Last year hunters bagged 43,098 blacktail and mule deer in Oregon, with 36 percent of all hunters being successful. Mule deer hunters had a higher success rate (46 percent) compared to blacktail hunters (25 percent).
Whether you’re talking about mule deer (which are found mainly east of the Cascades) or blacktail deer (West of the Cascades), populations continue to decline in the Beaver State. While the state’s deer herds headed into last winter with lower fawn ratios (due to dry conditions in 2012), the mild winter will enable more deer to survive and go into the fall in good condition.
The new mandatory reporting system that was implemented in 2012 enabled the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to get a better handle on how many deer of each species are being harvested. Data are being used to help the agency make better deer management decisions.
This year the deadline for reporting is Jan. 31, 2014, if your hunt ends during 2013. The deadline is April 15, 2014 for 2013 hunts that end between January 1 and March 31, 2014. See the hunter reporting page for more information, and remember that you can also report your hunts by phone and talk to a real customer service representative (not an automated system) at 1-866-947-ODFW (6339).
There are numerous hunting unit boundary changes in 2013, so hunters would be wise to consult the 2013 Big Game Hunting Regulations Digest. There are also some units offering expanded hunting opportunities, such as the Baker No. 2 hunting area, which issued 30 antlerless whitetail deer tags for the Oct. 19-27 open season.
The Oregon Department of Forestry reports that fire danger this season is unprecedented, with record resources tied up in firefighting. Check with the national forest where you are headed or BLM for information before heading afield.
Many private forestland owners allow hunters on their land and offer some of the best hunting opportunities. To see a list of lands where public access is allowed, check out the Oregon Department of Forestry website.