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Deer hunting in Oregon

Jeff Barnard Blog

Jeff Barnard blog

Retired SW Oregon Associated Press environmental reporter takes up deer hunting for the first time in this series.

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 forests, BLM land, state forests, wildlife 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. More info

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 using this mail/fax order form.

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. Note that any emergency tag changes will be announced by April 15.

In 2015, ODFW offered more than 73,000 controlled deer hunting tags. Explore success rates for each hunt at the Hunting Statistics and Reports page.

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