Oregon Deer Population: About 468,000 deer in 2020 and 462,000 in 2019, down from 510,000 in 2018. The state estimated 163,007 mule deer in 2021 and 161,412 in 2022. Heavy snowfall in 2019 and a late winter reduced fawn numbers in many regions. A mild 2017-18 winter resulted in good survival, but drought in the summer reduced herds in Central and Eastern Oregon. An estimated 561,000 deer in 2015. A harsh 2016-17 winter in parts of the state reduced the population. The state has a small population of Columbian white-tailed deer and less than 15,000 white-tail deer in the eastern part of the state in 2021. About 600,000 deer in the year 2000.The Oregon deer population has been in a long decline since the 1960's. Big game 2021 preview


Oregon Deer News

Rejoining a landscape: Southern Oregon coalition moves forward with I-5 wildlife crossings July 30, 2022 Oregon, Jefferson Public Radio

...the Southern Oregon Wildlife Crossing Coalition. They are a group of scientists, agency representatives, and hunting, fishing, and wildlife advocates seeking to create new structures and enhance existing ones so that animals can safely cross I-5 in the Siskiyou Summit region....



Tree-ravaging beetle threatens Oregon ecosystems July 26, 2022 Pamplin Media Group

... An invasive beetle — the emerald ash borer — has arrived ... can cause 100% mortality in ash trees ... Salmon, elk, deer, snakes, lizard — they're all reliant on these trees." ...


Poachers who left five elk dead sentenced in Harney County July 14, 2022 Oregon, ODFW News

... Sentencing is complete for two Hines residents involved in killing at least seven elk while shooting into the fleeing herd in December 2021. The crime left two calves, two cows and a spike bull rotting in high-country sagebrush... will pay a combined $2500 in fines ...


ODFW hosts big game regulation meetings around the state beginning July 6 June 30, 2022, Oregon, ODFW News

... More information on changes being discussed will be posted for review prior to the meetings on the big game hunting review page. Public comment about the proposals and other issues related to big game regulations will be taken at these meetings. Comments can also be emailed to odfw.commission@odfw.oregon.gov


Reward offered for information on 'thrill-kill' poacher June 27, 2022 Oregon, KOIN 6

... The Oregon Hunters Association is offering a $500 reward for information on a man who reportedly shot a deer in a Reedsport boat launching parking lot and left it dead ...


Poachers pay over $16,000 for taking bull elk, buck deer June 17, 2022 Oregon, DNR News

A bull elk poached in Mosier in 2021, loaded onto the poacher's trailer. While investigating, OSP F&W Troopers uncovered lies that led to additional subjects and at least one additional poached deer. Wasco County courts sentenced three Mosier residents to pay more than $16,000 in fines, fees and restitution, among other penalties...


Elkhorn Wildlife Area to conduct elk habitat enhancement June 11, 2022 Oregon, La Grande Observer

... Rocky Mountain elk eat alfalfa hay during a previous winter at the Elkhorn Wildlife Area feeding site west of North Powder. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will begin forest management activities at the Elkhorn Wildlife Area this summer to enhance habitat for elk, deer, and other wildlife species...


Deschutes County Community Development proposes land rezoning to protect Mule deer population May 17, 2022 Oregon, KTVZ

... According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the mule deer population decreased about 40% near Metolius and about 30% near Paulina in a recent three-year testing period... recommends that certain uses be prohibited or limited to protect the mule deer winter range habitats... [video below]

Sisters man accused of ramming injured deer, posting video to Snapchat May 3, 2022 Oregon, Bend Bulletin

... faces first-degree animal abuse ... a disturbing video ... as a deer limped in the road... ran over the deer in the road and said, “You ain’t f-----g struggling anymore.” ...


Oregon's new 'Watch For Wildlife' license plates to fund animal road crossing projects May 2, 2022 KATU

... The plate features a mule deer - a species native to Eastern Oregon that is in decline... money goes directly to projects aimed at providing safe passages for wildlife ...


Emergency reductions to deer tag numbers for some Heppner, Interstate, Starkey hunts April 27, 2022 ODFW News

... Mule deer populations have continued to decline within Starkey Experimental Forest ... Interstate deer tags are being reduced in two hunts because of habitat impacts and access closures due to last year's wildfire activity, ongoing drought conditions, and poor fawn recruitment...


