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New rules for rifle hunters during pandemic

The fall general black bear season for rifle hunters kicks off Saturday, and successful hunters will find new check-in procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Successful bear hunters this year will not be required to check their animals in at local Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offices, but they still must report their kill within seven days.

However, hunters this year will not be required to bring the heads of their bears to an ODFW office so a biologist can pull a premolar tooth and take head measurements.

Instead, hunters need to call an ODFW office within the district where they killed their bear and report their name, ODFW ID number, date of harvest, wildlife management unit where it was shot, sex of the animal and confirmation number for their electronic tag. The information can also be emailed to ODFW.WildlifeInfo@state.or.us.

The same reporting procedures are in place for successful cougar hunters.

The tooth-removal requirement had been in place since 2006 as part of a statewide bear population survey. Each spring, biologists put out baits laced with tetracycline, an antibiotic that leaves a stain on the bear’s teeth that can be seen under ultraviolet light. It’s a mark-and-recapture study to determine population estimates.

Marine patrol to begin permit enforcement

State marine patrol officers beginning Saturday will start enforcing the new boating law that requires those operating nonmotorized boats 10 feet or longer to carry a $17 Waterway Access Permit when under way.

The law, adopted last year by the Oregon Legislature, went into effect Jan. 1.

But the law allowed boaters a seven-month grace period meant to educate boaters about the new license.

One permit must be on board every vessel, but the permits are transferable. That way, someone who owns a kayak and a stand-up paddleboard would need just one permit, provided only one boat is under operation at a time.

Those without permits face a Class D violation that carries a $115 fine. However, marine deputies in Jackson County and elsewhere still have the discretion to issue warnings or “fix-it tickets,” which could lead to a waiver of fines, but not administrative fees, in a court appearance.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwriterFreeman.

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