OREGON

Deer Forecast 2004 -- WEST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Hunters shouldn't expect any profound changes in the upcoming deer season, although blacktail deer are still experiencing a decline. These deer, one of three subspecies in Oregon (whitetails and mule deer being the others), live in the coastal areas west of the Cascade Mountain Range. Tom Thornton, game program manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, says habitat loss is a problem, especially on public land where there is less logging, resulting in poor forage. Deer also are afflicted with a parasite that causes severe hair loss, often resulting in death. A louse introduced from a foreign country might be the cause.

Thornton says that mule deer fared well in the east, though there were some losses in the northeast and on the eastern face of the Cascades due to a winter that was harder than normal. Overall, there have been no important changes in the regulations, though a break in the long-term drought will be an improvement for deer around the state, including whitetails that dwell in the northeast.

Seasons vary by the unit and region this year, but basically will be October 2 to November 5 for blacktails and October 2-13 for mule deer and whitetails. There are different seasons in the Cascade Mountains.