2018 Oregon big game hunting forecast September 5, 2018 Oregon

Oregon Deer Population, Management News and Information Archive

2018 Oregon big game hunting forecast September 5, 2018 Oregon, ODFW News

The winter of 2017–2018 was drier and warmer than normal making for a mild winter. Warmer temperatures and lack of winter storms resulted in below normal snowpack throughout the state. Most areas reached only 40 to 70 percent of normal snowpack. March brought cooler temperatures and new snow to the mountains, sustaining the already low snowpack and increasing it in some locations. Most of the state entered June in drought conditions, with 20 percent of the state already in severe drought.

In most areas of eastern Oregon, deer and elk survival was at or slightly below average. Southeastern Oregon snowpack peaked at 20 to 70 percent of normal. Northeastern Oregon was wetter with snowpacks peaking at 50-103 percent of normal. Some areas of eastern Oregon, including Baker, northern Harney and Malheur counties, and some parts of Union County, have deer and pronghorn herds that have not fully recovered from the severe winter of 2016-2017. 

In western Oregon, winter 2017–2018 was very mild with warmer than average temperatures. Generally, the winter was drier with most of the area well below average snowpack. However, Tillamook County received above average moisture. The further south one looks, the further winter moisture fell below average precipitation.

Unfortunately, the dry weather continued into the summer. Most places are currently very dry—which is typical for the start of fall hunting seasons. Several large fires are burning, which will create great big game habitat in the years to come. However, in the short term, hunters are advised to concentrate their efforts elsewhere and stay out of the very recently burned areas...

NorthWest

Black-tailed deer on the north coast (Saddle Mt., Wilson, western Trask wildlife management units) endured a fairly mild winter with very little post-winter mortality observed. Deer densities overall are moderate, but estimates of buck escapement from last year’s hunting season were higher than average. Any of the three WMUs should offer decent buck hunting prospects.  There has been a lot of recent clear-cut timber harvest on state forestlands ...

Along the mid-coast (western Stott Mt., western Alsea, north Siuslaw), overall deer numbers appear to be stable to increasing slightly in various areas, and buck numbers are fair to good in most areas. The 2016 and 2017 growing seasons were very good which has likely improved overwinter survival. The prevalence of deer hair loss syndrome continues to be present in the district during late winter and into spring, and mortalities continue to occur due to this syndrome...

SouthWest
Deer population abundance appears to continue to be stable in Coos County, overall ... it appears buck ratio in the Tioga Unit is down some but still high enough for a good season if weather is cooperative ... 

Columbia
... The West Biggs and Maupin units both have buck ratios above management objective. Surveys indicate a buck ratio of 25 bucks per 100 does in the Maupin unit and 18 bucks per 100 does in the West Biggs unit. In the West Biggs unit, buck ratios are highest in the John Day River canyon at 22 per 100, mostly due to inaccessibility of vast areas within the canyon... The deer population in the White River unit continues to decline mostly due to poor fawn recruitment.  This year, overwinter fawn survival was high, but fall 2017 fawn ratios were low to start with... 

Central
Buck ratios are at or above management objective for the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units, with a district-wide average of 19 bucks per 100 does. Overwinter fawn survival was high, so we expect to see a good number of yearling bucks this fall. However, there was little snowpack and moisture this year, resulting in dryer than normal conditions throughout the district... Throughout the district, deer populations continue to be lower than management objectives due to habitat loss and disturbance, poaching, predation, disease and road kill...

South Central
... Deer populations in Klamath County are stable at or slightly above management objective. Mild winter conditions likely contributed to increased fawn survival ... For all units, buck ratios are at or above management objectives and a good component of older age bucks exists. The fall buck ratio in the Klamath Unit was highest among Klamath County units, with a measured ratio of 20 bucks/100 does...

Southeast
Habitat conditions in the forested areas of the Silvies and Malheur are generally good, but the desert portions will be extremely dry unless we get some late summer or fall rains...  Deer and elk populations are stable to increasing in most portions of the Harney District. Multiple efforts to improve habitat conditions and remove predators have contributed to this. The Malheur River Unit experienced some unusually high winter kill due to the heavy snow pack and prolonged cold temperatures in 2016-17. In response to that, biologist reduced deer tags by 35 percent...

Northeast
Over-winter survival was fair in all units with average fawn ratios of 33 per 100 adults counted in the spring. The mild winter conditions led to good adult survival... The Beulah unit, is still recovering from the winter of 2016-17 with a fawn ratio of 24/100 adults. The buck ration is 14/100 does, which is just below the buck management objective of 15/100 does. As a result, tag numbers will remain at lower levels into the future to allow population to recover...


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