SALEM — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife won't change archery elk hunting seasons from general to controlled hunts until 2022 at the soonest.

The agency earlier this year announced it would ask the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its Sept. 11 meeting to change archery elk and deer seasons to controlled hunts starting in 2021.

The Commission will consider a proposal to change archery deer seasons to controlled hunts starting in 2021.

“The popularity of archery elk hunting in Eastern Oregon has led to significant management challenges in many wildlife management units. While these issues need to be addressed, based on hunter input received, we want to further refine proposed changes, collect additional information on archery hunter preferences around those changes, and expand involvement across all hunters,” said Nick Myatt, ODFW project lead for the review of big game regulations. “ODFW does plan on proposing changes for the 2022 eastern Oregon archery elk season, but the proposals will be taken to the Commission for consideration in 2021 at a time that does not overlap with archery season.” 

ODFW will move forward and propose the following changes to the Commission for their Sept. 11 meeting when they adopt 2021 Big Game Regulations. More information on the proposals can be found at :https://myodfw.com/articles/big-game-review and further details will be available the week before the Commission meeting at the Commission page. To comment, send an email to odfw.commission@state.or.us or register to testify at the virtual meeting via Zoom call (more information on how to register will be available the week before the meeting and the deadline to register will be Sept. 9 at 8 a.m.)

Final Department proposals for Commission consideration for 2021 regulations include:

WEST CASCADE ELK SEASON: ODFW will propose to move the West Cascade Elk Any Legal Weapon season two weeks later to improve hunt quality. The 2021 season would be Nov. 6-12, starting the day after general deer season closes. This change will also remove the seven-day break during general deer season in the Cascade Buck Area.

NEW APPROACH FOR ARCHERY DEER: ODFW will propose that all archery deer hunting be controlled in Eastern Oregon for 2021. This change from a statewide general season with unlimited tags to controlled hunting in Eastern Oregon with limits on tags is necessary due to continued mule deer population declines. Mule deer populations have declined by nearly 50 percent in the last 40 years and having no limits on archery harvest is no longer a responsible management approach. Archery deer hunting in Western Oregon will continue as a general season opportunity.

CROSSBOWS ALLOWED DURING ANY LEGAL WEAPON SEASONS: Some hunters have long advocated for Oregon to allow the use of crossbows to hunt big game. ODFW staff reviewed the use of crossbows in other states and the proposal for Oregon would only allow them during “any legal weapon" seasons for big game (when rifles, bows, handguns, and other weapons are also allowed). This proposal was not an outcome of the Big Game Review, but is a proposed change ODFW wanted to make hunters aware of.

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