|Archery Rocky mountain elk taken in Northeastern Oregon. Photo by Trever Niestrath.
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. Both controlled (limited entry) and over-the-counter (general season) hunting opportunities are available for elk in 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 hunting is general season in western Oregon for the most part, except for some coastal units where it’s controlled hunting. There is one week-long general season hunt with a spike only bag limit in parts of NE Oregon (Rocky Mt Elk 2nd season), but remaining eastern Oregon seasons are controlled. All the general rile elk seasons take place in October and November.
- Archery elk hunting is general season nearly statewide and coincides with general archery deer season. The bag limit is “one elk” in many units. It opens on a Saturday in late August and runs 30 days, ending on a Sunday in late September. Some controlled archery hunts are also available.
- Muzzleloader controlled hunts are available.
- A Premium Elk Hunt is available in almost all wildlife management units. 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. Elk 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.
In 2015, ODFW offered about 60,000 controlled elk tags. 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. Explore success rates for each hunt at the Hunting Statistics and Reports page.
Don’t forget to report your elk tag after your hunt—or you will face a $25 penalty! The deadline to report (the number of days you hunted, in what unit, if you were successful, and antler points) is Jan. 31 of the following year for most hunts, or April 15 if your hunt extends into the new year. Complete a report for each elk tag you purchased — even if you didn’t hunt or weren’t successful. You can report online at www.reportmyhunt.com or call 1-866-947-ODFW (6339) to speak to a customer service representative. Hunters who don’t report deer and elk tags must pay a $25 fine to get a hunting license (for 2017 tags, the fine will apply for a 2019 license). More info