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Deschutes National Forest begins winter wildlife area closures on Dec. 1


BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Four winter wildlife area closures will take effect across the Deschutes National Forest on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to protect winter range for deer and elk.

The four wildlife closures include Cabin/Silver Lake, Metolius Winter Range, Opine Travel Management Area and Tumalo Winter Range.

Motorized vehicles (including snowmobiles and electric bicycles) are prohibited in the closure areas to protect deer and elk during the winter. The winter wildlife closures will be lifted on March 31, 2021.

To see maps of the closure areas, the public can go to the following links:

Winter range is habitat deer and elk migrate to in order to find more favorable living conditions during the winter.  Winter range is found predominantly in lower elevations of central Oregon and is extremely important to elk and mule deer survival. 

Winter ranges usually have minimal amounts of snow cover and provide vegetation for forage, hiding cover, and protection from the weather.  In Oregon, elk and mule deer migrate, often long distances, to lower elevations to escape or minimize exposure to snow cover.  

The public can learn more about the importance of winter range by going here:

The public is reminded to be cautious when driving on all forest roads in the winter months. Not all impassable roads are gated. Roads blocked by snow or water should be considered impassable.

Weather and road conditions can change rapidly.  Even if going on a short journey into the national forest, people should always bring extra clothing, food, water, blankets, first aid kit, shovel, tire chains and let others know their destination and expected day/time of return.

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