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Elkhorn Wildlife Area

Guidelines for area use

Elkhorn Wildlife Area is closed to entry during the period Dec. 1 – April 10, except by permit.

Camping is allowed April 11 – Nov. 30, and may not exceed 14 days during a 30-day period.

Campfires or open burning is prohibited except at campsites. Open fires are prohibited during designated fire closures.

The use of ATVs, motorcycles, or snowmobiles is prohibited on all area lands except for administrative use or by permit.

A permit is require to remove firewood, cut trees, dig or remove artifacts or archeological specimens, minerals, sand, gravel, rock or any other material.

A permit is required to graze livestock except riding and pack animals in actual use for recreational purposes. Unauthorized livestock or pets such as dogs may be removed from the area and/or impounded at the owner’s expense.

Dogs are prohibited from running at large.

No person shall display behavior which unreasonably deters, distracts or hinders others in the peaceable enjoyment of the area.

Any person may be evicted from the area when continued presence of that person could cause a threat to the rights and safety of others or property.

No person, commercial vendor or company shall dispense or sell material, goods, or items on the area, except by permit.

Hunting and trapping

While Elkhorn is closed every year from December 1-April 10 to protect wintering deer and elk, hunters can find good earlier-season hunting opportunities on the area, which is in the Sumpter Wildlife Management Unit. Hunters can pursue big game (deer, elk, bear, cougar, ground squirrels); upland game birds (forest grouse, California quail, mourning doves, turkey); and waterfowl (ducks and geese) Furbearers commonly found on the area include bobcats, raccoons, badgers, yellow-bellied marmots, snowshoe hares, Belding’s and Columbian ground squirrels. A primitive campground adjacent to the North Powder River is available during hunting season.


Fish for redband, rainbow and Eastern brook trout on the North Powder River and Anthony Creek, which flow through Elkhorn. ODFW also stocks fish at some high lakes in the Elkhorn Mountains and in the many nearby reservoirs and small ponds, including Wolf Creek, Piltcher Creek Reservoir, Thief Valley, Phillips and ODFW-managed North Powder ponds one and two. Bull trout (a federally-listed threatened and state-listed sensitive species) are known to use the rivers on Elkhorn; remember to release these fish. Visit ODFW’s weekly recreation report online to find out the latest about fishing opportunities at Elkhorn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ODFW feed the deer and elk at Elkhorn?

ODFW uses second or third cut alfalfa and the same high-quality hay as adjacent private landowners use, to encourage elk to remain on the wildlife area. Feed is almost always purchased from local businesses in the North Powder area through a competitive bidding process.

How much does ODFW feed deer and elk per day?

That depends on the number of animals on the feed sites and the weather conditions, but the average is 10-12 pounds of hay per elk per day and three pounds of pellets or hay per deer per day. During an average winter, Elkhorn uses 650 to 700 tons of alfalfa hay and 35 tons of pellets.

Does ODFW feed all the deer and elk in the area?

No, ODFW only feeds the animals that show up at our established feed sites. This is only a small portion of the deer and elk that live in the area. The other animals use natural winter ranges.

How long does ODFW feed deer and elk?

ODFW usually begins feeding in early December and continues until the winter weather breaks in the spring, when natural forage becomes available. This generally occurs at the end of March but can sometimes happen as late as mid-April.

How many feed sites does ODFW operate?

ODFW manages 10 feed sites—four in Union County and six in Baker County. Staff make a 145-mile round trip every day during the winter months to replenish nine feed sites, often using a cat and road grader to remove snow on the feed sites.   

When do the deer and elk shed their antlers?

Deer normally begin to shed antlers the end of January and elk will start the end of February. The animals than re-grow a new set in just about four months, by August and in time for breeding season. Antlers can grow up to seven or nine points and weigh 15 pounds each.

Back to the Elkhorn Wildlife Area


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