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Oregon Unit 67 - Owyhee

Mule Deer Elk Antelope California Bighorn Sheep Bear

Overview

Snapshot

A starkly arid and open unit cut by several canyons and bordered by large rivers in places, this unit offers mule deer, California bighorn sheep, antelope and elk.

Buzz

Trophy hunters know this unit as a producer of record-book antelope, California bighorn sheep and mule deer. There aren’t many exceptional animals but a few are taken every year by  hunters.

General Size Trophy Potential
Mule Deer 150" – 170" 180"+
Elk 230" – 260" 270"+
Antelope 70" – 75" 75"+
California Bighorn Sheep 150" – 160" 170"+

On the ground

Terrain

Most of this land consists of desolate and mostly barren desert flats, hills, canyons and ridges. Rock outcrops are common. Some large lava fields cover thousands of acres in the southern part of the unit. Water is at a premium, but there are several reservoirs, several rivers and a few creeks that usually have water. Lake Owyhee is in the rugged Owyhee Canyon and is 53 miles long. Upper and Lower Cow Lakes are playa bodies of water.

  • Roughly 3,024 square miles
  • 81% public land
  • Elevations from 2,300-6,100 feet

Vegetation

Most of the land is open and desolate, covered by low grasses that usually turn brown before hunting seasons with mahoganies and scattered junipers in places and sagebrush on some flats and in draws and canyons. Bitterbrush and other browse plants grow on some slopes. Farms planted in crops such as alfalfa draw deer to some private acres in valleys along rivers or creeks. Some higher terrain has a few pines and firs.

Access

This vast unit is mostly public land and is served by paved, gravel and dirt roads, but much of it is too rugged for roads, so plan to do a lot of hiking. Much of the area is remote, and many roads are rough and rugged, so carry a spare tires. There’s a lot of private land in places, such as the Snake River Valley and along the Malheur River and near some of the few towns in this unit. Some of the best hunting is on or near private agricultural land. Islands in the Snake River are closed to rifle hunting. The BLM Vale District manages most of the land and provides a lot of information on its website. Permits are required to float along the Owyhee Wild and Scenic River. Click here for details. Rogers Wildlife Area near Nyssa offers public hunting. Mackenzie Access Area is composed of at least 13 separate parcels that offer public hunting on private land and access to public land.

Camping and Lodging

Many hunters camp along dirt and gravel roads on BLM land, which is in the Vale district. Campsites are open at Lake Owyhee State Park until Oct. 31. Floaters have some campsites to choose from along the Owyhee Wild & Scenic River. Lodging is available in the northeast in Nyssa and in the southeast in Jordan Valley. Basque Station Motel is in Jordan Valley. A highly rated option in Nyssa is Hotel Indigo. Slocum Creek Campground in the Leslie Gulch area east of Lake Owyhee has 12 RV or tent campsites. The 25 miles of dirt road to it preclude the use of large RVs. Succor Creek Natural Area, also between Lake Owyhee and Idaho, has 23 primitive campgrounds.

Historical Temperature

Historical Precipitation

Month 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
January 3.55 in 0.71 in 0.50 in 0.38 in 0.35 in
February 1.85 in 0.37 in 0.85 in 1.20 in 0.32 in
March 2.25 in 0.85 in 0.27 in 0.92 in 0.20 in
April 1.62 in 0.71 in 0.70 in 0.85 in 0.40 in
May 0.68 in 0.90 in 1.63 in 0.40 in 0.49 in
June 1.00 in 0.75 in 0.26 in 0.29 in 0.47 in
July 0.01 in 0.24 in 0.49 in 0.11 in 0.41 in
August 0.15 in 0.01 in 0.08 in 0.50 in 0.12 in
September 0.60 in 0.29 in 0.43 in 0.79 in 1.79 in
October - 1.09 in 1.27 in 0.40 in 0.44 in
November - 0.00 in 0.87 in 1.17 in 0.42 in
December - 0.00 in 1.86 in 1.55 in 0.31 in
Month
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013

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Species within this Unit

There aren’t a lot of deer in this unit, especially in the drier, more open parts. Preseason scouting is important. Bucks in antler velvet in summertime are active in mornings and evenings and can contrast with their background when you get the sun at your back. When the seasons open, bucks are usually nearby, and they almost always are within a mile or so of a reliable water source. Look for brushy cover, including tall sagebrush, mahogany, cliffrose and serviceberry. Bucks are usually higher than does and live in drier, rockier terrain except in drought years, when they are quite likely to be using the same moist habitat that does prefer every year. Some great deer are here even after a few years of extreme weather that results in declining deer numbers.

  • Average Quality 150" – 170"
  • Trophy Potential 180"+
  • Buck:Doe 12:100
  • Bucks 4pt+ 32%

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Archery (General)

Aug 26 – Sep 24, 2017

The first part of the season is a good time to catch bucks feeding in the first and last half hour to one hour in the morning and sometimes in the evenings. Glass areas that you have scouted in July and early August. As bucks lose their antler velvet, they become more nocturnal. This is a general season for which archers need to buy a tag over the counter. Only bucks are legal game.

