Hunters can expect increased elk numbers in Eastern Oregon units this fall, according to ODFW reports. Archery season starts Aug. 24 and runs through Sept. 22. (ODFW photo)
Hunters prepare for the start of elk, deer seasons in Eastern Oregon
The forests in Union County are about to get a lot busier in the coming weeks. Archery season is set to start in Eastern Oregon Aug. 24 and, running through Sept. 22.
Hunters can expect an increase in elk numbers in Union County units, while deer numbers have trended down some from last year, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jim Cadwell.
In the Starkey Unit, Cadwell said the bull-to-cow ratio is up from nine bulls per 100 cows last year to 13 this year.
“That’s a substantial increase for that area,” Cadwell said.
In the Catherine Creek Unit, the bull ratio is down from 12 per 100 cows to 10 this year, but the overall numbers are up in the unit.
“The overall elk population is up from last year,” Cadwell said. “There will still be bulls available to hunters.”
The Mt. Emily Unit, which is all limited entry, has seen a bull ratio of 15 per 100 cows this year. That figure is up from 13 a year ago.
“That’s one of our trophy units,” Cadwell added.
And while the elk numbers have seen an increase for the most part, the deer population has seen a slight dip from 2012.
The Catherine Creek Unit is down from 16 bucks to 12 this year, while the Mt. Emily Unit is down from 12 to seven. But Cadwell added that the Mt. Emily Unit has seen the best fawn-survival rate of all of the units.
In the Starky Unit, the number has held steady at 16 bucks, just like last year.
Cadwell said the slight decrease in deer this year is nothing to be concerned about. The numbers vary from year to year.
The Wenaha Unit has seen an increase in buck ratios, however. Cadwell didn’t have a solid figure to give, but he said the numbers “were up quite a bit in the unit.”
With the hot weather that the area has seen over the past two months, Cadwell said it is a good idea to concentrate hunting efforts on areas of thick cover, including the north slopes of hillsides and areas close to water.
“The larger the cover patch, the more likely you are to run into (elk or deer),” Cadwell said. “Once archers start working on them, they’ll start moving.”
Cadwell said that elk hunters should be cautious of how often they use artificial calls as well. Overdoing it can hurt the opportunity to bag a trophy bull.
“If you’re using any call, (do it)very sparingly,” Cadwell said. “Elk get called a lot and they get wise. If you call too much, that bull will gather up his cows and move away from you.”
And with fire season in full swing, Cadwell said it is a good idea to keep in contact with the state forestry department to know about access points.