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Commission adopts Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan



November 14, 2008


Michelle Dennehy (503) 947-6022/(503) 931-2748    
Fax: (503) 947-6009

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission today adopted a Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan, Oregon’s first-ever long-term strategy to manage these deer found west of the crest of the Cascades.

“Black-tailed deer are one of the most popular big game animals to hunt, a sport that generates millions for the economy,” said Marla Rae, Commission Chair. “This plan will improve understanding of this important game animal and its habitat needs.”

Last year more than 72,000 people pursued black-tailed deer during the general rifle season. A 2003 study found that black-tailed deer hunting in Oregon generates $35-60 million in net economic benefits.

Black-tailed deer are secretive and tend to live in dense forests, making them difficult to survey. ODFW has used 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 improving both data collection methods and understanding of black-tail habitat needs among landowners and public land managers. As with other species, hunter cooperation and reporting will play a key role in management.

The Commission postponed a decision about disease testing requirements at cervid ranches until duplicate sampling procedures, gamete and embryo disease screening, and other questions can be further explored.    

The Commission was briefed on Oregon’s plan to restore and conserve threatened steelhead populations on the mid-Columbia River.

The Mid-Columbia Conservation and Recovery Plan for Steelhead provides a road map for restoring healthy populations of steelhead to the Fifteenmile, Deshchutes, John Day, Umatilla and Walla Walla subbasins.

According to Rich Carmichael, ODFW recovery planning coordinator for the Mid-Columbia, the long-term success of the plan will be measured on two levels.

“Our first goal is to restore steelhead populations so they can be delisted under the federal Endangered Species Act,” he told Commissioners. “We also have broad sense goals of where we’d like these populations to be in 2050.”

The development of the plan as well as its implementation has and will depend on the cooperation of many different state and federal agencies, tribes, local governments, private landowners, and conservation and other groups, Carmichael added.

The mid-Columbia River plan is one of four recovery plans currently being developed for salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River basin. Recovery plans are required for all species listed under ESA. The mid-Columbia plan also meets Oregon requirements under the Native Fish Conservation Plan.

According to Sue Knapp, governor’s office on natural resources, the Mid-Columbia plan will be focusing resources where there is a good chance for restoring healthy and sustainable populations of steelhead.

“The current steelhead populations in the Mid-Columbia domain are in relatively good shape,” she said. “We are starting with a stronger foundation relative to other listed species and this makes us very optimistic about the chances for success.”

The Oregon portion of the plan is available at

NOAA has combined the Oregon plan with a similar plan from Washington into a single federal plan for mid-Columbia River steelhead. Public comments on the plan will be accepted by NOAA at, which also details how to submit comments by the Dec. 23, 2008 deadline.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. Agenda item exhibits may be requested by calling the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044, or by visiting ODFW’s website.




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