Letter: Access restrictions could harm tourism
To the Editor:
Follow me on this imaginary trip scenario. I meet this guy from Oregon at a friend’s wedding in California. We share a common interest in hunting sports. He sells me on the idea to hunt trophy mule deer on public lands in the Malheur National Forest. It sounds so enticing that I am buying my camo and camping gear on eBay the next day. I apply for the non-resident hunting license and application for the draw, which because of the exorbitant price I am practically guaranteed a fun-filled trip into the panoramic mountains of Eastern Oregon.
The notice of a successful draw has arrived, and my trip north commences. I have washed my new duds in scent killer and sprayed UV killer all over the exposed surface. I drive up into the hills, set up camp, find a spot to park a short distance up an unmarked road adjoining a gravel road with no Forest Service “advisory sign” in sight, jump out of my rig, spray premium deer urine all over my body with a misdirected mist to my face, struggle into my screaming orange “can you see me now?” hunting vest and I am ready to go. I lick my lips with anticipation, wonder why my mouth now tastes like deer urine, load my rifle and I am off. Later, exhausted from trudging through waist-deep brush and steep inclines, I return to my vehicle to find a greeting from law enforcement advising me that I have trespassed on a closed road and some federal judge in Pendleton has an opening on his agenda to fine me a sizable sum for my transgression. Prior to my trip, I had thoroughly read the Oregon Hunting Regulations, which, though thicker to wade through than cattle yard muck, were fairly straightforward. I had no advanced warning of massive access restrictions until I could hunt up a local Forest Service office or notice a sign board alongside the road. I probably won’t be back. An antelope hunt in Wyoming is calling my name.