Livestock Use on Public Lands in the Western USA Exacerbates Climate Change: Implications for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation JB Kauffman, RL Beschta, PM Lacy, M Liverman - Environmental Management, 2022

... in Lake and Harney counties in southeastern Oregon, cattle were allocated 81% of the forage ... Deer and antelope were allocated 8% of the forage. Further, there are about 363 species of wildlife that utilize public lands in Southeast Oregon ... and they were allocated only 1% ...


Oregon DOJ hires anti-poaching prosecutor March 14, 2022 ODFW News

... The Anti-poaching prosecutor will work with OSP and ODFW to locate, investigate and prosecute poachers... In 2010, he received the OSP Prosecutor of the Year award for using those statutes to prosecute an organized poaching ring that took more than 300 deer and elk in Oregon...


Reducing wildlife collisions in Oregon March 7, 2022. Environment America

... The Lava Butte wildlife underpass near Bend is frequented by all sorts of wildlife from elk and deer to bobcats and badgers. As expected, the crossing saves the lives of wildlife (and drivers). For instance, deer-vehicle collisions in the area are down by 90%...


Sad ending for deer rescue March 7, 2022 Oregon, Herald and News

... state troopers responded to the scene to help untangle the deer the fencing... the deer to later be euthanized because it suffered two broken legs...


Bring to life Wildlife Crossings Investment Act February 18, 2022 Oregon, YAHOO!News

... the estimated cost of collisions with mule deer and elk in Oregon reached $56.9 million in 2020 alone... House Bill 4130 is supported by a broad coalition and, if passed, will invest $7 million in strategic projects that reduce wildlife collisions across the state ...


Safe wildlife crossings for Interstate 5 February 11, 2022 Oregon, Mail Tribune

... a group of concerned citizens and representatives from Southern Oregon agencies and organizations recently formed the Southern Oregon Wildlife Crossing Coalition... have identified seven potential crossing locations and rais..ed over $125,000 ...


Decapitated Deer Abandoned by Poacher Found Near Oregon Homes February 3, 2022 Newsweek

... The deer slain in Lane County was shot from an active residential driveway leading to several properties on Upper Camp Creek Road in Springfield, ODFW said. They said the suspect shot the animal close to someone's house...


Poacher cuts and runs in Lane County February 2, 2022 Oregon, ODFW News

... A poacher fled the scene leaving behind both the buck deer he shot on private property, and the head he had just cut off the animal as a trophy... The poacher had difficulty starting the vehicle, so it might have mechanical issues. The TIP Reward for information that leads to an arrest or citation in this case stands at $500 ...


Elk feasting on farmers' haystacks across Pacific Northwest February 1, 2022 Oregon, The Observer

... Across the West, widespread drought has left elk, deer and even wild turkeys hungry and in poor condition — even a bit desperate. Wild elk are attacking farmers’ haystacks in Washington and Oregon...


Oregon bill would put $5 million toward safe road crossings for wildlife January 29, 20222 Statesman Journal

... The Oregon Department of Transportation recorded nearly 6,000 vehicle collisions with wildlife in 2020, and experts estimate twice that number go unreported... “Research is ongoing to determine locations where wildlife migration patterns intersect with Oregon highways,” ...


New Oregon license plate helps fund wildlife road-crossing projects January 14, 2022 KATU

... he new ‘Watch For Wildlife’ license plates will be available at Oregon DMV sites across the state... A species already in decline, mule deer are further threatened by collisions with cars and trucks ...


Lawsuit prompts change in how ODNR officers conduct searches January 8, 2022 Oregon, The Columbus Dispatch

... ODNR issued a new policy on Monday that requires wildlife officers to obtain a search warrant if the operator of a taxidermy or wild-animal meat processing business does not consent to a search...


Sunshine, but dark days for deer? January 4, 2022 Oregon, La Grande Observer

... The winter of 1992-93 was especially hard on deer when the snow crusted over. Thousands of deer were winter-killed... deer numbers have not bounced back... the primary limiter is winter range ... We are losing winter range fast...


Elk feeding tours at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area canceled due to virus December 20, 2021 Oregon, ODFW News

... the wildlife area will not be able to offer the opportunity for the public to participate for the rest of the 2021-2022 feeding season... Wildlife area staff will continue to provide supplemental feed to elk during the winter months to enhance viewing opportunities for visitors. Feeding times are between 9-10 a.m. daily and should continue through mid-March...