Hunters Surveyed
Harvest Success %

Rifle (Controlled)

Sep 30 – Oct 11, 2017

Tag holders may hunt the entire unit. Bucks are not very active during daylight, so be in position at first and last light to look for moving animals. In rocky terrain or areas where there are sparse mahoganies, serviceberries or junipers, simply look in the shade next to every tree or boulder. Hiking a lot, glassing ahead at every new vista, is also a good way to find deer, but expect to cover a lot of terrain to find a mature buck because numbers are low.

Applications vs Tag Allocation
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Rifle (Controlled)

Sep 30 – Oct 11, 2017

These tags are good in the northeast part of the unit, where most land is private, especially land that tends to hold bucks. Don’t apply unless you have access to private ground. Hunt within about 1,000 yards of water, crops or thick vegetation in valleys, gulches and draws.

**Season Subunit: That portion of Unit 67 east and north of the following line: Beginning on Highway 20 at Vines Hill (MP 231.5) south then east on BLM Road. 7326-0-00 approximately 20 miles to Twins Springs Road (BLM 7320-0-00). South on Twin Springs Road. approximately 4 miles to the PP&L Transmission line at Sourdough Gulch (T22S R43E Sec 23) easterly on PP&L transmission line approximately 22 miles to the Oregon State Line near Graveyard Point (T23S R46E Sec 18).

Applications vs Tag Allocation
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Elk in this unit are nomadic and hard to find, but an increasing number of elk have been seen in the northwestern part of the unit, often in large groups. Some elk feed on private crops at times. Bulls can seldom be patterned, moving long distances from place to place seemingly haphazardly.

  • Average Quality 230" – 260"
  • Trophy Potential 270"+
  • Bull:Cow 139:100
  • Bulls 6pt+ 22%

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Archery (General)

Aug 26 – Sep 24, 2017

To take part in this season, bowhunters may buy an over-the-counter tag. The key to finding elk is to hunt near water sources and feed, such as green grass and crops. Glassing and ambushing on trails or at water holes can be productive when the weather is hot. In the last half of the season bulls often give up their locations by bugling, but calling them close is difficult due to lack of cover. Wait patiently to stalk when terrain, wind and available cover permit a good chance of success.

Hunters Surveyed
Harvest Success %

Muzzleloader (Controlled)

Oct 14 – Oct 22, 2017

Tags are valid in all the high desert units, and though this is one of the better units, hunting is still difficult. Not only are finding bulls tough but it’s also hard to get close enough to shoot.

**Season Subunit: That part of Unit 66 south of US Highway 20; and all of units 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 and 73 excluding Malheur NWR and Hart Mt NAR.

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Rifle (Controlled)

Oct 25 – Oct 31, 2017

Tag holders may hunt in this and in five other units as well as in part of the Malheur River Unit.  Finding a bull is difficult. The most consistently successful hunting method is to cover the country by driving a vehicle, stopping to hike to high points and glass with high-quality binoculars mounted on a tripod. This is one of the better high desert units, but elk are still difficult to find.

**Season Subunit: That part of Unit 66 south of US Hwy 20; and all of units 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 and 73, hunt excludes Malheur NWR and Hart Mountain NAR.

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Rifle (Controlled)

Nov 4 – Nov 12, 2017

Tags are good in all the high desert units or parts of units. This hunt tends to be a bit easier than the earlier hunt because animals move more as the weather cools, and some animals may move into this area from bordering areas. Glassing extensively, then stalking close enough for a shot is the most successful hunting tactic.

**Season Subunit: That part of Unit 66 south of US Hwy 20; and all of units 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 and 73, hunt excludes Malheur NWR and Hart Mountain NAR.

 

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This unit supports lots of antelope. Parts of the area are much better than others, so if you’re not finding animals, keep looking. They spend most of their time in open terrain with little cover higher than a foot or so.

  • Average Quality 70" – 75"
  • Trophy Potential 75"+
  • Buck:Doe 22:100

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Rifle (Controlled)

Aug 12 – Aug 20, 2017

Hunters may take an animal of either sex. Some bucks are alone at this time of year, so if you’re not seeing a big male with herds of does and small bucks, keep looking. Bucks usually are found close to where they will have been in July and early August, so preseason scouting is helpful.

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Archery (Controlled)

Aug 23 – Sep 3, 2017

Finding a water source that antelope use regularly is a key to success here. Build a blind of natural materials and wait patiently for a shot at a big buck. Stalking is difficult in much of the unit because of lack of cover, but the terrain is broken in some pronghorn hangouts that a hunter who goes slowly can get a shot.

Applications vs Tag Allocation
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Sheep in this unit can be found almost anywhere within a couple of miles of water. They are not necessarily in rugged terrain with lots of cliffs but often roam well away from typical ram country. Focus first on steep, rocky canyons, then branch out if you can’t find a big ram. Water and good grass keep sheep nearby. Tags are good in the entire unit. There are good numbers of sheep, and many of them are three-quarter-curl or bigger rams.

  • Average Quality 150" – 160"
  • Trophy Potential 170"+
  • Ram:Ewe 75:100

Any Legal Weapon (General)

Aug 1 – Nov 30, 2017
Hunters Surveyed
Harvest Success %

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