Hunting tag numbers to increase for some game next year

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, at its regular monthly meeting in Salem last week, approved big game hunting regulations for 2006.

Major changes include a 5-percent increase in spring bear hunting tags statewide, to 6,778 tags. A new spring bear hunt in the Hood Unit is added.

The statewide cougar harvest quota is increased, from 580 to 668. The check-in requirement is expanded from 72 hours to 10 days, recognizing the needs of hunters in remote areas and those on extended hunting trips.

Bighorn sheep hunters will see five new hunts throughout existing units. Rocky Mountain goat hunters will have an additional four days in their hunts. A second hunt for pronghorn antelope is added in the Whitehorse Unit, with 80 tags estimated for 2006.

Archery elk bag limits will be changed for 2006. The standard bag limit will be a legal bull, except in units where herd levels allow antlerless harvest. Biologists will propose units for antlerless animals to be included in the bag limit, following herd surveys each spring. A list of proposed ?antlerless or legal bull? units will be available by May 1.

The Ochoco Management Unit, east of Prineville, will become a controlled archery hunt for elk in 2006. Bow hunters will need an Ochoco archery elk tag to hunt deer in the unit. The tag also will be good in general season areas.

Details will be available on ODFW?s Web site,