Poaching has always been a problem where hunting is regulated, and Oregon is no exception. Amidst rampant violations throughout the state, Oregon lawmakers and the Oregon Hunts Association (OHA) have enacted programs to combat this illegal practice, the most recent of which is House Bill 3158.
HB 3158 originally intended to offer free hunting tags to citizens who help law enforcement track down and prosecute poachers, so that violators are proven guilty and convicted. However, comments from the public and the OHA came out in opposition to free hunting tags.
The primary argument is that the numbers of tags issued is a carefully balanced calculation; adding a few tags here and there might confuse the system. A compromise was struck by instead offering preference points towards high-demand tags.
HB 3158 is designed to support the Turn in Poachers (TIP) program implemented by the OHA. The TIP program offers cash rewards to those who help bring poachers to justice. According to Oregon.gov, the TIP program offers anywhere from $100 for turning in poachers of fur-bearing critters up to $1,000 for bighorn sheep and mountain goats.
HB 3158 passed the Senate on May 17 and the House on April 24; the next step will be for Governor Kate Brown to sign off.
Check out www.oregon.gov/osp/fw/pages/f_
By Anthony Vitale