ROSEBURG - After hearing from two dozen people with differing opinions on trapping practices for predatory animals, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission decided Oct. 10 to delay a vote on trap check requirements and appoint a committee to study the issue and make recommendations in early 2004.

The seven-member commission is the rule-making body for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The panel meets monthly to adopt policies and administrative rules covering fish and wildlife issues in the state.

The commission said additional information was needed on trapping, trapping regulations in other states and information from a legislatively appointed task force. The five-member "Best Management Practice" trapping task force met several times in 2002 after state law was amended to require furbearer traps to be checked every 48 hours and predator traps to be checked "on a regular basis." The Oregon Legislature left it up to the commission to define what constitutes a "regular basis" based on the work of the task force. Recently, the commission decided that more study was needed from an expanded committee that represents all viewpoints.

In Oregon, predatory animals include coyotes, rabbits, rodents, feral swine and birds that are, or may be, destructive to agricultural crops. Furbearers also are trapped and are defined as beaver, bobcat, fisher, marten, mink, muskrat, otter, raccoon, red fox and gray fox.

The commission chose not to hear a proposal that would have required trappers to check their restraining traps or snares holding predatory animals every 76 hours. The proposal also called for trappers to check traps designed to kill predators every seven days.

ODFW staff will appoint members to the expanded committee and present the names of the members at the November commission meeting. In addition, ODFW will publicize the meetings of the committee so that other members of the public may attend.

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