Beginning August 2020 the big game section of the Recreation Report will be updated monthly, instead of weekly. We hope these monthly updates will be more dynamic and substantive than would minor, weekly updates.
Sign up to receive an email when the report has been updated, or when interim updates and announcements are made. We’ve broadened your choices for email notification so that you can select only those sections of the Recreation Report that interest you.
Population trends, winter survival and early season hunting conditions. Just some of the information you’ll find in this year’s hunting forecast.
New harvested cougar and bear check in procedures for 2020
Due to COVID-19 related ODFW office closures, bear hunters are temporarily not required to check-in their animal at an ODFW office, though they do still need to report basic information about their harvest within 10 days. Hunters need to call the field or district office closest to their house and report their name, ODFW ID number, date of harvest, location of harvest (wildlife management unit), sex of animal and confirmation number for electronic tags. Or, they can email all the above information to .
2020 wildfire effects on hunting
ODFW can’t tell you whether to go hunting or not. We will try to steer you to information about fire closures and access issues, air quality, hunt status, and tags and points so you can make an informed decision about whether to go.
You’ll now find all wildfire information related to hunting, fishing and recreating, on both public and private land, in one central location on MyODFW.com. This page will be updated frequently, so be sure to check again before you go.
Wolves and coyotes can look alike
Most wolves in the state today are in northeast Oregon but a few have dispersed further west and south. Wolves are protected by state and/or federal law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters need to take extra care to identify their target as , especially wolf pups in the mid-summer and fall. Please report any wolf sightings or to ODFW using the system.
Test your identification skills with ODFW’s new .
Archery deer: In the White River unit, most deer are migratory and spend the summer months at higher elevation within the unit. Finding game trails near water and setting up a tree stand may be a good way to harvest a deer in both the Hood and White River units.
High elevation meadows in the Mt Hood Wilderness can also be good areas to target if you’re looking to get away from other hunters in the unit.
Archery elk: Elk are fairly low density and scattered throughout all of these units. This can be a good experience to hunt if you are willing to do some scouting and cover a lot of ground in areas where you find elk sign.
In the White River and Hood units, heavy cover can make harvesting a bull difficult, but this also creates a less crowded experience for hunters than other areas around the state.
Although most of the elk in the West Biggs and Maupin units are found on private lands, there are opportunities on public lands within the Deschutes River canyon and on BLM lands where hunting pressure is fairly low.
Fall bear: Bear densities in White River and Hood units are high. 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.
Cougar: 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.
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.
Archery deer: Deer can be found throughout the wildlife area. Focus on the west end of the wildlife area in higher elevations where most of the deer spend the summer months. Bag limit is one buck with visible antler.
Archery elk: Elk can be found throughout the wildlife area. Focus on the west end of the wildlife area in higher elevations where most of the elk spend the summer months. Bag limit is one elk.
Fall bear: This time of year, with the heat we are experiencing, bears are generally at higher elevations so it may be challenging to find bears in the wildlife area. If you do hunt in the wildlife area focus on the water sources and canyons where temperatures are a little cooler. Also, you can now harvest two bears in the fall, statewide, with an additional bear tag.
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.
Cougar: 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. White River Wildlife Area is in Zone A. Cougar season is open in the White River Wildlife Area, Jan. 1 – Dec 31 unless the harvest quota has been met.
Current road and weather conditions:
FIRE RESTRICTIONS: The WRWA in Pine Grove and all of Smock Prairie areas are closed to camping and motor vehicles due to the White River Fire damage. These areas are open only for walk-in access until further notice.
The roads on the wildlife area are dry and dusty and travel is allowed only on open roads designated by the green dot. Look for maps with road information at entrances to the wildlife area. Reminder: Display your required parking permit when visiting the wildlife area. Camping in the wildlife area is only allowed in designated camping areas. Please pack out your trash. Fire restrictions are in effect within the wildlife area. No campfires and no wood cutting. No ATVs allowed in the wildlife area. 9/16/20