If you take a camera in the field with you, we’d love to see photos of your hunt. When you submit your photos to ODFW they could appear on our website or signs, or in social or brochures. What a great way to share your experience with others!
Hunting and fire danger
As early season hunters know, dry conditions and the associated fire danger can have a large impact on your hunting opportunity. It pays to in advance to see if there are any access restrictions in the unit(s) you plan to hunt.
OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE, BLACK BEAR, ANTERLESS ELK (Maupin and West Biggs)
HOOD RIVER, WASCO, SHERMAN COUNTIES (Hood, White River, Maupin, West Biggs Units)
Antlerless Elk (Maupin and West Biggs): Oct. 12- Nov. 30
Public access is limited to BLM lands in the Deschutes and John Day River Canyons. Also, The Woosley Tract of Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area can be accessed by boat from the Deschutes River. Elk hunting in these units is best on private lands but elk can also be found on public lands if hunters are willing to work for it.
Rifle Deer closed Oct. 9.
Fall bear: Open Aug. 1- Nov. 30
Bear densities in White River and Hood units are high and early season hunting can be productive near fall berry crops. So far this season, the Hood unit seems to be the hot spot for fall bear hunting, with several bears harvested thus far in the season. Any accessible areas near the boundaries of orchards can also be productive areas to target bears.
Coyotes: Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. The best areas to find them will be near farm grounds on the eastern boundary. Look for them in early morning or evening and pay close attention to wind direction.
Cougar: Most cougars are harvested by hunters targeting other species. Remember to purchase a cougar tag before heading out for other hunts. Cougars can be found in the same areas as deer and elk as they follow them through their migration routes. Also, try using predator calls to draw them in and be patient for them to make their appearance. The season is open all year, unless the zone quota is met in the area you are hunting.
Deer: The White River unit controlled buck deer hunt (141B) has ended. Last day was Oct. 9. Deer can be found throughout the wildlife area. Hunters were finding some bucks in the wildlife area and many were finding deer at higher elevations as well.
Elk: Rocky Mt. elk 1st season is Oct. 23 through Oct. 27with a bag limit of one bull elk. Elk can be found throughout the wildlife area. Look for elk near agricultural fields and other food sources.
Bear: Look for bears in canyons, near water and around food sources such as acorn crops, wild berries and nearby orchards. As the weather changes, bears will be moving more in search of food. Be aware of the centerfire rifle restrictions during the Rocky Mt. elk seasons, see page 16 in the big game hunting regulations or MyODFW.com for more information on that.
Don’t forget that it is mandatory to check in your bear skull at an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of harvest, the skull must be unfrozen. In addition if you harvest a female bear, please turn in the entire reproductive tract to ODFW if possible. See page 59 in the big game hunting regulations or MyODFW.com for more information.
Wolves on the White River Wildlife Area are protected by state and /or federal law. It is unlawful to shoot them. Hunters targeting coyotes need to take extra care in identifying their target. Coyotes can resemble wolves, especially wolf pups. Please report any sightings of wolves or
Cougar: Cougar season is open in the White River Wildlife Area. Try using predator calls to increase your odds of success. Here are Check to make sure the zone you are hunting in hasn’t reached the harvest quota before you hunt. Remember it is mandatory to check in your unfrozen cougar skull and hide with proof of sex attached to an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of the kill by the person who harvested the animal. See page 62 in the big game hunting regulations or for more information.
It is also mandatory to submit the reproductive tract of any female cougar taken (see page 59 in the big game hunting regulations).
Western gray squirrel season is now closed.
Coyotes: There are no seasons or bag limits on coyotes. Populations are good throughout the wildlife area. Be aware that bobcats and cougars may respond to predator calls, and separate licensing/tags and season limitations exist for these species.
Test your identification skills with ODFW’s new Coyote and Gray Wolf ID Quiz.
Current road and weather conditions: Travel is allowed only on roads that are designated by the green dot. Look for road information maps at entrances to the wildlife area. With the recent rain and low elevation snowstorms, many of the roads are slick and muddy so be prepared and drive carefully. Reminders: