Oregon Deer Population:  An estimated 540,000 deer in 2015, 300,000 to 320,000 blacktails and 225,000 to 235,000 mule deer.  Six years of drought then a harsh 2016-17 winter in parts of the state has reduced the population.  The Oregon deer population has been in a long decline since the 1960's.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Oregon deer hunting data and news archive.

Oregon Deer News

Bill would allow killing of 'urban deer' February 20, 2017 Oregon, Hasso Hering
...  Senate Bill 373 ... rid participating cities of "urban deer" by killing them ... ODFW suggested that cities would be better off making it illegal to feed wildlife within their limits. Indeed that is one of the requirements if a city wanted to reduce the numbers of urban deer in a program of the kind envisioned by the bill...

... SB 372 ...  rules for issuance of wildlife salvage permits to salvage deer or elk accidentally killed as result of vehicle collision ...  Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife says the law would, “provide a loophole for people to shoot a deer or elk then strike it with a vehicle in an attempt to claim it as road injured and killed for humane purposes...

Oregon ‘problem wolves’ proposal draws howls February 13, 2017 Register-Guard
... the state wildlife department is considering allowing members of the public — defined as licensed hunters and trappers — to kill the wolves ... proposal that wolves be eliminated for “causing major declines of ungulate populations,” such as deer and elk... environmental groups strongly oppose any public hunting of the state’s roughly 150 wolves...

Focus on feeding February 10, 2017 Oregon, Baker City Herald
... leading a campaign to feed about 1,000 elk and more than 1,000 deer in snowbound eastern Baker County ...  raised about $14,500 through a GoFundMe account over the past 21 days ... as much as 80 percent of the animals in some areas would have died ...

  Firefighters rescue deer trapped in icy Erie Canal February 2, 2017 Oregon, Democrat and Chronicle
...A buck fell through ice Thursday and the animal's hind legs became trapped underwater about 15 feet off shore ...

Central Oregon mule deer migrations in crisis February 1, 2017 Bend Bulletin
... These deer travel from 40 to 120 miles from summer range to winter ground... long characterized U.S. Highways 97 and 20 as walls of death for mule deer. As traffic has increased on both highways, he now speaks in terms of their eventual impassibility ... deer are in danger of losing connectivity between their summer and winter habitats...

... After six years of drought, parts of Oregon are experiencing a harsh winter, with impressive snowpack ... they do expect to see increased winter mortality... ODFW does not plan emergency feeding this year ...

Protected areas critical to Central Oregon deer January 15, 2017 The Register-Guard
... disturbances from people can force deer to burn more vital calories, while also displacing them from a safe spot to areas where they face more challenges, including predators ... they’re starving to death ...

Deadline nears to report 2016 hunts January 6, 2017 Oregon, Mail Tribune
... Nearly 21,700 Oregon hunters who failed to report their 2014 hunting successes paid the $25 penalty when buying licenses last year, generating $541,700 ....
... they're starving to death ...  disturbances from people can force deer to burn more vital calories ...  this winter is a normal one, although after six years of drought it may not seem that way ...

... “The larger the habitat size, the more wildlife it can support,” said Jeff Merrill, a Metro natural resources scientist. The site likely supports black-tailed deer, beavers and other native animals ...

State authorities rescued a deer stranded on a frozen pond ‎(Dec. 20, 2016)‎ Oregon State Police video


Joseph rejects Hansell's deer bill December 13, 2016 Oregon, Wallowa County Cheiftain
... Sen. Bill Hansell’s draft bill included a population control plan that said ODFW could kill deer, after live trapping and moving them ... citizens were worried armed men would march through town shooting deer...

Multiple deer rescued out of pond December 13, 2016 Oregon, Sisters Nugget
... Tugging and pulling with all they had, the Storlie's managed to drag the fawn up to the fence surrounding the pond ... set to work with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, while Bob snatched up his wife's hair-dryer, plugged it in and started blowing warm air on the almost-dead fawn's wet, cold body...

Ochoco forest eyes site for removing juniper December 11, 2016 Oregon, Bend Bulletin
... The Ochoco National Forest wants to remove younger juniper trees  ...  If removing the juniper helps other vegetation to grow, then those federal forestlands may draw more foraging deer and elk from the nearby private lands, Spitzack said. That result could benefit hunters who use public lands to hunt animals...

t's pretty rare to get this on film. These bucks were jostling in our back yard this morning. One is a frequent visitor that we have named Little John. He is the three point buck. The other is a yearling. - December 11, 2016


... findings suggest that hunters using those styles of guns may have a reduced risk of secondary lead poisoning from consuming game meat, and that there may be a reduced risk to scavenging animals as well, compared to ammunition for modern rifles that also contain lead...

Roads Close In Deschutes Forest December 6, 2016 Oregon, myCentralOregon.com
... Deer and elk migrate to lower elevation winter ranges in the fall... Severe winters can strain the animals, and disturbance from people-from additional trail use ... can stress them ...
... the deer tried to escape a yard by squeezing through a wrought-iron fence. However, it became stuck halfway through...

... To deter the deer without harming them, she sprays her plants with a natural repellent she bought at Home Depot. She hasn’t had any problems since ... “The deer are beautiful. They’re part of the life I love here,” ... Troy Eckberg, the director of golf at River’s Edge Golf Course ... said they don’t have any damage issues caused by the 15 or so deer that regularly roam and bed down on their 18-hole course...

... The hunters’ association, which counts 10,000 members across the state, is a significant ally in tracking down violators. The organization has raised money through its Turn-In-Poacher hotline for years. OHA has distributed $7,800 in rewards so far this year for tips that led to poaching charges ...

Responding to injured animals November 29, 2016 Oregon, The Bulletin
... those hit by vehicles ... “We give ’em a chance,” ... If the deer is up and moving and able to eat or drink, officials leave it alone and may try to monitor how it’s doing. A deer with a broken bone can live and heal, for instance.  “They survive and they have fawns and they carry on ...

Proposal may pave way for deer removal in city limits November 25, 2016 Oregon, Wallowa County Cheiftain
... Dist. 29 State Sen. Bill Hansell ... bill requires the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to institute a pilot program for deer population control that would allow a city to petition the state’s Wildlife Commission to remove deer if the ODFW determined they constituted a public nuisance... 

This awesome 200 inch massive Oregon buck was an amazing sight to see. This old mature buck shows many battle scares including a missing eye from past rut! Not to mention he is just a giant buck. November 25, 2016 Oregon


Gorging on the green November 18, 2016 Oregon, La Grande Observer
... The combination of a damp October and an unseasonably balmy first half of November has prompted a lush crop of new grass to sprout in the region’s drought-desiccated rangelands... Deer are probably the biggest beneficiaries ... and in particular this year’s crop of fawns...

... In Oregon, game animals killed by a vehicle cannot be harvested, by the driver or anyone else. Antlers from deer or elk killed by a vehicle cannot be harvested either...

Pendleton outfitter pleads guilty to poaching mule deer November 15, 2016 Oregon, Wallowa County Cheiftain
... A local hunter, outfitter and former board member for the Mule Deer Foundation admitted Tuesday to poaching a trophy mule deer buck two years ago...

Hunters can help protect deer, elk November 14, 2016 Oregon, The News Guard
... Chronic Wasting Disease has never been detected in Oregon, but wildlife managers are on the lookout for the disease... import restrictions meant to keep Oregon free of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)....

Bend: Jeff Orr shared photos, video as Bend police and fire crews rescued a deer rescued from being stuck in the mud from drained Mirror Pond. - November 11, 2016


...  it started out slow, but those who hung out longer seemed to find deer. The weather was actually pretty favorable, with cooler temperatures and rain ...

Hunters asked to report disease in elk and deer November 8, 2016 Oregon, Wallowa County Cheiftain
... it is illegal to bring any deer, elk or moose part containing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into Oregon from any state or Canadian province with a documented case of the disease...

