Archery information presented by:
FIRE SEASON IS NOW OVER
However, please use caution in our wildlands. We are still very dry out there. Especially in grassy areas. Do not leave campfires without making sure they are dead out. That means cold to the touch. Also, be very careful with cigarettes. Avoid smoking off roads, or in unimproved areas. Just one spark can still cause a disater. Use care to prevent that.
Southwest Oregon has a range of habitats supporting diverse game populations. Steep, forested hillsides along the coast and through the Siskiyou Mountains can make finding game challenging. But active timber harvest practices and forest fires create the forage habitats used by deer, elk and bears. The Cascade Range is very similar with its dense Douglas fir forests. Recently harvested tracts of timber or a burned forest will make finding your quarry easier.
Southwest Oregon is a checkerboard of public land. Numerous Access and Habitat projects open industrial timberland for hunting.
Archery season resumes in select units this Saturday morning. Locally, that includes the Rogue, Evans Creek, Sixes, and Melrose units. All of these untis have traditionally produced excellent hunting for Blacktails as the peak of the rut for the deer is just getting going. It is expected the late season is going to be as productive as it typically is. If weather arrives, we should see outstanding hunting.
Speaking of the rut, it is on! And we have video proof of it. Just this week a video was taken by a homeowner in Ashland that shows two prime Blacktail bucks engaged in a very serious battle for dominant buck status. I posted this on the facebook page and several people said this was pre rut activity. What you are going to see is absolutely NOT pre rut. This is full on epic battle between two big bucks. Watch the victor do a completely headstand on his antlers at the end of it. Amazing stuff! Click here.
JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES Evans Creek, Rogue, and Sixes)
Deer: Remember that deer in the Rogue, and Evans Creek units typically are at high elevations during the early fall and as winter approaches they migrate down to lower elevations; however there are resident deer on the valley floor year round. As we have not seen much in the way of winter weather, the deer will most likely still be at higher elevations. However, populations of deer are good regardless of elevation in the units that will be open. Remember, the Melrose unit has a high percentage of private land ownership. Be sure to get permission to be on the land you want to hunt if it is privately owned.
Fall black bear season started August 1. Hunters can expect another good year. 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 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 are allowed two fall bears by purchasing your 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 within 10 days of harvest, and 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 61 in the big game hunting regulations for more information.
Western gray squirrel: Open year-round. There is no bag limit or closed season in that part of the Rogue unit south of the Rogue River and S Fork Rogue River and north of Hwy 140. See page 65 of the 2018 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations for more information. And yes, you can take squirrels with archery equipment. This can be a real challenge. Try it if you have not.
Coyotes are abundant in our area. Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. Hunter 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. Test your identification skills with ODFW’s new Coyote and Gray Wolf ID Quiz.
DOUGLAS COUNTY (NW Evans Creek, and Melrose Units)
Black bear: General bear season opened Aug. 1. Hunters can expect an average year. The dry weather conditions will concentrate bears near streams where foraging will be better. Berry crops are coming in good this year, but will most likely dry out early with the current weather patterns. Glass clear cuts and meadows early mornings and late evenings to find bears taking advantage of these food sources. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers in the coast range, and with smaller populations in the Cascades.
Remember that there is a mandatory check in of your bear skull at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest, and the skull must be unfrozen.
Cougar: The cougar season is currently open. 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.
Test your identification skills with ODFW’s new Coyote and Gray Wolf ID Quiz.
COOS COUNTY (north Sixes)
Hunters need to be aware that ownership of several timber land parcels in Coos County has recently changed. In some cases the new owners have different access policies than their predecessors. Make sure you know what the policy is before accessing private land and don’t assume the policy is the same as prior years.
Coos Mountain Access
The Coos Mountain Access Area went into effect Aug. 25 and will be in effect, year around 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 bear: The fall black Bear season opened Aug. 1 and will run to Dec. 31. What tends to determine whether the bear season is a good one, in terms of hunter success, or a not-so-good one is blackberry availability. If the blackberry crop is a good one bears will concentrate their attention and time on eating berries which gives hunters an advantage because the bears become predictable. This year looks like a good berry year so hunting should be too. Most hunters find success by hunting isolated berry patches where bears go to feed and are not disturbed by vehicle traffic. Many times patches like this can be found on the edges of clear-cuts or at the end on decommissioned roads. Bears will be most active in late evenings, making that the best time to hunt. Early mornings can be a good time to find bears, too.
Archery deer: Reproduction for deer and elk populations in Coos County have been high enough for populations to remain stable. Buck ratios are a little lower than in some years but adequate for good hunting. Bull ratios have been above management objective for several years. So, hunting for both should be good this year.
Deer hunters will find deer in young clear-cuts where grass is growing. Since little rain has fallen this summer water availability will be an important factor influencing deer distribution.
Elk will be gravitating to north slopes where conditions will be cooler and moister, and food sources will be attractive to them. As with deer, water availability will be an important factor to consider this season for finding elk herds.
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.