Hunting and fire danger
As early season hunters know, dry conditions and the associated fire danger can have a large impact on your hunting opportunity. It pays to check in advance to see if there are any access restrictions in the unit(s) you plan to hunt.
Ban on deer/elk urine scent begins Jan. 1, 2020 to protect wildlife from CWD: Safely dispose of urine scent products at ODFW collection sites
The 2019 Oregon State Legislature has passed a bill that bans the possession and use of deer and elk urine scent lures that contain or are derived from any cervid urine beginning Jan. 1, 2020. HB 2294 was sponsored by Rep. Witt (D-Clatskanie) and Rep. Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) and is meant to reduce the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to the state’s deer, elk and moose populations.
Deer urine scent lures are used by some hunters. The typical scent lure mimics a female during breeding season and can attract a bull or buck to a hunter’s position position or mask the hunter’s scent.
Oregon’s ban is in keeping with a recommendation from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), urging states to ban cervid based urine products to limit the spread of CWD. These products are also banned in several other states including Alaska and Louisiana.
Hunters or businesses who have these products should safely dispose of them by bringing them to an ODFW district office. ODFW staff will arrange for any scents collected to be incinerated in an 1800 degree oven, a temperature known to kill the prion that causes CWD.
“It’s important that these products are not poured down a drain or on the ground when they are discarded,” said Colin Gillin, ODFW wildlife veterinarian. “We want to limit the prion that causes the disease from being deposited on the landscape.”
About Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
CWD has never been detected in Oregon’s wildlife but has been found in free-ranging deer and elk in 26 other states including several western states. The disease is caused by a protein called a prion that damages the brain of infected animals, causing progressive neurological disease and loss of body condition. CWD is untreatable and always fatal.
The prions can spread through the animal’s body fluids (including urine, feces and saliva) and through nose-to-nose contact between infected animals. Prions shed through bodily fluids can bind to soil minerals and remain infectious for long periods in the environment, spreading to new animals for years as deer and elk come into contact with infected soil and possibly plants containing the prions.
Urine sold commercially as a scent lure is collected from captive cervid facilities. Nationally, CWD continues to be found in captive cervid facilities and animals from these facilities are considered to be at higher risk for CWD for several reasons: Captive cervids are often moved extensively among facilities between and within states including states that have CWD; they are artificially concentrated behind fences which can more easily spread prions; the testing of captive animals may be limited; some high fence shooter buck herds are not tested at all; and equipment that may be contaminated with the prion when shared between herds and farms provides a risk factor for moving CWD without moving animals.
ODFW has been monitoring the state’s deer and elk for CWD for years by testing harvested animals at checkpoints during hunting seasons and roadkill carcasses, but has never detected CWD within Oregon. The few captive deer and elk facilities in Oregon also test for CWD and have never detected it. The state has also banned the import of any deer, elk, caribou or moose part containing central nervous system tissue where the prions exist (such as whole heads or spinal columns) into Oregon.
For more information about CWD, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/health_program/chronic_wasting/
Free pheasant hunts for youth hunters around the state in September – Register now!
Youth hunters (age 17 and under) can sign up now for ODFW’s free pheasant hunts happening around the state in September.
The events are being held in Central Point, Corvallis, Eugene, Irrigon/Umatilla, John Day, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Madras, Ontario, Portland/Sauvie Island, The Dalles (Tygh Valley). New this year, ODFW has also added a youth pheasant hunt at its new Coquille Valley Wildlife Area in Coquille.
See dates below and register online (see Register for a Class/Youth Upland Hunts) or at an ;ODFW office that sells licenses. (Registration is not available at license sale agents). A youth or their parent will need to be logged in to the youth’s account to register online. Note that the Ladd Marsh and Fern Ridge hunts do not require advance registration.
ODFW and partners stock pheasants at these special hunts that give youth a head start on regular pheasant seasons, which don’t begin until October. Quail and dove also can be hunted. Volunteers often bring their trained hunting dogs to hunt with participants. Some events begin with a shotgun skills clinic, so participants can practice clay target shooting before hunting.
