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.
Types of Elk
Features: Roosevelt elk are one of two subspecies of elk found in Oregon, with an estimated population of 59,000 in the state. “Rosies” are darker in color than other elk subspecies and the largest in terms of body size, with bulls generally weighing 700-1,100 pounds.
Habitat: Roosevelt elk occupy most of western Oregon, with concentrations in the Cascade and Coast ranges. All elk west of Hwy 97 are considered to be Roosevelt elk, though there is some overlap of Oregon’s two subspecies in the Cascades.
Techniques: Roosevelt elk make their home in the thick and lush forests of western Oregon so still, spot and stalk, and calling are recommended. Rifle, archery and muzzleloader seasons are available. Most archery and many rifle hunts are general season in western Oregon, except for parts of SW Oregon and the Saddle Mtn Unit which are limited entry (apply by May 15 for these controlled hunts).
Rocky Mountain elk
Features: Rocky Mountain elk are one of two subspecies of elk found in Oregon, with a population estimate of more than 74,000 in the state. They are lighter in color and slightly smaller in size than Roosevelt elk, but their antlers are the largest of all elk and can weigh up to 40 pounds.
Habitat: Rocky Mountain elk inhabit most of eastern Oregon with concentrations in the Blue Mountains and south-central Oregon.
Techniques: Rocky Mountain elk live in much more open country that Roosevelts so try glassing, still hunting, spot and stalk and calling. Rifle, archery and muzzleloader seasons are available. Most archery and several spike hunts are general season. Eastern Oregon’s branched bulls are some of the most desirable game animals in the state so most of these rifle seasons are limited-entry (apply by May 15).