Oregon Data:  For 2015, an estimated 300,000 to 320,000 blacktails and 225,000 to 235,000 mule deer, about 540,000 deer.  In 2016 an estimated 226,775 mule deer.  ODFW is working on a method of estimating black-tailed deer populations using scat.  In 2016 the target black-tail deer buck to doe ratio was about 25 to 30 bucks per 100 does. 
     A mild winter for 2013-14 and a very mild winter for 2014-15 has increased survival, but limited precipitation created poor forage for deer in 2015, followed by the harder winter of 2015-16.   Deer tags were increased by 1 percent and elk tags by 3 percent for the 2015 hunt.  Deer populations are up in the north coast.  In the southwest, Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease reduced the population in fall, 2014. Black-tail populations in the western Cascades are at about management objectives.  Drought in the High Desert has reduced mule deer populations
    The Oregon deer population has been in a long decline since the 1960s, but has been relatively stable for the past few years. The black-tailed deer population was estimated be about 452,000 in 1979 and 320,000 in 2004, 300,000 in 2012, slightly higher in 2014 and 2015. The mule deer population, east of the Cascade Crest, was estimated at 216,000 in 2009. Around 215,000 total mule deer in 2014 and about 32,000 of those are bucks. [2013 ODFW population analysis, PDF]
    The 2014 black-tailed deer population of the north coast was up as increased logging creates better habitat,  populations also appear to be increasing along the mid-coast with improved buck ratios and reduced deer affected from hair-loss disease.  Deer populations continue their decline in the western Cascades,  declines in logging, but better buck ratios.  Deer populations in the south Cascades are down, especially mule deer, but doing better in valleys.  Mule deer populations in the high desert continue to be low, but a slight increase from last year.  Increased clear cutting is boosting populations in the Wilson unit. 
     The buck to doe ratio on some private lands is 29 to 100, but as low as 15 per 100 in the Rogue  unit - a ratio considered to be dangerously low by many deer managers and may be contributing to the deer population decline.  General deer management policies have led to low buck to doe ratios, ratios from 19 to 33 bucks per 100 does reported for the Rogue Unit. The 2016 mule deer management objective was from 12-25 bucks per hundred does.
     There is a small population of Columbian white-tailed deer in Douglas County and the Columbia River Gorge, some of which were moved during 2013 when it was feared they would be flooded.  These deer were common in Western Oregon, but fewer than 700 remained in 1970, farming altered their major habitat.  
     Peak deer harvest was in 1961 at 163,939 with 31 percent of total mule deer harvest being antlerless and 37 percent of black-tail antlerless.  The percentage of does in the harvest has generally gone down since then.  In 2004, the numbers fell to below 10 percent for mule deer and in the 9 to 14 percent range for black-tail deer.  The 2012 harvest was 43,098, or 26.3 percent of the historical high. In 2012, hunter success was about 36 percent.  Every fall thousands of mule deer make a 30 to 75 mile trip between Bend and La Pine, increasingly difficult due to development. 
     Elk densities are highest on the north coast, down a little along the mid-coast with bull ratios only a little above 10 per 100 cows.  In 2016 an estimated 74,227 Rocky Moutain elk and 60,057 Roosevelt elk.
    Moose, about 60 in 2016 in the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman national forests.  These Shiras moose are the smallest North American subspecies.
    Cougars, Estimated 6,372 cougars in 2016, about 5,000 to 6,000 from 2011 to 2015, estimated at 214 in 1961.  Classified as a game mammal in 1967 and managed by ODFW.  Population estimated at 3,114 in 1994. 
     Wolf, roughly 150 in 2017, about 110 in early 2016.  The last wolf bounty was paid out in 1947, the first wolf pack in recent times was seen in 2006.  A minimum of about 82 wolves in the state in 2015.  Wolf status report, 2015.  Wolf Plan, slides.
    Black bears, about 25,000 in 2016
    A 1913 edition of Outdoor life offers the following estimates:  1,000 elk mostly in Northwest Oregon (re-introductions of Rocky Mountain elk had just begun in northeast Oregon); 80,000 deer, mostly blacktail; 16,700 black bear, also mostly in western Oregon; 4,650 antelope, and no mention of bighorn sheep or Rocky Mountain goats.  Deer populations throughout the U.S. had been over hunted during this period.

Report poaching, rewards:  1-800-452-7888

Other useful links:
-  Compass map,  online system of maps helps you make informed land use decisions related to fish and wildlife habitats as you plan energy, transportation, conservation and other large projects.

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MULE DEER INITIATIVE Commission Briefing - February 20, 2009. Issue:
Researchers and wildlife managers generally concede mule deer achieved maximum abundance during the 1950s and ‘60s. Since then, mule deer have declined across the West, including Oregon. The most recent decline appened during the early 1990s and, though not fully understood, it is believed to be primarily due to the combined effects of drought and severe winters. Historically, deer populations rebounded quickly after such climatic extremes. However, in recent years, production and survival of fawns have remained at depressed levels. Low recruitment, severe winters, dry summers, changing predator/prey relationships, and increased habitat loss have pushed mule deer populations lower than the department and public desire.