Deer disease outbreak likely won't affect hunting tags December 18, 2021 Oregon, lagrandeobserver.com

... Although white-tailed deer are much more susceptible to EHD, the species has an advantage in that whitetail populations tend to grow faster than mule deer herds when conditions are suitable ... It’s not clear yet whether the EHD outbreak will prompt ODFW to reduce hunting tag numbers for any 2022 seasons ...


Like clockwork, the elk descend on Eastern Oregon respite as soon as people leave December 17, 2021 Oregon Live

... Marvin said elk start to show up at some of the feed sites ... on Dec. 1... “They have a phenomenal memory of where they’ve wintered in the past, and they can migrate for many miles overnight to be here ...


Starkey researchers consider reasons for the decline of mule deer December 9, 2021 Oregon, East Oregonian

... A series of analyses and publications indicated elk used the landscape in a way that met their needs while mule deer were avoiding elk. Over time, elk changed their use of the landscape, and mule deer moved to other areas elk were not using. “It became a concern in the fact that mule deer are declining in large areas ...


C.O. sees deer and elk decline; population growth, weather seen as key factors December 8, 2021 Oregon, KTVZ

... in Central Oregon ... Officials with the Deschutes National Forest reported local mule deer populations have declined 56% between 2004 and 2021Population growth [human], a resulting l lack of habitat, predators and poaching are all responsible...


Oregon's CWD monitoring effort intensifies after detection in Idaho December 3, 2021 ODFW News

... ODFW has been on the lookout for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) since the late 1990s. Over the past 20+ years, staff have collected and tested more than 23,000 samples from hunter harvested, roadkilled and other deer and elk found dead in Oregon. No Oregon animal has ever tested positive for CWD....


Deschutes National Forest wildlife winter range closures set to begin amid deer population plunge November 20, 2021 Oregon, KTVZ

... Local mule deer populations have declined 56% between 2004 and 2021, the agency said. Human disturbance of deer and elk during the winter can cause the animals to flee, which expends energy from the reserves they’re relying on to survive through winter...


Wildlife crashes declined during pandemic, but Central Oregon remains hotspot November 28, 2021 Bend Bulletin

... Pandemic lockdown orders had an impact on wildlife. As the total number of vehicle miles traveled in Oregon decreased by 10.77% from 2019 to 2020, wildlife crashes across the state decreased by 2.37%, according to data from the Oregon Department of Transportation...


Fall rains have led to a flush of new grass that will help deer, elk and upland birds prepare for winter November 12, 2021 Oregon, La Grande Observer

... a crop of tender grass that has sprouted ... he would have preferred to see the greenup begin a bit earlier, in late September or early October, which would have given animals more time to pack on pounds...


Wounded elk left to suffer marks ongoing poaching problem November 10, 2021 Oregon, ODFW News

...A young elk, shot through the spine and left struggling with paralyzed hind legs, is one of three new poaching cases that mark a continued disregard for laws set in place to preserve Oregon wildlife. Poachers also shot a blacktail doe near Newport, and a cow elk near Yaquina Head...


Oregon has plans to combat wildlife poaching, here's how it's going November 8 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

... In 2019 the Oregon Legislature passed a new anti-poaching measure. The measure assigned four additional Oregon State Police Wildlife Troopers and one additional sergeant ... Oregon and Alaska are the only states that partner with state troopers rather than having agency game wardens...


Poachers Who Harmed Recovery, Management of Oregon Wildlife Arrested October 30, 2021 Oregon, The Corvallis Advocate

... Willy Hollings was admired by his fellow poachers as a “stone cold killer” — a prolific slayer of elk, bear, deer and cougar cubs... Oregon State Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie), an active hunter, told Willamette Week’s Tess Riski, “Some very, very evil people-there’s no way other than that to explain it-they enjoy killing. ...


Your grandfather's elk hunt revisited October 8, 2021 Oregon, Mail Tribune

... Bull ratios in the Rogue Unit entering this year are at 12 bulls per 100 cows. Not as good as the 15-bull ratio of the past five years, but still plenty good, Niemela says. “Even though the herd as a whole has declined, the ratio of bulls is still strong,” ...


Fall ushers in collision danger with wildlife October 7, 2021 Oregon, thechronicleonline.com

... Each year from 2014-2018 in Oregon there were an estimated 7,000 crashes involving deer and elk ... October and November are the busiest months for vehicle-wildlife collisions...


Deer decoys help nab poachers as Oregon’s hunting season begins October 6, 2021 Yahoo! Sports

... The deer decoys were placed within sight of roads at night, when hunting is illegal, and Troopers waited for the inevitable... The crimes are Class A misdemeanors ...


