Currently, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is in the process of updating the 2003 Mule Deer Management Plan. Topics to consider in the new management plan were solicited from ODFW staff in February 2022 and from Sports Group Leaders in March 2022. Based on the feedback we received, a draft table of contents was compiled in June. The table of contents is divided into 5 main sections including: 1) Introduction/Background, 2) Oregon Mule Deer History, 3) Mule Deer Biology and Ecology, 4) Mule Deer Management Concepts and Issues, and 5) Economic and Social Values. The department will be sharing updates on this process via the department webpage and soliciting further public input as this plan is developed.
Since the development of the previous Mule Deer Management Plan, ODFW has conducted several projects that provided new and important information about mule deer populations, habitat, and movements. Wildlife management units (WMU) were historically used as the geographic unit for mule deer population monitoring and management. Recent data from mule deer fitted with GPS radio collars from across their range in Oregon provides a more informed understanding of how populations are distributed on summer, winter, and migratory habitats across eastern Oregon. Considering this new information, the updated Plan introduces more biologically meaningful herd ranges, which replace WMUs as the monitoring unit for mule deer management in Oregon. However, WMUs will remain the principal unit for managing mule deer harvest and hunting.
Herd ranges are comprised of multiple WMUs to include summer range, winter range and migratory routes for mule deer populations. Delineation of herd ranges such that data collected for population vital rates in winter and hunter harvest reports from summer-autumn apply to the same populations is critical for developing appropriate management recommendations.