Downtime, Curt Melcher

Photo by | Jason Kaplan

The Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife talks about Seinfeld, country living and gillnetting.

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What I’m reading
I’m re-reading Astoria by Peter Stark and just started Lee Child’s Night School, the latest in the Jack Reacher series.

Must-have gadget

What I’m watching
In addition to an assortment of sports, I watch Seinfeld. I’ve seen every episode countless times, but it still feels fresh.

Latest download
Sensi, so I can adjust my home thermostat from afar and make sure no one is covertly wasting energy.

No place like …
Rural south Clackamas County, [where I live] on 20 acres. Within walking distance to nothing, which is how I like it. I can hunt out my back door and see elk, deer, bears, cougars, bobcats, coyotes, quail, grouse and a plethora of songbirds. 

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Family traditions
Every July 4, we have about 30 friends over for a barbeque, and then we all go to the Molalla Buckeroo to enjoy a small piece of Americana – rodeo and fireworks.

Notable vacation
My most recent vacation was the stay-at-home kind, so not much to report other than I got to drive my tractor to mow my pasture. I continue to make time for hunting or fishing trips around the state.

Role model
Carl Shoemaker, who was the head of the Oregon Fish and Game Commission in 1912. Every American should be grateful for Shoemaker’s diligence in developing a critical piece of federal legislation in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act. The act has been funding state conservation efforts through federal excise taxes on arms and ammunition and is an important part of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Why I love my job
Working with staff that show up every day with a purpose, motivation and dedication to our mission.

When I’m not working
I enjoy fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing. Oregon has so many incredible opportunities, I try to get out whenever possible.

ODFW’s stance on gillnetting
Five years ago, the ODFW Commission was tasked with developing a plan to remove gillnets from the Columbia River. As the transition period ended, the issue was back before the commission. That debate will continue as the commission tries to find the right balance between the competing interests, demands and values.

What issue is more controversial: wolf management or gillnetting?
They are equally controversial. The public response on wolf management is much more diverse, so that probably gives it the edge as more controversial.