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How to hunt deer and elk in Oregon

March 2, 2019

Oregon has everything it takes to be on any big game hunter's bucket list: Over 34 million acres of public land open to hunters. Diverse habitats from coastal rain forests to eastern deserts, with a couple of mountain ranges in between. Trophy opportunities include deer and elk.

How to Hunt for Deer and Elk in Oregon

How to Hunt for Deer and Elk in Oregon online course

Deer hunting in Oregon

Oregon offers diverse deer hunting opportunities among beautiful landscapes, with both over-the-counter and controlled tags available. Western Oregon’s reclusive black-tails live in the lush habitat of the coastal mountains and western Cascades. Eastern Oregon’s mule deer live in the more open country of the High Desert and northeast Oregon. Oregon also boasts a growing white-tail population and opportunity to hunt them in controlled hunts in southwest and northeast Oregon.

Oregon’s big game are managed by wildlife management units, particularly for controlled hunts, so get familiar with the boundaries where you want to hunt. Hunters in Oregon can access millions of acres of public land open to hunting (national forestsBLM landstate forestswildlife areas) plus many private lands open through Oregon’s Access and Habitat program. See www.oregonhuntingmap.com to find a place to hunt.

Oregon offers rifle, archery and muzzleloader hunts with some special hunts just for youth (age 17 and under). See the current Oregon Big Game Regulations for exact season dates and bag limits.

  • Rifle deer hunting is general season in western Oregon for the most part, but requires a controlled hunt tag in eastern Oregon. Most rifle buck deer hunting seasons begin on the Saturday closest to Oct. 1 each year and run for 12 days in eastern Oregon and about a month in western Oregon, with a break in the Cascades area during the elk season.
  • Archery deer hunting is general season nearly statewide and coincides with general archery elk season. It opens on a Saturday in late August and runs 30 days, ending on a Sunday in late September. There is also a special late season in parts of western Oregon for a few weeks in November and December. Some controlled archery hunts are also available.
  • Muzzleloader controlled hunts are available.
  • One Premium Deer Hunt is available in each wildlife management unit. Hunters who draw this special tag can hunt Sept. 1-Nov. 30. Learn more about Premium Hunts.

Remember that all applications for controlled hunts are due by May 15.  Deer tags must be purchased (or picked up as part of a SportsPac) no later than the day before the hunt begins. Apply and purchase online, at a license sales agent or at an ODFW office that sells licenses.

Controlled hunt tag numbers typically don’t change much from year to year. See the current Oregon Big Game Regulations for a list of controlled hunts and tags available for each hunt.

Elk hunting in Oregon

Oregon’s elk are one of the most sought-after species for hunters and the second most popular game animal after deer. Rocky Mountain elk are found in eastern Oregon and Roosevelt elk are found in western Oregon, with most concentrated in the Coast, Cascade and Blue Mountain ranges. Both controlled (limited entry) and over-the-counter (general season) hunting opportunities are available for elk in Oregon.

Oregon’s big game are managed by wildlife management units, particularly for controlled hunts, so get familiar with the boundaries where you want to hunt. Hunters in Oregon can access millions of acres of public land open to hunting (national forestsBLM landstate forestswildlife areas) plus many private lands open through Oregon’s Access and Habitat program. See www.oregonhuntingmap.com to find a place to hunt.

Oregon offers rifle, archery and muzzleloader hunts with some special hunts just for youth (age 17 and under). See the current Oregon Big Game Regulations for exact season dates and bag limits.

  • Rifle hunting is general season in western Oregon for the most part, except for some coastal units where it’s controlled hunting. There is one week-long general season hunt with a spike only bag limit in parts of NE Oregon (Rocky Mt Elk 2nd season), but remaining eastern Oregon seasons are controlled. All the general rile elk seasons take place in October and November.
  • Archery elk hunting is general season nearly statewide and coincides with general archery deer season. The bag limit is “one elk” in many units. It opens on a Saturday in late August and runs 30 days, ending on a Sunday in late September. Some controlled archery hunts are also available.
  • Muzzleloader controlled hunts are available.
  • Premium Elk Hunt is available in almost all wildlife management units. Hunters who draw this special tag can hunt Sept. 1-Nov. 30. Learn more about Premium Hunts.

Remember that all applications for controlled hunts are due by May 15.  Deer tags must be purchased (or picked up as part of a SportsPac) no later than the day before the hunt begins. Apply and purchase online, at a license sales agent or at an ODFW office that sells licenses.

Controlled hunt tag numbers typically don’t change much from year to year. See the current Oregon Big Game Regulations for a list of controlled hunts and tags available for each hunt.

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