SALEM, Ore. - Rifle deer tags available for hunters may be reduced by 440 tags in the Maury unit and 33 tags in the N. Warner unit for the fall 2009 seasons.
Reducing tags in Warner and Maury is one of the strategies being used as part of the Mule Deer Initiative, a new effort to reverse declining mule deer trends in five wildlife management units (Maury, Warner, Steens Mtn, Heppner, and Murderers Creek).
ODFW is proposing the following rifle deer tag numbers for the fall 2009 season: 385 tags in Maury (compared to 825 last year) and 32 for N. Warner rifle (65 last year).
Buck tags in the Murderers Creek unit are also proposed to be reduced (from 1,100 last year to 950 in 2009) but the reduction is because the buck ratio (bucks per 100 does) is below ODFW’s management objective.
Statewide, 2009 proposed buck deer tags, antlerless deer tags, elk tags and pronghorn antelope tags are down slightly while bighorn sheep and Rocky Mtn goat tags have increased. Fall 2009 big game tag proposals have been available on ODFW’s website under Hunting Resources since early May.
Hunters that applied for a Maury or Warner deer hunt or any other big game controlled hunt may change their choice until June 1. Call ODFW’s licensing division at (503) 947-6101 to make a change or use this form.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission will make the final decision on fall 2009 tags during its June 5 meeting in Salem.
Archery season changes for 2010
Archery season changes are also proposed for the 2010 season. Currently archery is general season in most units, meaning anyone can purchase a tag, but ODFW will propose controlled archery deer hunts in the Maury, Steens Mtn., and Warner units. A controlled hunt enables ODFW to better control harvest and collect more precise and reliable information about archery hunter pressure and harvest.
If the proposed changes are approved, bow hunters that draw one of these controlled tags would not be able to hunt deer in another unit. Also, archery elk hunting will be limited to hunters with a controlled archery deer tag for the unit.
Any changes to archery hunting will be decided upon during the Oct. 2 Commission meeting in Salem, when 2010 big game regulations are adopted.
About the Mule Deer Initiative
The Mule Deer Initiative is a new effort by ODFW to increase mule deer, which have declined across the western United States for a variety of reasons. ODFW is currently working with stakeholders like sportsman organizations and land managers to finalize plans for each of the five units involved in the initial effort. Actions such as habitat, travel, disease and predator management will be considered as part of the effort.
For more information about the Mule Deer Initiative, contact Meg Eden (541) 447-5111 or Greg Jackle (541) 575-1167. For questions about Warner unit, call Craig Foster (541) 947-2950.