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Oregon considers big changes to general season

Oregon blacktail general season changes

Photo credit: Dreamstime

There could be major changes to Oregon’s general season that are possibly the biggest ones in decades. According to the Mail Tribune, the proposed changes were presented by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission last Friday and include the following:

The biggest change is switching the blacktail buck hunt to include “any buck with a visible antler” rather than only forked-horn antlered bucks. There are about 60,000 hunters who participate in this general season each year, according to the Mail Tribune.

“They’re kind of young and dumb, so they might be easier targets, especially for people getting into hunting and youth hunters. It might also reduce pressure on older bucks, because once you shoot one, you’re done,” said Steve Niemela, ODFW’s Rogue District wildlife biologist.

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Yet, Niemela doesn’t think that increased opportunity for spike bucks will generally impact the population since they “have the highest mortality rates on their own.” While this may be true, organizations like the Oregon Hunters Association do not support the spike deer hunt addition.

“Spikes are young and naive,” said OHA spokesman Duane Dungannon. “They’ll just stand there and stare at you with their yearling sister and mom. You don’t see that with (forked-horned bucks).”

The extended cow elk season will hopefully help damage to private property; however, hunters will still need to obtain access to private lands before going hunting. The extended season would also “allow landowners experiencing damage to buy a tag or arrange for hunters without having to go through the landowner damage tags,” said Niemela.

There will be three public meetings in Southern Oregon in July to discuss the proposals and gather comments. Meetings will be held as follows:

  • July 9 at 7 p.m. at the Gold Beach library
  • July 11 at 7 p.m. at the Denman Wildlife Area conference room
  • July 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Elmer’s Restaurant in Grants Pass

The commission will vote on these changes during its Sept. 13 meeting.


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Jaden Bales_10209788179614465
Jaden B. - posted 11 months ago on 06-12-2019 01:47:09 pm
Lander, WY

I feel it's important to be really familiar with this web page before making too bold of claims about too few of elk or what to do with blacktail deer populations in Oregon. It's possible the issue folks should be focusing on is making a change to the management objectives. The ODFW makes these alterations within a set of wildlife management guidelines dictated by widely accepted scientific methods of surveying and estimations.

Andrew J. - posted 11 months ago on 06-12-2019 01:35:46 pm
Roseburg Oregon

To me this is the exact opposite action that needs to be taken. It sometimes feels like Oregon truly does not want there to be wildlife around other than predators. It does not take a degree in biology to figure out that we do not have the deer and elk numbers like we used to. This is directly correlated to people shooting every forked horn from the road and killing does and cows. If anything they need to cut the numbers of Doe and cow tags and make it three point or better. The sort of thinking that ODFW displays is disheartening to say the least. As far as the elk herds destroying farmers fields, you don’t have to let everyone on your property to hunt, let local youth come and hunt, sponsor programs that let veterans come and hunt. There are so many better options!

Larry D. - posted 11 months ago on 06-11-2019 10:37:59 am

@Jaden B. That's awesome your family still does that. Thank you.

Jaden Bales_10209788179614465
Jaden B. - posted 11 months ago on 06-11-2019 08:04:45 am
Lander, WY

@Larry D. I fully support public access to public lands, and an opt-in program for landowners like in Montana and Wyoming. That said, in my personal experience on our family farm in NE Oregon, we discover we have an overwhelming amount of friends, family, and farm hands with plenty of tags when there are elk or deer on the property. Now, to be fair, we don't run an outfit on our ground and you're going to get a lot of different perspectives from different landowners, but you walked up to my grandpa's house with a case of beer from March-June to hunt the following fall, you'll have no problem getting access. A good BS session with a farmer seems to be a dying past time.

Larry D. - posted 11 months ago on 06-11-2019 07:37:38 am

It would be great if these proposed extended cow hunts required landowners to enroll in a Block Management Program like Montana to allow public access and help hunters solve their elk problem without paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for access.

Jaden Bales_10209788179614465
Jaden B. - posted 11 months ago on 06-11-2019 07:25:34 am
Lander, WY

Seems like that extended cow hunt may be a good compromise to the damage folks had this year without going to the other extreme that was proposed.