For wildlife, a promise of safe passage between Juntura and Harper September 26, 2021 Oregon, Malheur Enterprise

... According to state wildlife surveys, Oregon’s mule deer population in 1998 was approximately 275,000. Since then, mule deer populations have experienced a steady decline. In 2012 there were roughly 220,000 mule deer in Oregon. The Department of Fish and Wildlife survey in 2019 showed a population barely over 176,000..,


Buck hunting boon September 24, 2021 Oregon Mail Tribune

... “We have this uninterrupted period of (deer) hunting that will include some very good migratory periods,” says Steve Niemela ... The Rogue Unit, which sports a unique and highly migratory herd of blacktails, has 23 bucks per 100 does, which is right in the normal range ... Evans Creek Unit sports a whopping 30 bucks per 100 does, nicely above that unit’s benchmark of 20 bucks ...


Oregon expands wolf kill due to threat to livestock September 18, 2021 Idaho Statesman

...“This pack has made a shift in their behavior,” says Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator. “Instead of the occasional opportunistic killing of a vulnerable calf, now they are targeting livestock despite the high numbers of elk and deer in the area where the depredations have occurred and extensive human presence to haze wolves.” ...


Deer death toll up to 36 September 17, 2021 Oregon, Baker City Herald

... The death toll in deer in Baker Valley from a disease spread by midges has risen to 36 in less than a month... An outbreak of EHD killed an estimated 2,000 white-tailed deer in Umatilla County during the fall of 2019 ..,


Remote cameras capture life returning to Oregon forests after wildfire September 10, 2021 OPB New

... “You can show the plants coming back, and the elk and the deer and bear and the cougar and everything else that loves that highly burned landscape after it starts to regrow,” ...


Big game preview 2021 August 26, 2021 Oregon, Blue Mountain Eagle

... for black-tailed deer on the North Coast ... a stable to increasing population ... in the southwest part of the state... low water conditions and other signs of summer drought... we are having an overall increase in our mule deer population ...


RMEF and Friends to Conserve 15,573 Acres of Elk Habitat in Oregon August 16, 2021 Oregon, OutdoorHub

... This effort will help to preserve the home of 500 wild elk. This same land is also a temporary home to 1,200 elk and mule deer who use it as a migratory path...


America’s First Peoples Have Things to Teach Us About Taming Wildfires August 15, 2021 Mother Jones

... the Klamath Tribes had worked with the US Forest Service to thin young trees and apply prescribed burning. When the Bootleg fire finally swept through, the forest was far less damaged than other areas that were not treated, the forest service said, noting that deer were even seen grazing on a “green island” preserved by the treatment...


ODFW hosts big game regulation meetings around the state beginning July 6 June 28, 2021 Oregon, ODFW News

... District wildlife biologists will present proposed statewide and local changes to the 2022 hunting seasons, answer questions and ask for attendees' feedback... For more information on what is being discussed, see the big game hunting review page, https://myodfw.com/articles/big-game-hunting-season-review Public comment about the proposals and other issues related to big game regulations will be taken at these meetings. Comments can also be emailed to odfw.commission@odfw.oregon.gov ...


Migration maps help protect the corridors herds need May 12, 2021 Oregon, Futurity: Research News

...Ungulates are running into barriers from a variety of sources along their migration routes, almost all linked by a common thread: how humans are changing the natural landscape. Some of the hurdles include oil and gas leasing, highways, housing developments, and the impacts of climate change...


$10,000 reward for information on three elk poached near Bend May 5, 2021, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

... OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers located the cow elk carcass on Oct. 30 after a hunter scouting the Dry Canyon area east of Sisters reported it to the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line. Troopers then discovered a large bull elk carcass nearby. The bull elk’s head had been removed as a trophy..,


Oregon has at least 173 wolves, a 9.5 percent increase over last year April 21, 2021 ODFW News

... State wildlife biologists counted 173 wolves in Oregon this past winter, a 9.5 percent increase over last year’s count of 158 according to the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2020 Annual Report ..,


House approves permanent Oregon landowner hunting tag program April 20, 2021

Capital Press

... Depending on acreage, landowners can qualify for two to 14 controlled hunt tags that can be used only on their property. A portion of the tags can be transferred to other people ...


