Outdoors Briefly

Article excerpt

Byline: The Register-Guard

NEWS & NOTES

A look outside says ski season here, or near

Ski season is officially here in the central Cascade Mountains. Mount Bachelor Ski Area west of Bend opened Sunday with two lifts and a pair of groomed runs. With about 29 inches of snow at the West Village, two more runs were added Monday. The ski area was offering discounted tickets due to the limited service - $43 for adults, $36 for teens, $26 for youth, and $37 for age 65+. The rates will be adjusted as more snow falls and additional terrain becomes available, officials said. Meanwhile, Hoodoo and Willamette ski areas both hope to open by this weekend, although a little more snow is probably needed. Hoodoo was reporting 24 inches at the lodge Monday afternoon, while Willamette Pass had 20 inches. For schedule updates, see: www.hoodoo.com and www.willamettepass.com.

Wolf numbers on the rise in northeast Oregon

The number of reports of wolves in Oregon continues to increase, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Most reported sightings have been in northeast Oregon. From January 2008 through the end of October 2008, the ODFW received 153 reports, surpassing the 122 reports received during all of 2007. While some reports are more reliable than others, a growing number of them have been confirmed by ODFW staff through tracks, scat or howling. A few reliable reports of two wolves running together have come from Union, Baker, and Wallowa Counties.

ODFW and U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists are still attempting to locate, capture, and radio-collar wolves from the Wenaha Unit wolf pack discovered in July. This pack represents the first confirmed breeding of wolves in modern Oregon history. Recent reports of howling suggest the pack is still in this area. Winter snow will provide opportunities to track wolves, so ODFW will increase efforts to monitor wolf activity in northeast Oregon over the winter. No livestock losses to wolves have been reported in Oregon.

Mentored Youth Hunter Program picking up steam

Oregon's new Mentored Youth Hunter Program nearly doubled in popularity during its second year of operation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife reports. Through the end of November 3, 206 youths had signed up for the program. That compares with about 1,650 youth participants in 2007. The majority of program participants (78%) were male, are between the ages of 9-11 (71%) and are first-time hunters (60%). The MYHP has proven to be a family program, with the vast majority of listed mentors (83%) being parents or grandparents (14%). The program is designed to allow youngsters a chance to experience hunting under the supervision of an adult without the need to first complete the hunter education course. ODFW hopes to enroll 7,500 youths annually in the program within five years.

Tickets for 2009 Oregon `raffle hunts' now available

Big game hunt raffle tickets for 2009 are now on sale. Winners of these special hunts get an extended season and hunt area for deer, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope or Rocky Mountain goat. Winning tickets will be drawn May 16 at the Oregon Hunters Association convention in Grand Ronde.

Hunts available in the raffle program include statewide combination deer and elk hunt, statewide deer, southeast Oregon deer, central Oregon deer, northeast Oregon deer, statewide elk, northeast Oregon elk, central/southeast Oregon elk, and western Oregon elk. Money raised goes to the Access and Habitat program, which provides grants to fund wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout Oregon. Ticket prices for deer hunts are $4 for one ticket, $11 for six, $21 for 15, $51 for 40 and $101 for 100. Elk raffle tickets are $6 for one, $21 for six, $41 for 15 and $101 for 40. Combination deer and elk hunt tickets are $11 for one, $31 for six, $61 for 15 and $151 for 40.

Proceeds of the bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and Rocky Mountain goat raffles go to research and projects that benefit these species in Oregon. …