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Trophy mounts legal to sell

Oregon hunters will get a chance to cash in on their big-game mounts under a new rule allowing the one-time sale of hunting trophies.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission opted late Thursday to allow hunters 65 or older to sell their deer, elk or other mounts, as well as antlers still attached to the skull, of animals they have killed in Oregon.

In the past, only mounts unclaimed from taxidermists and those offered in estate sales could legally be sold.

Mounts of animals not native to Oregon, such as Dall sheep and caribou, also can be legally sold, according to statutes.

A Salem-area man requested the rule change after downsizing his home left him with not enough wall space for his mounts, according to the agency.

Under the new rules, hunters must supply the tag used to legally kill the animal or sign an affidavit saying they had a legal tag when they killed the animal. Beginning in 2017, hunters must supply the tag to have the antlers marked by an ODFW biologist for sale.

Sellers also would have to pay a one-time $25 fee to have a biologist verify up to five sets of antlers for sale. Extras would cost $5 apiece.

In other business, the commission set aside for future discussion proposals that would prohibit any new penned bears and cougars in backyards, and tabled proposed new rules for people keeping skunks as pets.

The new wildlife holding and propagation rules proposed by agency biologists would grandfather in existing backyard cougars and bears and bobcats that heretofore could be kept in Oregon provided their cages passed a one-time inspection.

Waivers could be given on a case-by-case basis for animals used for entertainment or commercials.

The proposals are part of a wide-ranging rewrite of wildlife rules aimed at keeping diseases such as rabies from spreading from captive animals to wild populations, and setting standards for what animals can be kept and how they are held.

For instance, it is currently illegal for anyone to keep a wild raccoon or skunk, and it is illegal to buy, trade or breed raccoons and skunks in Oregon. However, Oregon is one of 16 states — and the only one in the West — that allows for the importation of skunks bought from U.S. Department of Agriculture licensed breeders, mostly from the Midwest and South.

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