This weekend archery season will begin and hunters will take to the woods in hopes of harvesting a record deer or elk or putting meat in the freezer. Over the past several years archery season has gained popularity. Unfortunately this additional popularity has come with a proportionate increased in wildlife being taken illegally and other problems.
The most frequently asked question involves carrying a firearm during a designated archery season if the hunter possesses a valid concealed weapon permit. The answer is 'no,' a concealed weapon permit does not supercede state law in this case, whether it is carried for personal protection or any other purpose. Over the past few years fish and wildlife enforcement officers have seen an increase in complaints and investigatiosn of people taking deer and elk during archery season with a firearm. This activity is both unethical and unlawful, and the shooter can fact up to a $5,000 fine and a year in jail if convicted.
The second question involves the growing technology in the archery field. Equipment such as mechanical or moveable blade broadheads, barbed broadheads, and broadheads less than 7/8" wide are unlawful for hunting game mammals, with certain exceptions for western gray squirrels. Compound bows with a maximum let-off of more than 65 percent, and any electronic device attached to the bow or arrow, are also unlawful. It is very important to remember that just because you can purchase and legally possess these items they may not be legal to use while hunting game mammals during designated archery seasons.
Although archery hunting in Northeast Oregon is general season, two wildlife units -- Sled Springs and Chesnimnus -- are closed to deer unless you have an elk tag. No other person may hunt deer or elk in these units.
The final area is one that has generated a great deal of discussion in the past; that is the subject of ethical shots. There are hunters each year that take to the woods with a new bow and without any practice. They take long shots and/or poor shots and end up wounding animals that escape and die without being found. I highly recommend both new and experienced archers practice as much as possible prior to the season and to know your limitations. While practice will not guarantee that you will never lose an animal it will certainly reduce the likelihood.
Please report violations of the wildlife laws by calling the Oregon State Police or the statewide Turn In Poachers (TIP) number at 1-800-452-7888.
Take responsibility for your actions and, above all, set a good example for others.
Editor's note: Randy Scorby is a lieutenant with the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division in Baker City.