The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking comments through May 1 on an early draft of its proposed budget for 2019-21. This is a great chance to tell the agency to focus more on protecting all of Oregon's fish and wildlife for all people instead of focusing so much on managing "game" animals for hunting and fishing. Send your comments to: ODFW.TownHallComments@state.or.us. For more information on the Department of Fish and Wildlife budget, go here.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife will spend about $400 million in the two-year period starting July 1, 2019. The agency is charged with managing all wildlife in the state for the benefit of all people in the state. However, the agency historically has focused most of its attention on promoting hunting and fishing, in part because a lot of its money comes from selling hunting and fishing licenses. Meanwhile, the number of Oregonians who hunt and fish has steadily declined - to 8 percent and 17 percent, respectively. The Department is starting to move in the right direction but still has a long way to go.
Please encourage the Department to adopt a budget that reflects the interests of all Oregonians, not just people who hunt and fish. While it's difficult to identify spending categories that relate to just hunting and/or fishing, or just to something else, specific comments to ODFW could include:
Spend more money on the "Conservation" category, which is now only about two percent of the budget.
Spend less money on fish hatcheries, which primarily serve fishing and account for about 16 percent of the budget (and are known to hurt wild fish).
Spend less money on "predator control," much of which is done on the theory it leaves more deer and elk for hunters.
Continue to identify funding sources other than hunting and fishing licenses (now about 30 percent of the total) to make the agency less beholden to hunters and anglers.