These events are open only to youth who have passed hunter education. (ODFW has hunter education classes and field days available before the events.) An adult 21 years of age or older must accompany the youth to supervise but may not hunt.
“Youth pheasant hunts are a great chance for young hunters to find early success and put the lessons learned in hunter education classes to work in the field. The experience and memories they make during these hunts will stick with them their entire life,” says Brandon Harper ODFW hunter education coordinator.
ODFW stresses safety during the hunts. Both hunter and supervisor must wear a hunter orange hat, eye protection and a hunter orange vest—equipment provided at the clinics by ODFW to anyone who doesn’t have it. Hunters also need to check in and out of the hunt.
The hunts are free, though participants need a valid hunting license ($10 for youth 12 and older, free for age 11 and under) to hunt. Youth hunters age 12-17 also need an upland game bird validation ($4). Purchase online or at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses. Licenses and validations will not be sold at the events.
While most areas have a hunt both Saturday and Sunday, youth hunters may sign up for only one hunt. They are welcome to hunt stand by on the other day.
University of Washington study shows how deer adapt to the presence of wolves
In February, the University of Washington released the results of a two year study they conducted in cooperation with the Colville Tribes and the U.S. Forest Service, the study was done to see how deer responded to the presence of wolves. That results were amazing! And, the results gave critical insights that hunters must know when there are wolves in areas that they hunt. That information can mean the difference between a tag filled, or tag soup.
Return of the wolves: How deer escape tactics help save their lives
As gray wolves continue to make a strong comeback, their presence can’t help but impact other animals — particularly the ones these large carnivores target as prey.
White-tailed deer and mule deer, two distinct species common in Washington, are among wolves’ favorite catch. Wolves will chase deer great distances — sometimes upwards of 6 miles (10 kilometers) — in search of a satisfying meal. How these two deer species respond to the threat of being pursued by wolves in the early years of this predator’s return could shed light on changes to their behavior and numbers.
To help answer this question, researchers from the University of Washington and other institutions monitored the behavior and activity of wolves and deer in Washington for three years. They found that mule deer exposed to wolves, in particular, are changing their behavior to spend more time away from roads, at higher elevations and in rockier landscapes. ADDED INFORMATION FROM ROGUEWEATHER - Remember, our local blacktails are indeed mule deer. That has been proven by DNA studies by Oregon State University. So, that information that came out about what mule deer are doing is critical to know, and remember. Now down here in Southwestern Oregon where we have wolves, the black tails are absolutely going to tougher terrain. But, it is not so much rocky as thickly forested. I saw that first hand last deer season in the Butte Falls area. I was encountering bucks....lots of bucks on slopes that were steeper, and loaded with dense growth. That was eastern, northern, and western facing slopes mostly. Did not see any of southern facing slopes. And in our area, southern facing slopes tend to be open....and thus favoring the wolves. The Rancheria Flast outside of Butte Falls that were once a top deer hunting spot have become far less so since the qwolves arrived. Now we know why. The deer are avoiding it with the wolves around.
“In any particular ecosystem, if you have a predator returning, prey are unlikely to all respond similarly,” said senior author Aaron Wirsing, an associate professor in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “We show that wolves don’t have a uniform effect on different deer species.”
ALL gamebird seasons are now closed in Southwestern Oregon including waterfowl: The exception to that is:
Eurasian collared-doves: These are non-native game birds that can be harvested year-round with no bag limit; however, a hunting license is required. They are found just about everywhere throughout Southwestern Oregon, and seem to be in especially high concentrations near residential zones.
Reminder for all deer and elk hunter, once you find out whether you got a controlled deer and/or elk tag or not, you will still need to pick up your tags. Etag – you still have to go to the online account – purchase from the catalog – and choose your tag. If you have a Sports Pac you will have a “$” symbol next to your tag. It will populate your cart as zero payment. If you don’t have a Sports Pac, you will have to pay for the tag. Paper tag – you can go online or to a license agent and purchase your tag. If you have any problems contact an ODFW office for assistance.
