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With the commercial crabbers currently under a voluntary closure through at least December based on low meat content in the northern and southern sections of the Oregon coast, it’s good news for recreational sport crabbers — especially along the central Oregon coast where the meat content of recently tested crabs is just fine. The reason that the central Oregon coast is not open for commercial crabbing is that it would take two lines of demarcation to separate it from the areas of low meat content. As soon as one of the two areas of low meat content improves sufficiently, then a single line of demarcation could separate the coastal area of sufficient meat content from the area of insufficient meat content and commercial crabbing would most likely begin where the tested dungeness crabs had acceptable meat content.

I think it is quite admirable that the commercial crab fleet “polices” itself to ensure that the crab-buying public gets a product of acceptable quality.

If one is to go by the comment posts on “ifish.net,” Oregon’s largest on line fishing and hunting site, the new ODFW licensing system is deemed an abject failure — perhaps not so much so that it causes people to forget Oregon’s pathetic Affordable Care Act website, but lame enough to at least remind people of it.

I am sure the ODFW goal was a reasonable one — to spend less money to garner the same amount of income. But that assumption is based on selling the same amount of licenses and tags. While the licensing system should show some improvement between now and January 1st, it currently is not ready for “prime time/”

Additionally, the new system is easily abused. While not wanting to go into the specific details of how that could happen, here are my predictions for 2019.

(1) License and tag revenue goes down. A decrease in the number of retail vendors and increased time needed to purchase ODFW licenses and tags make this almost a certainty as prices are the same as for 2018.

(2) Fishing and hunting opportunities in states bordering Oregon suddenly become more attractive.

(3) A greater percentage of licenses and tags will be purchased at ODFW regional offices.

(4) There will be a substantial decrease in the number of hatchery tags purchased this year — and fewer duplicate licenses, as well.

Here are a few specific areas that will show an increased level of abuse for 2019.

The three wild steelhead yearly limit for the Elk, Pistol, Sixes and Winchuck rivers and the five coho yearly limit for Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes.

Where a few anglers used to get around having reached their seasonal limits on salmon, steelhead or halibut by purchasing daily fishing licenses/tags, they will no longer have to spend the additional money to keep fishing.

I believe that most of us are basically good, honest people, but not everyone is and the way licenses and tags are printed with the new system almost invites abuse. Check out ifish.net to see how “happy” people are. Law enforcement personnel dealing with violations related to outdoor recreation in 2019 are going to hate the new system, and it is only going to get worse when 2019 actually arrives.

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers are asking for the public’s assistance in locating and apprehending whoever is responsible for shooting a bull moose sometime between Nov. 8 and Nov. 11 (the last couple of days of the second Bull Elk Season) in Wallowa County.

OHA offers a $1,000 reward from the Turn In Poachers fund, and 11 OHA chapters (Union/Wallowa, Emerald Valley, Yamhill, Clatsop, Josephine County, Capitol, Ochoco, Bend, Columbia County, Umpqua, Rogue Valley, Tualatin Valley and Hoodview) pledged $500 each.

“The poaching of a moose is a tragic thing,” said OHA Conservation Director Jim Akenson, who resides in Wallowa County. “Especially because our moose population is low — fewer than 70 in Oregon. For perspective, gray wolves already number more than twice that many in Oregon, so moose should deserve at least equal management protection.”

Also offered as part of the reward for information leading to an arrest is a Landowner Preference bull elk tag for the Krebs Ranch in the Chesnimnus Unit for the second bull season in 2019. The tag, arranged by Wallowa County resident Jim Zacharias, must be purchased from ODFW by the recipient.

The moose was shot and partially cut up off of the USFS 46 Road between Teepee Pond and mile marker 35 in the Chesnimnus Unit. The suspect(s) accessed the moose carcass from a campsite on the north side of the USFS 46 Road. Additionally, a side-by-side UTV was used to haul the moose meat and parts from the kill site back to the campsite.

Anyone with information that will help identify the suspect(s), is asked to call the TIP line at (800) 452-7888, *OSP (677) or Senior Trooper Mark Knapp at (541) 426-3049.

Informants providing information leading to an arrest in the case could be eligible for 5 big game preference points in lieu of the standard $1,000 TIP reward for a moose case. Callers may remain anonymous and still collect a reward.

In 2017, OHA (www.oregonhunters.org) increased the TIP reward amounts and paid a record $24,200 to informants in fish and wildlife violation cases.

TIP rewards are paid for information leading to the arrest/conviction of person(s) for the illegal possession, killing, taking, and/or waste of deer, elk, antelope, bear, cougar, wolf, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose, furbearers and/or game birds.

* $1,000 Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat and Moose

* $500 Elk, Deer and Antelope

* $300 Bear, Cougar and Wolf

* $300 Habitat Destruction

* $100 Game Fish and Shellfish

* $100 Upland Birds and Waterfowl

* $100 Furbearers

The TIP program also offers the option of preference point rewards instead of cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of big game mammals.

Preference Point Rewards:

* 5 points for reporting a case involving bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose or wolf

* 4 points for reporting a case involving elk, deer, antelope, bear or cougar

How to report a wildlife and/or habitat law violation or suspicious activity:

TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 (24/7)

TIP E-Mail: su.ro.etats@PIT (Monitored Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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