Owhyee

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
Like all of Oregon deer numbers are sad. I haven't been in there for years but a couple relatives hunted it 2 years ago and they won't be going back.

How it is depends on what you expect of it, I remember it in the 70's and 80's so as far as I'm concerned it sucks.
 

steiny

Member
Messages
31
It is pretty bleak there! Deer numbers are down and even the locals say it is tuff even seeing deer in the hay fields.
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
Anybody hunt owhyee for deer lately? How was it?
Did you draw the tag?

Go hunt it as hard as you can and enjoy the unbelievably beautiful country that is there. Glass till your eyes fall out and kill one if he makes you happy.

I only hunted it once in the early 2000s and it was tough, we saw bucks, saw a tank that someone else shot, saw one other nice buck another hunter killed and I shot a buck that was 23 or 24 inch wide older 3x3.

The assessments above are probably pretty accurate, but it is what it is if you have the tag, go for it. If you're trying to decide whether to try to draw it I would say make a trip there this year and enjoy the view while looking around, then decide for yourself.

The trip is worth the gas and price of a camping trip, if you have a family that enjoys the outdoors they will love it, mine did and kept insisting we go back, so we did 2 years ago just to see the country and nobody wads disappointed.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
It's a lot worse now than it was 15-20 years ago. but I agree if you have a tag go for it. at least you'll know where not to go when you're done.
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
It's a lot worse now than it was 15-20 years ago. but I agree if you have a tag go for it. at least you'll know where not to go when you're done.
Oh I believe you.

But besides some folks deciding not to go based on responses from folks here who know a lot about the unit, I feel like when a person goes in with a super low expectation nearing on hopeless, they will sometimes feel lucky to spot that fork/spike and better just kill as they won't have another chance.

They may not get another chance but some positivity can't hurt...
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
True, the best way to achieve your goals is to lower your standards.
Like any hunt there's a .00001 chance you could walk into a booner behind camp. but realistically you're going to be disappointed. if you're going to be there the second weekend take your shotgun and your dog if you have one. in the right places the chukar hunting can be good and they'll be dumb early in the season.
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
No, no you're right, one should sit at home and collect points and bury oneself in a whiskey bottle, sniveling about days gone by. When you drive to the local liquor store for a new bottle you obviously stand a .00002% chance of running over a booner. It won't be disappointing at all....until you wake up with a hangover in jail and realize you don't even get to eat your backstraps.

Bring protection, butt darts in jail is big fun....
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
To the OP.

If you have the tag go hunt it. Spend all the time you can afford to. Scout it if you can, take the family, it is beautiful there.

Remember, one or two weekend scouting trips can be very enlightening or very discouraging. Don't let it bring you down. In my experienceit is difficult to get an accurate pattern on October bucks in August.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
The attitude that chitty is good enough for me is why it's chitty. you set the bar so low for ODFW here's no incentive to do better.

If you're a kid who's toio young or a carpetbagger who's moved into the state you can't be blamed for being ignorant to what kind of hunting we had and could have. your pep talks and lectures are what ODFW is counting on to make their life easy . our deer hunting sucks, period.
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
What are you doing about it?

Did you quit applying in Oregon?

I will answer both for you.

Nothing and No.

So YOU'RE gonna show by telling someone else not to hunt and another someone else not to encourage the first someone else to hunt the tag if he has it....got it.

Please hold your breath while you pound your fist...that'll show me.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
The only thing that can be done about it is to first get hunters to admit there's a problem and then unite them in demanding change. people like you are part the problem not the solution, if you might get a forkie then that's a great hunt ! take lots of pictures ! who could ask for more !!!!

I NEVER said don't hunt. I didn't say don't encourage someone to hunt. YOU called me a whiner for saying the deer numbers suck and we should demand a different approach from ODFW.

Obviously you weren't here when the hunting was good or you wouldn't sound so ignorant. I'm an eastern OR native getting close to 60 , have you ever hunted in a camp of 23 hunters tagged out opening weekend with nothing smaller than a 4x4 ? I have. I'm not delusional I know it'll never be that good again. but when I go back to the same camp 40 years later with 1 of 10 late season tags in November and only see a half dozen 3 year old bucks in a week I don't need some know nothing pilgrim from California , Portland wherever you're from telling me to suck it up and make lemonade out of train wreck.

I'm lucky because I have the resources to hunt out of state and in Canada where there are still deer, but it still really hurts to see what's happened to my favorite places to hunt in my back yard. as they say you had to be there.
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
The only thing that can be done about it is to first get hunters to admit there's a problem and then unite them in demanding change. people like you are part the problem not the solution, if you might get a forkie then that's a great hunt ! take lots of pictures ! who could ask for more !!!!

