Update Aug. 7, 2008 — The Fish and Wildlife Commission has postponed consideration of the Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan until its November 2008 meeting. ODFW will continue to accept public comments on the plan through that meeting.
SALEM, Ore.—ODFW is accepting public comment on its draft Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan, the first ever comprehensive management plan for this animal in Oregon.
ODFW currently uses hunter harvest, wildlife damage reports, plus many years of survey data to manage the black-tail population in Oregon. The plan will build upon this work while outlining ways to improve data and increase understanding of black-tail habitat needs among landowners and public land managers.
The black-tailed deer is one of two subspecies of mule deer that are native to Oregon. Black-tailed deer are found from the Pacific Ocean coastline east to the forested portions along the east side of the crest of the Cascade Range. They are smaller and darker than the mule deer found east of the Cascades and prefer more forested and dense habitats.
Black-tailed deer are one of the most popular animals to hunt in Oregon. More than 72,000 people hunted black-tails during the western Oregon general rifle deer season last year.
Black-tailed deer are secretive and tend to live in dense forests, making them difficult to survey. Populations are managed based on trends in populations, buck ratios and damage reports. In 2004, the black-tailed deer population estimate for Oregon was 320,000.
Under the draft plan, ODFW proposes to develop improved population estimates for black-tailed deer over the next five years and use that data to develop management objectives. As with other species, hunter cooperation and reporting will play a key role in this effort.
Another goal of the draft plan is to increase understanding of black-tailed deer habitat among land managers and recommend actions on how to improve habitat to public and private land managers. The Department suspects that the statewide black-tailed deer population has declined since the mid-1980s, partly due to the decrease in quantity of early seral habitat (early growth) in forests. Disease and predation have also played a role.
The plan was developed with input from a 25-member public review committee that included representatives from 19 different constituent groups, six at-large members, and several department biologists. It was discussed by district wildlife biologists at annual public big game public meetings during April and May.
To comment, email ODFW.Comments@state.or.us; mail ODFW Wildlife Division, 3406 Cherry Ave NE, Salem, OR 97303 or fax 503-947-6330. ODFW needs public comments by July 20 to incorporate them into the information packet seen by Fish and Wildlife Commissioners. However, the Department will continue to accept comments through August 8 when the Commission may adopt the plan during its meeting in Salem. In-person testimony will also be welcome that day.
For more information about the plan, contact Pete Test at 503-947-6319.