake.

The picnic grounds on the larger upstream part of the park along Table Rock Road are closed to the public, but customers of the Rogue Jet Boat Adventures still can be bused into the staging area there, park Manager Nathan Seable says.

Part of the downstream side also is being used by firefighters, but public access to the boat ramp there will remain open, Seable says.

The closures were enacted Tuesday morning after lightning strikes Monday evening ignited the Flounce fire two miles northeast of Lost Creek Lake, and they will remain in place until further notice.

"We're hoping it won't be too long, but I would not be surprised to see it go through August, especially with the lightning in the forecast," Seable says. "They could be there a while."

Five-rod rule enacted

Winter trout anglers will be allowed to have up to five rods in their ice holes beginning in 2018 under a new rule enacted to expand opportunities for ice fishing.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Aug. 4 enacted a small plate of new angling changes to begin in January, including allowing up to five rods per angler while ice fishing if they have a $21.50 two-rod validation.

The commission also added no bag or size limits for those keeping nonnative bass that have moved into the lower Deschutes River.

Kokanee anglers in both Wickiup Reservoir and Lake Billy Chinook will see their daily limits rise to 10 kokanee apiece.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has moved to a four-year cycle for its larger reviews of angling regulations statewide, but smaller annual changes are set up for agency recommendations for changes.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtfribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.