Fall black bear season started August 1. Hunters can expect another good year. Early season success has been reported as very good. It is much better than it has been at this point of the season in the last 7 years. The Applegate unit has historically had some of the highest harvest in the state so focus your efforts there; however, the Rogue and Evans Creek units can also be very productive. Huckleberry patches at high elevations and blackberries at low elevations seem to be a good place to start your search for bears feeding in early morning and late evening. Fawn calls can also be a useful tool when trying to harvest a bear.
Here in southern Oregon you can harvest two fall bears when you purchase a SW Additional Fall Black Bear tag. This tag is good for all of units 20-30.
Remember that there is a mandatory check in of your bear skull at an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of harvest, the skull must be unfrozen. In addition if you harvest a female bear you must turn in the entire reproductive tract to ODFW. See page 60 in the big game hunting regulations for more information.
Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met (see zone quota page). Please remember it is mandatory to check in any harvested cougar with ODFW, including the unfrozen skull, hide, proof of sex, and reproductive tract if female. Please call your local office to schedule the check in. For more information refer to page 62 of the 2019 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations.
Youth Antlerless Elk seasons began Aug. 1 in many areas across southern Oregon. These are controlled hunts that give youth a long, low-stress hunting season in which they can hopefully harvest an elk.
Elk this time of year are generally up in the national forests foraging in dark timber. As summer ends and weather gets more severe, they generally move down to lower elevations that boarder private land. September can be a very productive time as elk are typically more vocal and even cows can come into an area you’re calling from.
Western gray squirrel: Western gray squirrel hunting remains open with no bag limit in that part of the Rogue unit south of the Rogue River and S Fork Rogue River and north of Hwy 140. See page 63 of the 2019 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations for more information.
Coyotes are abundant in our area. Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. Hunters can find coyotes around meadows and brush piles where mice and rabbits are found. Predator calls are very useful when used in conjunction to known prey base. Remember to identify your target.
Dixon, Indigo, Evans Creek, Melrose, E Tioga and NE Powers Wildlife Management Units
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Cougar: Look in areas adjacent to agriculture and within areas of higher concentrations of deer. When fresh tracks are found, set up and call with either mouth or electronic predator calls.
Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.
Coyote: Numbers are strong throughout Douglas County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.
Fall black bear: The season opened Aug. 1. Hunters can expect another good year. Early season success has been reported as very good. It is much better than it has been at this point of the season in the last 7 years. Huckleberry patches at high elevations and blackberries at low elevations seem to be a good place to start your search for bears feeding in early morning and late evening. Fawn calls can also be a useful tool when trying to harvest a bear.
Eurasian collared-doves: These non-natives are expanding throughout Douglas County. These birds have no protections in Oregon, so there are no closed seasons and no limits to their harvest. Target Eurasian collared-doves around agricultural areas and forest openings where food sources are abundant. Be sure of your identification before you hunt these abundant invasive birds. Identify this species and its habitat
W Tioga, Powers, and portions of Sixes Wildlife Management Units
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Coos Mountain Access
The Coos Mountain Access Area goes into effect Aug. 25 and will be in effect year-round for the next three years. This is the newest Access Area in Oregon and encompasses about 63,000 acres in the heart of the Tioga Unit. Within this Access Area most of the arterial roads are open for motor vehicle access and many, but not all, of the secondary roads are open for foot or bike access. This new Access Area was created in response to some private landowners in the area expressing a willingness to allow public access in a way that is compatible with their land management goals.
Lands within Coos Mountain Access Area provide excellent opportunities for big game and upland gamebird hunting and viewing. Roads that are open to foot or bike access also provide great opportunities to hike or use mountain bikes in conjunction with hunting and viewing in an area where those opportunities are not plentiful. Roads open to motor vehicles are marked with green dots. All other roads are open, only to foot or bike access. For information on Coos Mountain Access Area , contact The Charleston Field Office at (541)888-5515. Maps are available.
