Cattlemen Win With Passing of New Mule Deer LOP Tag Allotment
Corvallis, Ore. (March 17, 2017) – The opening conversation at the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s March Commission meeting surrounded around Mule Deer Landowner Preference Programs tags and ODFW staff’s recommendation for a change to the tag allotment algorithm. Coming off one of the worst winters of the year, hunters worried that this would limit the herd growth of mule deer within the state. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s Executive Director, Jerome Rosa, and President John O’Keeffe, joined ranchers and farmers in encouraging the addition of 600 LOP tags in 2017. This was the suggestion by ODFW’s staff that was successful testified on by OCA Executive Director, Jerome Rosa, and OCA President, John O’Keeffe, and was passed today.
The OCA and the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB), believe that changes to the previous formula was necessary to reflect both the contributions and costs borne by farmers and ranchers in dealing with deer and elk herds. Farmers and ranchers suffer severe economic losses in feeding vulnerable deer and elk; all at the cost of their own ranching or farming operation. The new allotment program will allow farmers and ranchers to manage wildlife damage on their own property. When asked if they agreed to revert to the original algorithm if mule deer numbers declined drastically within the year, they all agreed whole-heartedly; conservation is key.
A joint-letter submitted by the OFB and the OCA stated, “In 2015, ODFW reported that just under 50,000 controlled tags for 100 series mule deer buck hunts were issued to the general public. In comparison, the number of LOP tags issues for mule deer buck hunts was just 2,425. If the Commission adopts the staff’s proposed formula changes, an estimated 600 additional LOP tags could be issues next season under recent MO numbers. Given that the historical harvest rate for LOP tags averages under 50%, these changes would foreseeably result in less than 300 deer harvested under current population statistics. However, this increase would only be foreseeable if the population numbers warranted it. That’s because, and as we would expect and encourage, ODFW would likely take actions to limit the amount of tag opportunities if populations were to decline dramatically in the future.”
“Thanks to the commission for adopting the three-tier approach,” said O’Keeffe. “We acknowledge this successful effort. Moving forward we want the LOP to work better for landowners.”
“Oregon Forestry Industry Council wasn’t involved in the initial conversation but, as fellow landowners, we align with OCA and OFB with ODFW staff suggestions to the commission,” said Amy Patrick, OFIC Director of Forest Protection. This was also her first time testifying and the OCA is appreciative that Patrick participated and helped add power in support of this recommendation by ODFW.
Today was a “win” for Oregon landowners.
The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.