Thursday, January 5, 2012

Deer Hunting in Oregon - Variety Is the Spice of Life

One of the great things about living in the state of Oregon, is the wide variety of deer species available to our hunters. From the thick, wet, rain forests of the coast, to the Cascade mountains, to the dry high desert of Eastern Oregon, deer are abundant. Depending on your preference, the following is a brief overview of what and where to hunt:

1. Whitetail Deer:

Found primarily east of the Cascade mountains, these deer have begun a resurgence in Oregon. Previously the domain of mule deer, whitetails have begun to inhabit the lower elevations of Central and Eastern Oregon. From the White River as far east as the Idaho border, whitetail deer can be found feeding in the alfalfa and wheat fields along side our mule deer populations.

2. Mule Deer:

These brutes are found east of the Cascades in the high deserts of Eastern Oregon and in some areas of Southern Oregon where they have interbred with our blacktail deer to create "benchleg" bucks. Largest of our deer species, these bucks are available only by limited draw, and only for a short eleven day season during October.

3. Blacktail Deer:

Smaller than there mule deer cousins, these deer can be found throughout the Coast mountains, through the Willamette Valley, and along the western slopes of the Cascade range. Elusive and nocturnal by nature, these deer represent a difficult trophy to obtain. Available during our general deer season, hunting is available in many parts of Oregon from October through December for these deer.

4. Columbia Whitetail Deer:

The hardest tag in Oregon to draw, this small population of whitetails exist in the southern portion of Oregon, and have only recently been available to hunters. Through exceptional management, this whitetail subspecies, has experienced a comeback from near extinction in Oregon. Smaller than their whitetail cousins, this trophy is a once in a lifetime opportunity for hunters here in the Beaver State.

In addition to the distinct species above, we are beginning to see whitetail-mule deer hybrids and mule deer-blacktail deer hybrids where their territories overlap. These hybrids create one more trophy for the avid hunter to pursue.

That is a quick overview of our whitetail deer, mule deer, and blacktail deer populations here in Oregon. Non-resident tags are available for our limited entry draw as well as our general season, so be sure to add Oregon to your list of hunting destinations.

Remember, time in the field is a gift, savor it.

Until next time, Happy Hunting.

Bob Russell - Bob came to hunting late in life, but has become an avid outdoorsman. Father to two sons, Bob is passing on the traditions of hunting to the next generation. Find out how he can help you find your next great hunting adventure at

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