I NEVER said don't hunt. I didn't say don't encourage someone to hunt. YOU called me a whiner for saying the deer numbers suck and we should demand a different approach from ODFW.

Obviously you weren't here when the hunting was good or you wouldn't sound so ignorant. I'm an eastern OR native getting close to 60 , have you ever hunted in a camp of 23 hunters tagged out opening weekend with nothing smaller than a 4x4 ? I have. I'm not delusional I know it'll never be that good again. but when I go back to the same camp 40 years later with 1 of 10 late season tags in November and only see a half dozen 3 year old bucks in a week I don't need some know nothing pilgrim from California , Portland wherever you're from telling me to suck it up and make lemonade out of train wreck.

I'm lucky because I have the resources to hunt out of state and in Canada where there are still deer, but it still really hurts to see what's happened to my favorite places to hunt in my back yard. as they say you had to be there.
Show me where I said to shoot a forkie....put down that bottle.

I never said your assessment was wrong in fact I implied you would know better than me.

I think every hunter I have talked to I'm the last 25 years has said the deer hunting in oregon is nowhere close to what it should or could be, not to mention what it was. I agree 100 percent. So I think everyone is on the same page on that so why not start a club to unite all of us. Let's make a change.

I'm only 52 so you got me there. Not a resident let alone native so yup, got me there too. But I didn't tell you how or what to do with YOUR situation, suck it up or otherwise.

You have the resources and ability to go elsewhere so you do, congrats. Maybe the OP doesn't. And yiu still apply and hunt in Oregon, right??
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
Yes I do still apply in OR. and I've killed one buck in the last 20 years because I won't shoot a dink.

You didn't need to say you were clueless that was obvious. my comments to the OP were spot on, there's a fine line between a pessimist and a realist. the reality is deer numbers are very low, if the hatch is good chukar numbers can be high. there is the lemonade you were trying to fabricate.

There is already a group that needs to address the situation in a serious matter, OHA. they are basically like you, pretend it's great and pay your dues on time. don't rock the boat. deer season has become an armed camping trip and very few expect anything more and the majority are just fine with that. just like they're fine with putting out 3800 tags in a unit that's below objective.

Some of he problems facing mule deer are hard to fix , others aren't . he first thing you do if a unit is below objective is STOP KILLING THEM ! no more tags. some morons say hunting isn't the problem, true it's not the only problem. but it's the one we have the most control over. then we look at predation and traffic deaths those are then two that are harder to solve.

But we won't stop killing them because the average hunter is too selfish and short sighted. and ODFW is counting on him to hold the status quo.
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
Reading comprehension is not your strong suit, eh?

Sounds like you need to take over OHA, I will vote for you. I agree with 99% of what you say, until you get to the part where you tell someone who has a tag not to hunt.

Practice what you preach, as a resident you could pick one of the low point units that you deem to be in the most trouble buy your tag and cut it up. You probably know a bunch more like minded folks who will do the same. You could save a unit.

Your problem is even when someone agrees with your facts you can't help yourself, you have to be a prick. Oh and reading comprehension.
 

2lumpy

Long Time Member
Messages
5,871
Yes I do still apply in OR. and I've killed one buck in the last 20 years because I won't shoot a dink.

You didn't need to say you were clueless that was obvious. my comments to the OP were spot on, there's a fine line between a pessimist and a realist. the reality is deer numbers are very low, if the hatch is good chukar numbers can be high. there is the lemonade you were trying to fabricate.

There is already a group that needs to address the situation in a serious matter, OHA. they are basically like you, pretend it's great and pay your dues on time. don't rock the boat. deer season has become an armed camping trip and very few expect anything more and the majority are just fine with that. just like they're fine with putting out 3800 tags in a unit that's below objective.

Some of he problems facing mule deer are hard to fix , others aren't . he first thing you do if a unit is below objective is STOP KILLING THEM ! no more tags. some morons say hunting isn't the problem, true it's not the only problem. but it's the one we have the most control over. then we look at predation and traffic deaths those are then two that are harder to solve.

But we won't stop killing them because the average hunter is too selfish and short sighted. and ODFW is counting on him to hold the status quo.
Pretty sure you and I will always disagree about many things but you’ve taken the words regarding mule deer straight out of my throat. Whatever else you are Tog, you’re absolutely dead center on, on this issue.

Course, your knowledge, opinion, understanding and $1.07 will buy you a Diet Coke at McDonalds and not one thing more.