Poachers bag multiple animals, risk health of Oregon herds April 15, 2021 ODFW News

... Carelessness in transporting elk from out of state, paired with multiple people lending and borrowing tags, and unlicensed taxidermy services exemplify the importance of wildlife laws. CWD, which is highly contagious and always fatal to deer and elk, is not known to exist in Oregon. For that reason, Oregon law prohibits hunters from bringing in heads or spinal columns of deer, elk, moose, or caribou from hunts in other states...


Starkey Experimental Forest elk tags to be reduced for 2021 season due to ongoing research April 13, 2021 Oregon ODFW

... The research will compare mule deer habitat use and demographics before and after the elk reduction to determine if the mule deer population responded positively to a reduction in elk densities and the degree to which competition with elk impacts mule deer...


ODFW considers changes to archery elk hunts April 6, 2021 Oregon, Lake County Examiner

... several northeast Oregon units would move from general season hunting to some form of controlled archery hunting to better manage elk populations and more equitably distribute necessary harvest reductions between rifle and archery hunters...


Reward of $1500 for information on three black-tailed bucks poached near Coos Bay April 3, 2021 Oregon, Coos Bay World

... ... “Oregon’s deer are facing so many threats from predation, habitat loss, disease and vehicle collision, that last thing we can afford is to have them senselessly slaughtered by poachers,” ...


Ochoco National Forest finds decline in deer and elk population March 31, 2021 Oregon, KTVZ

... mule deer population near Metolius decreased close to 40% and the population near Paulina dropped nearly 30% during the most recent three-year testing period... the region's continued growth in human population is a prime reason why...


Public/Private Partnerships Restore Willamette Valley Wildlife Habitat March 13, 2021 Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service

... before European settlement, much of the Willamette Valley was covered by native grasses, forbs, and oak savanna. The Kalapuya people regularly set fires to improve hunting and travel. The fires helped maintain the valley’s mosaic of grasslands, oak savannas, wet prairies, and other open habitats...


Eastern Oregon archery elk hunting changes being considered March 10, 2021 ODFW News

... several northeast Oregon units (see map) would move from general season hunting to some form of controlled archery hunting to better manage elk populations and more equitably distribute necessary harvest reductions between rifle and archery hunters..,


$1,000 reward linked to deer killed with blow gun darts March 2, 2021 Oregon, ODFW News

... A second mule deer has died and at least three more were injured after being struck with blow gun darts within the Burns city limits over the last four months. The Oregon Hunters Association is offering $1,000 in reward money for information leading to a citation... “It is no secret that mule deer populations continue to be on a decline in Oregon,” ...


Deer survey planned amid declining populations February 17, 2021 East Oregonian

... “We’re kind of guessing we’ll see more decline from the previous years when we did our statistical sampling,” Platt said. “Deer in general throughout Oregon and throughout the West face many factors, such as habitat loss and degradation, predators and diseases.” ...


Oregon's Columbian White-Tailed Deer Was Endangered Until 18 Years Ago. Now, a Closely Regulated Hunt Celebrates the Species’ Recovery January 28, 2021 Oregon, Outdoor Life Magazine

... the Columbian whitetail ... prefers boggy swamps and river sloughs in a small and familiar home range... populations ... declined as land was cleared and frontier hunters provided venison for urban markets... declared endangered in 1968 ... Tenasillahe Island was set aside for the last few Columbian whitetails ..,


Bill would make Oregon landowner hunting tag program permanent January 27, 2021 Oregon, Capital Press

... landowners who are providing habitat for those animals may not be able to hunt on their own property ... That’s the reason the landowner preference program was developed in the first place.” Landowners who don’t hunt can transfer some or all of their preference tags to others ...


Wildfires Open Forests for Wildlife and Research January 26, 2021, KLCC FM Public Radio

... if you look around Oregon, they tend to be really homogeneous, right, they’re just like the same tree, all about the same age, and there isn’t a lot of light hitting the forest floor... Where we had moderate to lightly-burned areas, we did see green up, and we’re seeing deer ...


Results of elk and deer hunts have been massively underreported as Jan. 31 deadline looms January 7, 2021 Oregon, Oregonian

... More than half of 2020 Oregon deer and elk tag holders still haven’t reported results of their hunts...


ODFW now managing wolves statewide after wolf delisting from federal Endangered Species List January 4, 2021 Oregon, ODFW News

... Oregon’s known wolf count has grown from 14 wolves in 2009 to 158 at the end of 2019. The 2020 count is happening now and updated numbers will be available in Spring 2021...