Fall black bear: The fall black bear season opened Aug. 1 and is off to a great start. Fall season will continue through the end of December with increasing opportunity as forage becomes more available. Blackberries, wild plums, apples and other fruit are ripening and bears are feeding on them heavily. Hunters interested in finding bears here in the early part of the season should be concentrating on these food sources. Often a well places tree stand or ground blind can set a hunter up with a good opportunity to harvest a bear. Many hunters suggest locating berry patches or fruit trees associated with old homesteads for this type of hunting. Bears will get comfortable going to these places to feed and, as a result, be less wary.
Here in southern Oregon you can harvest two fall bears when you purchase a SW Additional Fall Black Bear tag. This tag is good for all of units 20-30.
It is mandatory to check in of your bear skull at an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of harvest, the skull must be unfrozen. In addition if you harvest a female bear, please turn in the entire reproductive tract to ODFW if possible. See page 59 in the big game hunting regulations for more information.
Elk: All elk hunts in Coos County are currently closed and will reopen at the end of August.
August is a good time to be scouting for elk to hunt in the upcoming bow season. Bulls will start using wallows and rub trees in early rutting activities.
Coyote: Numbers are strong throughout Coos County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.
Test your identification skills with ODFW’s new Coyote and Gray Wolf ID Quiz.
Cougar: Cougar has reopened with the new year. The most productive way to hunt cougar is to use a predator call. Hunters are reminded if they harvest a cougar, they must have it checked in to an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. See the 2019 Oregon Big Game Regulations for details.
Eurasian collared doves: These non-native doves are found in Coos County. While they are generally found near residential areas, they can be found in other locations. They tend to be most common in association with agricultural lands and other rural settings. There is no closed season or bag limit for them and they are, reportedly, good to eat. Hunters need to get permission to hunt them on private land. With a little pre-hunt scouting it is possible to find the birds in sufficient numbers to have a quality hunting experience.
HUNTING WITH DRONES IS ILLEGAL IN OREGON!!
With the exploding use of drones, comes abuses. I see a lot of "professional drone pilots" out there now who do not seem to know what the FAA laws are regarding drone use, and they are supposed to KNOW them. So, can you blame private citizens flying drones for fun if they don't? But, ignorance is NO defense in court. It is against the law to use drones while hunting in Oregon. It actually is a well established law now. That means you cannot get out of your truck at say the top of a logged unit in the Cascades and fly a drone down it to see if there is a buck or bull down there in the season. This article from the East Oregonian outlies it all very well......click here to see it.
Wolves are present in Oregon
ODFW is monitoring about 20 areas of known wolf activity, mostly in northeast Oregon and several in southwest Oregon. Wolves may also occur in central Oregon and the Cascades. See the Wolf web page for the latest information.
Wolves remain on the federal ESA west of Hwys 395-78-95. In the rest of eastern Oregon, wolves remain protected under the state’s Wolf Management Plan and no take is allowed, except in defense of human life or by livestock producers in certain situations in the eastern third of Oregon.
Oregon has not seen any conflict or human safety problems between people and wolves, but there are some tips online on how to avoid problems. This flyer also has tips on recognizing wolf sign, differentiating between wolves vs coyotes and protecting dogs from wolves.
ODFW appreciates any information about wolf sightings or encounters from hunters. Use the online wolf reporting form to share this information with wildlife managers.
ODFW is closely watching both wolf and big game populations. ODFW has not seen negative impacts from wolves requiring big game hunting tags to be reduced.
Besides annual surveys of wolves and big game, OSU and ODFW are working together on a wolf-cougar research project looking at competitive interactions and prey selection between wolves and cougars in the Mt Emily unit.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Game has put together a quiz I encourage ALL of you to take. As Southern Oregon and Northern California are confirmed wolf territory, KNOWING the difference between a coyote and a wolf on sight can be very critical.....ESPECIALLY for hunters. You MUST know the differences between a wolf and a coyote in appearance.
I did get 100 percent on this test. I mean I would sure hope I would being on the Jackson County Wolf Committee. Let's see how you do. Some of these are going to be easy. Real easy. But there are a couple pictures in here that will require a real good look.
Click here to take the test.