Outdoors: When some don’t follow the rules, other hunters suffer

Shane Ullrich

I am a guy who believes we live with enough rules in our society.

To create new ones just means more paper and more bureaucracy. There are also the unwritten rules, which some might call common sense, or hunters would refer to as ethics.

As a hunter on local lands I am forced to rely on other hunters in the woods to hopefully have the good ethics to not only keep it safe in the woods but also to create an environment that leaves a good impression on up-and-coming hunters.

I was in the woods this last week with my oldest boy, Peyton, when all of a sudden out in front of us jumps a nice buck in the road, right into the headlights of our quad. Peyton urged me to shoot it.

“It’s a big one!” he says.

I explain to him that you can’t shoot them after dark.

He says “But it’s the nicest one we’ve seen.”

It was a nice buck, but knowing how ethics is passed on, we just stopped and soaked in how nice of a buck he was. Peyton now has a case of buck fever and wants his dad to get a big one. I hope not to let him down.

As I have been out this year, it has started to sink in just how many people just don’t think about the damage it causes when they don’t do the right thing. The impression left for future hunters is beer cans everywhere, gut piles on the road and trash and vandalism everywhere. It’s not an impression I want to leave.

As a barber I get an opportunity to talk to a lot of men. It surprises me how many have left the sport of hunting because it’s not worth it to take a chance of being shot at or shot when people are looking at you through their rifle scope. Like everyone else, I miss when the gates were open and they said “Willamette Industries.”

Since Weyerhauser came to town and took over, they locked up gates and only have them open on the weekends. Not fun if you don’t have Saturday and Sunday off. The only real hope for a hunter is a local private timber company opening most of its gates.

Cascade Timber Consultants land provides most local hunters their only chance to get deep into the woods. With the massive amounts of land being purchased for residential property, the private timberlands become a hot spot for local hunting and the pressure gets thick, but sometimes it gets too thick. There is nothing more disappointing than to plan a hunt out with four guys, get up in the wee hours of the morning to secure your hunting spot, get all set up for a drive, only to have a constant flow of hunters to window shop your hunt area. Two or three cars at the end of the gate – doesn’t that scream out “occupied?”

Writing new rules or closing the gates is not a solution to the problem, it just creates new problems. Punishing everyone for the misdeeds of a few isn’t going to change much. It’s the sportsman of today who need to make a difference for the hunters of tomorrow.

If you hunt in the local area or take trips into the outdoors you see and know what I am talking about. You see the trash and vandalism and sometimes a head or carcass. Poor hunting ethics are upsetting but I am not willing to allow this to be the influence that the next generation learns to hunt by.

I will continue to hunt and teach my children to hunt and do what I can do to lead by example.

Good luck to all who haven’t filled their tags and keep it safe out there.

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The Fish and Wildlife Commission on Oct. 6 adopted 2007 regulations governing the hunting of game including deer, elk, cougar, bear, Rocky Mountain goat, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and Western gray squirrel.

The new regulations will make the reporting of hunter harvest and effort mandatory beginning next year, coinciding with implementation of ODFW’s new point-of-sale (POS) system in spring 2007. The system will replace telephone surveys by ODFW staff and enable hunters to report by phone through an interactive voice response or over the Internet. Hunters will need to provide the following information: days hunted, wildlife management unit hunted, sex of animal harvested and antler points of bucks and bulls. To introduce hunters to the new system, there will be no penalties or incentives related to participation in the survey for the first year.

The 2007 Big Game Regulations will be available at ODFW offices and license agents statewide in November. Besides making standard calendar shifts, major changes from the 2006 regulations include:

– Expanding additional cougar tag opportunity from eastern Oregon to statewide

– Adding a two-day youth hunt immediately following end of western Oregon general buck season for youth with an unused Oregon general season buck tag

– The sale of raffle tickets for pronghorn, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat, deer and elk tags will be delayed due to implementation of the new POS system. Tickets will be available Jan. 2-March 14 at 15 ODFW sites and March 15 at POS agents statewide.

– Spring bear – no changes to hunt areas, 9 percent increase in tags to 7,984 (mostly in SW and Starkey)

– Bighorn sheep – new hunt West Deschutes River #2

– Rocky Mountain goat – Second Hat Point hunt

– Eight youth hunts were added in western Oregon. North Warner and Interstate youth hunts will change to Buck Deer (100) series in 2010.

– The commission adopted management plans for the Denman, Elkhorn and P.W. Schneider wildlife areas.

Shane Ullrich writes about the outdoors every other week in The New Era. Contact him at the American Barber Shop , 1121 Main St., or call him at 367-8086.