The elk arrive, with appetites December 19, 2020 Oregon, Baker City Herald

... the animals have become so accustomed to Marvin and his crew doling out alfalfa when the snow lies deep, that sometimes they arrive before he’s ready to start bucking bales...The state started the project in 1971 ...


Public’s Assistance requested to find elk poachers in Clatsop County November 17, 2020 Oregon, ODFW News

... Two elk were recently poached and left to waste near Hwy 26 in Clatsop County... I’ve found at least 15 elk killed off-season in the last couple of years,” he said, “And those are just the ones that we get called about. There are many more that we don’t find.” ... Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line at *OSP (*677) or 877-452-7888


Oregon bucks wildlife crime with first K9 unit October 5, 2020 La Grande Observer

... The yellow Labrador retriever and Trooper Josh Wolcott are the state’s first anti-poaching K9 unit... Buck is trained to detect the scent of gunpowder residue and Oregon’s most monitored wildlife: elk, deer ...


What you need to know about deer and elk on Oregon roads October 2, 2020

St. Helens Chronicle

... Each year from 2014-2018 in Oregon there were an estimated 7,000 crashes involving deer and elk ... October and November are the busiest months for vehicle-wildlife collisions. With deer and elk on the move due to breeding season and migration to winter ranges ...

Highway 97 wildlife fencing project secures funding September 23, 2020 Oregon, Herald and News

... Directional fencing that will help guide deer and other animals to a newly constructed highway underpass beneath Highway 97 in northern Klamath County has been approved ... the $1 million project will be completed this fall...


The Tales Of Thor The Deer: Abandoned, Rescued, Rehabilitated August 27, 2020 Oregon, Patch

... "The fire was moving toward the house," ... He's too young to fully take care of himself even without a fire... he was dehydrated and that he had messed himself," Dawn says. The last part was another clear sign that he'd been left, since mother deer usually clean their babies ...


New Approach for Archer Deer August 20, 2020 ODFW News:

ODFW will propose that all archery deer hunting be controlled in Eastern Oregon for 2021. This change from a statewide general season with unlimited tags to controlled hunting in Eastern Oregon with limits on tags is necessary due to continued mule deer population declines. Mule deer populations have declined by nearly 50 percent in the last 40 years and having no limits on archery harvest is no longer a responsible management approach. Archery deer hunting in Western Oregon will continue as a general season opportunity.


Oregon bucks wildlife crime with first K9 unit August 18, 2020 Capital Press

... yellow Labrador retriever ... trained to detect the scent of gunpowder residue and Oregon’s most monitored wildlife: elk, deer, steelhead, salmon, bear, antelope, waterfowl, turkey and, eventually, sturgeon... Buck's investigations help Wolcott determine where poaching suspects have — and haven't — been...


Retired doctor turns toward conservation August 5, 2020 Oregon, Herald and News

... Among the projects is a fundraising campaign to help complete the construction of wildlife crossing to protect migratory deer and elk — and motorists — on Highway 97 ... “More deer are killed by motorists than by hunters,” ...


Hwy. 97 wildlife underpasses have had bigger safety impact than expected July 29, 2020 Oregon, KTVZ

... Oregon Department of Transportation says the underpasses have reduced wildlife-vehicle crashes by 95 percent along the highway... The Oregon Hunter's Association and the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Foundation have put up nearly $500,000 to provide fences...


Elk numbers decline on Zumwalt Prairie July 20, 2020 Oregon, East Oregonian

... the 2020 population estimate for elk in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Chesnimnus unit, which includes the prairie, is 3,500 elk... as recently as 2015, the number of elk on the unit approached 4,500 ... timber removal ... helped increase elk habitat in the unit...


Big game regulations review continues: ODFW seeks input on potential Eastern Oregon archery, Cascade elk season changes June 25, 2020 Oregon, ODFW News

... For mule deer, population numbers have declined in Oregon and throughout the West since their peak in the 1980s, due to many factors including nutrition, vehicle collisions, poaching and predation. Many units are below management objectives. Biologists believe a general season is no longer an appropriate tool for managing mule deer..,

Fawn seized, euthanized June 10, 2020 Oregon, Lincoln City Homepage

... Over a two-week period, the black-tailed deer lived in the Ready’s house and played with her dogs — apparently dooming the poor creature... . “The deer fawn was evaluated and determined to not be suited for release and was humanely euthanized by ODFW biologists.” ...


