Oregon Hunters' Association - Lincoln County
“Protecting Oregon’s Wildlife, Habitat and Hunting Heritage.”
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. Its 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.