"To Provide an abundant huntable wildlife resource in Oregon for present and future generations,
enhancement of wildlife habitat and protection of hunter's rights."
OHA's current focus is ensuring sound and scientific management of all huntable wildlife species. However, our financial resources are split between wildlife, habitat and a legislative agenda. OHA will strive to increase hunter access to private lands statewide.
Turn in Poachers (TIP)
The TIP program is sponsored statewide and includes a reward program funded by donations, restitutions, and other means.
Habitat and Wildlife:
Each chapter of OHA participates in habitat and wildlife projects pertinent to their area of the state.
OHA provides a lobbyist to the State Legislature to protect and enhance hunter's rights, attend meetings of the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission and other government agencies and private organizations as assigned.
OHA has 25 chapters statewide and over 10,400 members. OHA is made up of all types of hunters: Rifle, bow, shotgun, handgun, muzzleloaders, trappers and all that enjoy the outdoors and wildlife.
OHA accepts any method of taking game legally and ethically. We are a family-oriented organization that believes the youth of today will be the hunters of tomorrow. It is they that will keep our tradition alive.
OHA is structured as follows: A nine member Board of Directors who formulate policies of the Association and manage and have general charge of the affairs and property of the Association. One Director is elected chairman by the board. The Chairman of the Board appoints chairpersons and members of committees and has the authority to represent the Association in dealings with governmental agencies or with the public. The Board makes all the financial decisions and sets policy on major issues. The Board serves three-year terms and are elected by area and region of the state. There are four officers of the Association: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Officers serve a two-year term. The President, while subject to the control of the Board of Directors, has general supervision, direction and control of the affairs of the Association.
Terms of office are three years for Directors and two year for each of the organization officers. All are elected by the general membership by ballots distributed in March and April. The new officers take office at the State Convention in May of each year.
Your dues, when you join OHA, help pay for your automatic subscription to Oregon Hunter magazine, lobbying efforts, and administrative costs. The balance goes to on-the-ground wildlife and habitat projects. Chapters hold fund-raisers to fund local projects. 75 percent of the proceeds from their fund-raisers are invested at the local level. Of the remaining 25 percent, 20 percent goes to the state, and 5 percent goes to the Wildlife and Habitat Superfund.
OHA has only two full-time and two part-time paid employees plus a lobbyist under contract. Thus, by having a nearly 100 percent volunteer force, the bulk of all money collected is used on projects benefiting wildlife.
Each chapter has its own bylaws, but they must fall within the bylaws of the parent organization. Officer term limits may vary and election procedures fit each individual chapter but still fall within the structure of OHA.
In February 1983, in the small community of Powell Butte, Oregon, the Oregon Hunters Association was conceived. A small group of individuals sponsored by the Wallowa Elk Hunters met and established procedures, rules, and goals to form a professional, well-organized, statewide organization. It's primary goals were to enhance wildlife habitat, ensure a huntable wildlife resource, and to protect hunter's rights.
The structure of Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) would be a Board of Directors at large. This would be the governing body of OHA. In the beginning there were three paid employees: One executive director, one office manager, and one magazine editor. All other positions were filled by non-paid volunteers.
During the first year, OHA proved to be a formidable group, always keeping its major goals in view. Wildlife and habitat were top priorities. Deer and elk herds in Eastern Oregon had suffered greatly due to harsh winters and drought summers. Numbers were decreasing at a rapid rate. Winter feeding programs were set up to sustain the herds through the winter. For the coming summer, water guzzlers were purchased, installed, and maintained. These programs helped stabilize the herds, and they are slowly recovering. These programs were funded by OHA from donations received statewide and the manpower supplied by volunteers. Each donor was asked to join OHA, and many did.
Hunter's rights became a major issue in the mid-80's. OHA sent a representative to lobby at the 1985 State Legislature. This proved successful, and some important laws were passed to benefit and protect hunters. As membership grew, politicians began counting votes. OHA now has a loud voice and they listen.
In the early years, membership proved to be the key to success. The first year, 1700 members were signed and proved to be a group of hard workers dedicated to the same cause. Today we steadily increase in numbers. Membership has grown to 10,500-plus in 25 chapters statewide. We have a long way to go but we will get there.
All of OHA's funds stay in Oregon, and the bulk of the money is spent at the chapter level on wildlife and habitat projects. Some of our projects have included:
- Clearing away brush and undergrowth
- Planting high quality browse and grasses for deer and elk herds
- Setting out guzzlers in areas where water is critical
- Building and placing nest boxes for wood ducks
- Assisting ODFW with transplant programs for turkey, elk, and other wildlife.
To better our relationship with private landowners, we have helped build fences to keep deer and elk out of their crops. We have participated in road closures where excessive logging and road building have taken away basic cover, and traffic has kept herds unsettled.
We work cooperatively with ranchers to fence areas where deer and elk are damaging agricultural crops and pastures. In some cases, we'll also establish feeding stations to draw starving deer and elk away from haystacks.
We assist timber companies in maintaining and patrolling areas where logging equipment is set up, to reduce vandalism and poaching. Cooperative programs like these provide public access to land, land that would have otherwise been closed to the public, for hunting.
Today every bill that goes before the Oregon Legislature is closely scrutinized by our lobbyist team as well as OHA's board of directors and members at large. OHA members sit in on the committee hearings and testify on behalf of OHA. These efforts have helped form a telephone tree that reaches members across the state. This effort has had a tremendous impact on the outcome of several proposed bills.
When a bill is in committee, our lobbyist team activates the telephone tree by calling one member. That member calls half a dozen other members and so on down the phone tree. This puts the work out about our position on the bill. Each member then calls their respective legislators to voice our position on the particular bill. In the end, after a flood of phone calls from concerned hunters, our legislators take crucial votes on the bill. The influences created give us a needed hand in protecting hunter's rights, gun ownership rights, wildlife habitat, or any other aspect affecting Oregon hunters.
One of the first bills OHA supported was the Hunter Harassment Bill. We were instrumental in its passing. It is now against the law for anyone to purposely disrupt a person's legal hunt. This law is now on the books in all but a couple of states nationwide.
In another legislative session, we were instrumental in getting the school gun law modified. In its original form, it would have been illegal to own a gun if you lived within 1,000 yards of a school. You would have broken the law if you drove within a block of a school with a firearm in your vehicle en route to go hunting. OHA's voice is listened to. We do not want guns in our schools; we want realistic laws that do what they are intended to do.
OHA works hand in hand with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon State Police (OSP) to ensure that present and future generations have a huntable wildlife resource. OHA sponsors the Turn In Poachers (TIP) program, which rewards individuals who help convict poachers. Now we manage the OSP funds for their Wildlife Enforcement Decoy program.
Through our efforts and cooperation with state agencies, poaching is taking a good punch. Poachers rob us of wildlife, and we are working hard to reduce these crimes. Punishment is more severe now than it ever has been. Violators often must reimburse OHA for any reward money issued in their apprehension.
OHA chapters have also been instrumental in helping establish or re-establish huntable wildlife species, (such as wild turkey, bighorn sheep, Columbian whitetail deer, and chukar) that have been hit by harsh weather conditions, decimated by disease, or who have been out of their natural range in Oregon for a long time. This past year was very rewarding for OHA as it has helped pay for two new herds of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep to be transplanted into Northeast Oregon. The two herds have graciously been named the "OHA Rogue Valley Chapter Herd" and the "OHA Herd".