Hwy. 97 wildlife underpass project receives funding May 29, 2020 Oregon, Herald and News

... ODFW’s research with radio-collared mule deer indicates that Hwy 97 near Gilchrist is a major crossing point for migrating mule deer and elk—and a place where big game and other wildlife are extremely vulnerable to vehicle collisions...


Fish and Wildlife seeks ‘historic’ hunting expansion May 26, 2020 Oregon, East Oregonian

... USFWS’s massive proposal creates or expands hunting and fishing at 97 wildlife refuges ... The USFWS is taking public comments on the proposal until June 8 ... the Department of Interior didn’t require an environmental impact statement...


Four Oregonians charged with poaching 27 big game animals could face $162,000 in fines May 19, 2020 Oregon, Statesman Journal

... included illegal take of buck deer, bull elk, black bear, bobcat and cougar ... Police received a tip through the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line ...


Hoof disease found in nearby elk herds May 13, 2020 Oregon, Ashland Tidings

... Southwest Oregon Roosevelt elk herds are virtually surrounded by new discoveries of a debilitating disease that rots the animals’ hooves ... known scientifically as treponeme-associated hoof disease, or TAHD ...


Oregon Deer News and Information Archive by Topic: Population and Management, Deer in the News, Disease, Suburban, Transportation

Oregon Data: The 2020 population estimate of 468,000 is based on the state's estimate of 167,992 mule deer and a blacktail population estimate of 300,000 based on hunting data. The increase in the 2020 deer hunt is associated with increased hunting during the pandemic, by 2021 the deer hunt returned to below trend. Population estimates are here and at the bottom of this column. Not included in the population estimates are a white-tail population of less than 15,000 in the eastern part of the state as of 2021 and a smaller population of Columbian white-tail deer, less than 1,000. The state estimated 163,007 mule deer in 2021 and 161,412 in 2022.


Combining state estimates with hunting data results in the estimates in the graph below. Estimates spreadsheet. 2021 mule deer population estimate included.

The 2019 estimate of 462,000 deer uses the state's mule deer estimate of 171,525 and an estimate using hunting data of about 290,000 blacktail deer. Using the same approach gives a deer population estimate of 467,000 for 2018. Hunting data suggests a significant population decline in 2017, recovering into 2020. 2021 Forecast. 2020 Forecast. A benchmark of 20 bucks per 100 does was frequently used in 2021.


Deer tags were reduced in 2020 for eastern Oregon because disease outbreaks reduced mule deer populations. High February 2019 snowfall made spring migration difficult. Heavy snowfall at the end of the 2018-19 winter reduced fawn numbers in many areas. The 2019 Big Game forecast notes that fawn survival was low in many areas and deer have not fully recovered from the severe winter of 2017-18. In 2019 the "... Paulina Unit, east of Bend, is down to 5,918 deer from 15,400 in 2002, a 61% decline."


For mule deer the state estimated 229,326 in 2015, 226,775 in 2016, 135,566 in 2017, 190,445 in 2018 and 176,017 2019.


As illustrated below, the mule deer population has been on a long decline. Final state estimates are a little different than reported to WAFWA. Over the period 2000 to 2020, the mule deer population fell by about 37 Percent.


Oregon Mule Deer Population 1980 to 2020

Source Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), 2021 (p. 35)

The state reported in 2021 (p. 34) that: "in 1998 the black-tailed deer population was estimated at 387,000, declining to 320,000 in 2004; the population seems to have been relatively stable since that time." The 1998 to 2004 decline was about 17 percent. In 1979, ODFW estimated the statewide black-tailed deer population at 452,000, a decline of 29 percent into 2004.


The graph below tracks the deer hunt from 1952 to 2022 relying on reports from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This data and a few state estimates were used to estimate much of the blacktail population in the graph above.

The 28% decline in the 2017 deer harvest suggests a total population of about 450,000. The 2018 mule deer population population estimate was reduced to 190,445 and 176,017 in 2019, about 180,000 in 2020, a range of 160,000 to 180,000. High February 2019 snowfall made spring migration difficult.


In 2016 an estimated 226,775 mule deer. A severe winter in 2016-2017 reduced the herd which was still recovering into 2018. Emergency deer tag reductions were implemented for the 2017-18 hunt to help the herd recover. A mild 2017-18 winter resulted in good survival, but herds are still recovering in some areas. Drought in mid-2018 reduced deer numbers especially in central and eastern Oregon, see the 2018 ODFW forecast.


