Outdoors: Guile more important than gear in filling a hunter’s tag

Shane Ullrich

The New Era

Someone asked me recently, “Does everyone around here hunt? It seems that if you’re from here, you hunt the deer,” the newcomer added as he settled into the chair in my shop.

He said where he comes from, in California, nobody hunts except a few guys who went on a guided hunt. There aren’t a lot of weekend hunters or folks taking off into the woods for a couple of weeks.

In an area like this, where the popularity of hunting is high, so are hunters’ expectations. The success of the hunt involves a lot of factors. But sure success for most requires cooperation from our spouse or significant other – not just a chance to go, but a chance to drop everything for a couple of weeks and head out to the field. And while you’re out there in the field, there is usually someone picking up the slack at home, taking care of the house and kids.

For success in the field, you need to be in the field and you get more time to be out there if you’re not upsetting your spouse every hunting season.

As an outdoorsman, I find myself getting into a lot of hobbies – hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and shooting. Where do you draw the line? The options seem to be unlimited. There’s muzzleloader hunting and doing your own reloading, tying flies, and long-range shooting. The list of potential hobbies for the outdoorsman (or woman, for that matter) can grow a mile long.

As a hunter, my activities over the past weeks have involved a lot of gear, which, as I clean and put stuff away, I realize just how much work and maintenance is really involved and how much equipment I’ve accumulated. Is all of it really necessary? I always say it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

I was able to fill both my elk and buck tags this year and I used only a fraction of my equipment. I think that this was the year of tricks, not equipment, for me.

As I hear stories in my barbershop about game being taken this year, most of the success seems to have been based on trickery. In fact, most of the hunting magazines in my shop feature some new method of shocking or surprising game. The sneaky way seems to be a much more successful route toward filling your tag over all the cutting-edge technology or new equipment you can run out and buy.

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Hunters are reminded that it is illegal to bring deer, elk or moose parts containing central nervous system tissue into Oregon from any state or province with a documented case of Chronic Wasting Disease.

In recent weeks, several hunters have been cited for not following the ban. Though the regulation has been in effect since 2002, the citations show some hunters may be unaware of, or simply not following the rules, which are crucial to keeping Oregon a CWD-free state.

The following states and provinces have documented CWD in deer, elk or moose: Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Illinois, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, West Virginia and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“No state or province that has detected CWD in their free-ranging wildlife has been able to eradicate it and once an animal is infected, the neurological disease is always fatal,” said Colin Gillin, ODFW wildlife veterinarian. “That’s why it is so important to the health of Oregon’s deer, elk and growing moose populations that hunters follow the rules to keep Oregon CWD-free.”

The following parts may still be imported from those states and provinces: meat cut and wrapped commercially or privately; meat that has been boned out; quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; hides and/or capes with no head attached; skull plates with antlers attached that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue (velvet antlers are allowed); antlers with no tissue attached (velvet antlers are allowed); upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers and ivories); and finished taxidermy heads.

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The South Fork of the Santiam River to Foster Dam in Marion County is open for adipose fin-clipped and non-adipose fin-clipped coho and jack coho salmon fishing through Dec. 31. The use of bait is allowed.

All closed waters near dams, fish ways, etc., remain in effect as indicated in the 2006 Oregon Sport Fisherman’s Regulations booklet.

The Willamette River flows have increased with the heavy rainfall. Fish counts at Willamette Falls were 1,935 fall chinook, and 5,747 coho through Nov. 2. The final summer steelhead count for the season was 19,373 through Oct. 31.

The Willamette River below Willamette Falls closed to coho retention effective as of Nov. 1. It remains open for steelhead the entire year. Of special note for the mainstem Willamette River is a special rule allowing for the angling and retention of adipose and non-adipose fin-clipped coho and coho jacks above Willamette Falls upstream to the Hwy 20 Bridge in Albany. The use of bait is allowed. This rule will remain in effect until Dec. 31.

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The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a two-day fly rod building workshop for women in Sisters on Dec. 9 and 10.

Cost of the registration is $250. The fee includes one night’s stay at the Suttle Lake Church Camp, lunch Saturday through lunch Sunday, and the rod building kit.

Two experienced fly fishermen will teach participants how to build a medium-action, 9-foot, two-piece, 4-, 5-, or 6-weight fly rod. Participants will also learn to repair and restore old fly rods. A majority of the work will be completed in class. However, if the rod isn’t completed during the workshop, materials will be provided to complete the rod at home.

You can download the registration form at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/outdoor_skills/bow/. For more information, contact Travis Aerni at (503) 947-6025.

Shane Ullrich writes about the outdoors ervery other week in The New Era. Contact him at the American Barbershop, 1121 Main St., or by phone at 367-8086.