Enjoy your DCoke, I’ll buy.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
My friend and hunting partner founded OHA in the 80's and my dad and I were among the first members. he was pushed out by a group that organized against him within a few years and OHA has become a yes man for ODFW ever since. but they're just like the NRA , they suck but they have too big of grip to be challenged by another organization.

WTF difference does it make if I cut the tag up or hunt and eat it in tag soup afterwards? I've actually saved deer while hunting, I take my revolver and chase those dinks away from the road going to and from my spots so lazy azz road hunters don't whack them. done it many times my whole life. so GFYS I don't need your uninformed unintelligent lectures.

Lumpy , we agree on more than you think. but too many people let small differences overshadow the big picture. if you could accept a Reagan republican as a conservative we'd be on the same page and agree on much.

And you're right, being right means nothing when nobody wants to hear what you're saying or do anything about it.
 

ricochet

Active Member
Messages
252
I wish it was as easy as just stopping hunting in any unit below MO but that would effectively be a "Defund the ODFW" movement and we've seen how well the "defund" idea has worked in other segments of society. I personally believe, as a former wildlife biology student at OSU, that if you left the bios alone to do their jobs, things would be fine, but the ODFW has become a political entity, kissing up to the legislature, which in turn panders to city folks who don't know a cougar from a cocktail wiener. In my opinion, and I've spent most of November in the Steens unit for the last thirty years, it's not a coincidence that the serious downfall of our mule deer herds started right after the bunny-huggers in Portland outlawed using hounds to hunt cougars and bears. Predation is a big problem and nearly every time the ODFW tries to deal with it, the environmental (anti-hunting) groups get their tie-dyed panties in a bunch and scream bloody murder (literally). So it's back to the drawing board for the ODFW. We also need to remember that the Game Commission makes the final decision on tag numbers, it's not the ODFW. The ODFW makes recommendations and the commission does what it wants with them. Commission members are appointed by the governor so, once again, it matters who you vote for. The issues are complex and the solutions won't be easy or simple.
But there's still a few good ones out there.

_AAW2189-Edit.jpg
 

scoutdog5

New Member
Messages
2
Richochet, my responses to your points, in no particular order.

1. For the most part, I agree with you about local biologists. I have certainly known local biologists who consistently recommended lowering tag numbers, and were consistently shot down by Salem. I have also known a couple of local biologists who parroted the company line put out by salem, and claimed that hunting had no impact on populations. I don't know what they believed, only what they said.

2. You are dead wrong about everything being hunky dory til Measure 18 passed. Best estimates, there were 600,000 mule deer in Oregon. The official population estimate in 1990 was 300,000. That is 4 years before measure 18 passed. Measure 18 is certainly a factor, but not the only factor, and in some cases not the primary factor in declining populations.

3. I attended every tag setting commission meeting between 2008 and 2017. I testified at most of them, and made presentations for change at some of them. Not one time in that 10 year period did the commission change tag recommendations they got from upper management. They rarely even talked about them. The issuing of too many tags for mule deer is 100% on upper level management in the wildlife division.

4. The money. What a crock. I have made at least 6 proposals over the past few years that would solve this problem and get the department out of relying on selling too many tags to cover the budget. The current premier tag program was taken from one of my proposals, which would have raised huge amounts of money, preference point fees, high tag fees, non-resident tag fees that were extremely high if they drew. ODFW managers kept the idea, but took all the money out of it. What you ended up with was a program that raised no money, but added to the decline of mule deer populations.

The biggest problem with the budget is they give away hundreds of thousands of preference points for free. Now, before you bring up the 8.00, that is an administrative fee that is used to cover the costs of the draw. In 2009, the former director held meetings all over the state about fee increases and stated multiple times that the fee needed to be raised from 4.50 to 8.00 to cover the cost of running the controlled hunt system.

Another proposal I made was to tie the cost of the tag to the number of points it took to draw. Assume the deer tag costs 30 bucks. That is the fee if the hunt takes 0 to 4 points to draw. At 5 to 8 points to draw, it goes to 60 bucks. Nine points and above, 120 bucks. The big advantage to this is that it incentivizes the department to improve the quality of the deer population. I would have also applied that to elk. It is ludicrous that a second choice spike tag in wenaha costs exactly the same as a Wenaha any bull tag.

And then there is the non-resident piece. Most states in the west primarily fund their departments on the backs of non-residents. Not Oregon. I made multiple proposals that would have increased non-resident tag, and dramatically increased revenue, but none were ever considered.

Now it is too late. Populations have declined to the point that you could certainly make the case that most units aren't worth the 30 bucks a buck tag costs, let alone preference point fees, higher fees for units hard to draw, etc. Nothing short of a complete ban on hunting has any chance to increase populations, and I believe there are a number of places in Oregon where that would not even matter.