ODFW is working on a method of estimating black-tailed deer populations using scat. Good weather for the herd in 2016 with the target black-tail deer buck-to-doe ratio was about 25 to 30 bucks per 100 does. An estimated 300,000 to 320,000 blacktails and 225,000 to 235,000 mule deer in 2015. A 2004 estimate of 247,350 mule deer.


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 were 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 which fell to about 220,000 in 2012 from about 300,000 in 1982. In 2012 estimated populations of 216,000 mule deer, and 320,000 blacktail. (This blacktail population number is the same as the last official state estimate in 2004).


A 2009 estimate of 6,000 whitetail deer. The state reports that "in 1998 the black-tailed deer population was estimated at 387,000, declining to 320,000 in 2004; the population seems to have been relatively stable since that time." (p. 35)

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 212,000 total mule deer in 2011, about 215,000 total mule deer in 2014 with 32,000 bucks. [2013 ODFW population analysis] The mule deer population was estimated to be 275,000 in 1998.


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 in 2014 on some private lands was 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.


In eastern Oregon mule numbers declined from about 300,000 in 1981 to 220,000 in 2012.


Columbian white-tail: 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 with only about 450 remained by the mid 1960s. Farming altered their major habitat. More than 900 Columbian whitetails in 2016 in Oregon and Washington.


Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) Outbreaks in 2021, 2020, and 2019.


History Deer were overhunted to very low levels in the late 1800's and early 1900's. About 80,000 deer in 1913 according to an Outdoor Life estimate. "Scientific studies of the 1930s reported that between 1926 and 1933 Oregon’s mule deer population ranged from 39,000 to 75,000 animals." Columbian white-tails declined to just a few and were declared endangered in 1968.


An estimated blacktail population of 452,000 in 1979 falling to about 320,000 by 2004.and 212,000 in 2011. The estimated mule deer population in 2004 was 247,350. In 2005 an estimate of 230,700, according to a DFW report, page 7. 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 severe winter of 1992-93 reduced deer populations. 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. Blacktail population information for 1969 to 1998 from ODFW. Blacktail herd composition 2012 to 2021 from ODFW.


Chart below from Oregon's Mule Deer Management Plan, February 2003 (page 7). "The estimated spring [mule deer] population in 1990 was 256,000 ... The estimated 2001 population was 283,000... Vernon Bailey (1936) estimated Oregon’s mule deer population to be 39,000 to 75,000 animals from 1926 to 1933..." Mule deer population information from ODFW for 1968 to 1998.

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. The 2016-17 winter reduced populations. In 2016 an estimated 74,227 Rocky Mountain elk and 60,057 Roosevelt elk. In 2012 an estimated 120,000 elk.


Graph below from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Elk Population 1991 to 2011

Moose, less than 100 in 2019, about 70 in 2018 and about 60 in 2016 in the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. These Shiras moose are the smallest North American subspecies.


Cougars (montain lions), An estimate of 6,000 cougars in 2019. Over 6,400 in 2017 and about 6,600 up to 7,600 in 2018. Oregon includes kittens less that one year old that are not included in some other state estimates. Estimated 6,372 cougars in 2015. About 5,000 to 6,000 from 2011 to 2015. In 2012 an estimated 5,700 cougars, 5,500 to 6,000 in 2011. In 1992-93 about 2,500. Estimated at 214 in 1961. Cougars were hunted to almost extinction in Oregon until they were reclassified as a game animal in 1967. Population estimated at 3,114 in 1994 and about 200 in the 1960s.


Wolves, In 2021, an estimated of at least 173 wolves. Oregon’s known wolf count grew from 14 wolves in 2009 to 158 at the end of 2019. counted 137 wolves in the 2018-19 winter, an estimate of 120 wolves in 2018, roughly 150 in 2017, 112 known wolves in 2016, up 2 from 2015.


The last wolf bounty was paid out in 1947, the first wolf pack in recent times was seen in 2006. The first pups documented in 2008 with 29 confirmed wolves in 2011. A minimum of about 82 wolves in the state in 2015. Wolf status report, 2015.


Black bears, about 25,000 in 2016, about the same in 2011.


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.

- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

- Wildlife Strategy and Tools Page


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.


Below is a spreadsheet showing population estimates for mule and blacktail deer. Numbers linked to sources are in blue (active links) other numbers are estimated from hunting data.

Oregon Deer Population