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Fall tags reduced for some Eastern Oregon deer, elk hunts


Fewer mule deer observed, likely due to disease outbreaks

 SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Tag numbers for some deer and elk hunts this fall have been reduced from the numbers shown in the 2020 Big Game Regulations due to fewer observations likely tied to disease outbreaks in Central and Eastern Oregon, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife aid Tuesday.

The reduction of a total of 3,953 buck tags and 287 antlerless deer tags affects deer hunts in Desolation, Fort Rock, Hood, Metolius, Mt Emily, Northside, Paulina, Silver Lake, Sprague, Ukiah, Walla Walla, and White River Units. A total of 670 elk tags are being reduced in Imnaha, Maury, and Zumwalt Prairie hunts (Sled Springs and Chesnimnus). See tables below for details.

The deer tag reductions are due to fewer mule deer being observed during fall surveys. ODFW wildlife biologists believe ongoing disease outbreaks in Central and Eastern Oregon are the main cause of the decline.

A large outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) was documented this year, which led to a die-off of white-tailed deer in the Walla Walla, Mt Emily and Ukiah Units and also impacted some mule deer.

In addition to EHD, an uptick of cases of adenovirus hemorrhagic disease (AHD) has been observed throughout the state. The disease is usually fatal to deer and death can occur in three to five days from the time the deer was exposed to the virus.  AHD is transmitted primarily from “nose-to-nose” contact between infected animals and usually occurs in summer through fall, particularly during drier weather that congregates deer near water.

“While not as severe as the EHD outbreak that caused a significant die-off of white-tails, we have continued to see AHD-caused mortalities of mule deer in central and south central Oregon for the last several years,” said Kevin Blakely, ODFW assistant wildlife division administrator. “Fewer mule deer were observed during population surveys in these units, so we need to reduce tags. While cutting buck tags will not result in a population increase, as populations decline fewer bucks are available, so tags need to be reduced to maintain buck ratios.”

Earlier this year, ODFW announced hunt cancellations for white-tailed deer hunts in the Walla Walla, Mt Emily and Ukiah Units due to the outbreak of EHD.

Tag numbers for some elk hunts are also being reduced, though not due to disease. While Rocky Mountain elk are doing well throughout eastern Oregon, antlerless elk tags are being reduced in the Imnaha and Chesnimnus units. The elk populations in these two units are now at or close to the population MOs (management objectives) so tags are being reduced to numbers intended to maintain populations near MO. Elk tags are also being reduced in the Maury unit, where fewer elk were in the unit the last several hunting seasons and hunter success has been very low.

The controlled hunt deadline remains May 15, 2020. Hunters who have already applied may change their hunt choices free of charge until June 1, 2020. Hunters can adjust their application through their online account (under Recreational Portfolio/Controlled Hunts; see how-to online). If you need assistance, contact ODFW Licensing at, (503) 947-6101. Note that fewer licensing staff are currently working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so please be patient when calling or emailing.

The hunts are listed in the table below.

Hunt NumberHunt Name2020 Tag Numbers
[Original]            Available
100 Series, Buck Deer 
133Sprague Unit[660]                          495
135Paulina Unit[1,430]                          990
139Metolius Unit[350]                          240
139MMetolius Unit Muzzleloader[37]                            21
139RMetolius Unit Bow[20]                            15
141AHood-White River[110]                            83
141BWhite River Unit No. 1               [1,650]                      1,210
141MHood-N White River[33]                            22
142AHood Unit No. 1[660]                         495
147Northside Unit[1,100]                         880
149Ukiah Unit[1,870]                      1,485
150Desolation Unit[990]                         770
154BW Mt Emily[495]                         385
155Walla Walla Unit[245]                         218
173Wagontire Unit[212]                         138
175Interstate Unit[1,526]                     1,308
176Silver Lake Unit[1,980]                     1,540
177Fort Rock Unit[2,750]                     1,870
600 Series, Antlerless Deer 
649AN Ukiah[75]                 No Tags
649BW Blue Mtns[120]                           60
654ARawhide[44]                 No Tags
655AOrchards[20]                 No Tags
655B1Walla Walla No. 1[44]                 No Tags
655B2Walla Walla No. 2[44]                 No Tags
Hunt NumberHunt Name2020 Tag Numbers
[Original]            Available
200 Series, Elk 
236AMaury-Hampton Butte[40]                            10
236XMaury Unit No. 1[55]                           28
236YMaury Unit No. 2[54]                           27
236RMaury Unit Bow[110]                           66
258A1Zumwalt No. 1[110]                           60
258A2Zumwalt No. 2[110]                           60
258A3Zumwalt No. 3[110]                           60
258A4Zumwalt No. 4[110]                           60
258A5Zumwalt No. 5[110]                           60
258A6Zumwalt No. 6[110]                           60
258A7Zumwalt No. 7[110]                           60
261Imnaha Unit[275]                           83


Licensing questions:(503) 947-6101,
Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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