Scoutdog
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
Mule deer populations in OR are abysmal, no doubt. As they are in most of the states they reside.

Togs posts are very accurate on the state of mule deer and I have said before I agree with 99% of his assessment of the unit and the state of mule deer throughout OR.

My only point was that if the OP has a tag he's probably going to hunt it so might as well convey some highlights of the experience. Mine were the beauty of the unit and the slim chance a manay get lucky. Togs highlight was chuckars, I agree there are plenty some years.

I NEVER suggested lowering his standards or do I ever condone shooting a dink. I never have understood shooting something based on the have to bring something home mentality. My family and I have eaten many more tags while passing bucks than we ever have filled with dinks.

I would add to the OP although it's your tag and you're gonna do with it what you want, I would suggest shooting only a mature deer or no deer if you aren't going to be pleased with the best one you find. If you don't have the tag, don't apply for it, but do go look at the country there it's amazing. Bird hunt while you're there and watch out for rattlesnakes there are a ton of them.

I apologize for being the major reason this thread got off track and will even apologize to Tog, he's said nothing wrong here.
 

eelgrass

Long Time Member
Messages
29,665
We stopped at a ranch outside Jordon Valley, OR one year to ask about the road conditions going into Idaho. We told the rancher we had deer tags for Idaho. He said f... Idaho. Just go down to the river on my property and kill a couple bucks. I told him no thanks, I'm not Claude Dallas.
 

Jeremy2019

Member
Messages
45
My buddy's nephew has the premium tag I told him to go kill one in mid August before they shed but I think they want to wait for Nov. I've spent many days out there chasing deer with my bow but never spent anytime there after that. It's sad what the unit has become but no different than anywhere else in Oregon we're outnumbered unfortunately and judging the direction we keep going politically it's only going to get worse.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
Go in November and you'll see something worth shooting. it sucks buy they're not all gone.

Measure 18 was a HUGE blow to deer numbers. we were just coming off a few bad winters about the time it passed and numbers were down some but way way way better than today. predation is the #1 cause id deer number decline no question whatsoever. even the biologists know this they're just supposed to deny it since ODFW does have the ability to take action , they just don't want to. they've told me so.

Stopping hunting in units under objective ( all ) is the easiest and most sensible thing to start with. yes it would partially defund ODFW, who cares. the fees that would be collected for elk tags and other revenue would fund law enforcement and that's all we're getting for our money anyway. ALL we're getting.

This isn't complicated unless you want it to be. kill predators, don't kill deer . I 100% guarantee numbers will come up to objective in a few years in most units. in the ones that don't keep them closed. or we can just pretend it's all ok and getting a dink every decade is what hunting is all about. ODFW thanks you for your low expectations it makes their job of doing nothing even easier.

never forget the words of Homer J Simpson they're the ODFW motto, " It's okay not to try, trying is the first step to failure " .

As for the OP, yes go hunt it's never hopeless.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,833
We has a lot of cool wet weather during the nesting season so I'm not sure what to expect. unlike deer chukar numbers fluctuate wildly so it can be boom or bust. I expect an average year this year but I don't have anything to base that on besides comparison to like years.

You can find birds most places there's a little topography and water. no creek or a spring no birds.
 

NPHunter

Active Member
Messages
150
reguardless of what anyone says yes im going to hunt it and see what i can turn up i will let you guys know how it goes!

There are bucks to be had, don’t be discouraged, if your familiar with turning up bucks in the desert you should do well. If your not familiar buy Dewight Schuhs book “Hunting open country mule deer”.

There are still plenty of good bucks on the landscape in every unit, don’t overlook the spots you might not think there are deer. Make sure you are sitting behind glass when it’s still too dark to see and again until it’s too late to see. If you get rain cover as much ground as you can with your glass, move and do it again.

Good Luck!!
 

backcountry55

Member
Messages
13
There are bucks to be had, don’t be discouraged, if your familiar with turning up bucks in the desert you should do well. If your not familiar buy Dewight Schuhs book “Hunting open country mule deer”.

There are still plenty of good bucks on the landscape in every unit, don’t overlook the spots you might not think there are deer. Make sure you are sitting behind glass when it’s still too dark to see and again until it’s too late to see. If you get rain cover as much ground as you can with your glass, move and do it again.

Good Luck!!
thanks for the positve feed back!!!! good luck to you this year as well!
 

NPHunter

Active Member
Messages
150
Define plenty....

Define good....
Enough to see one or two every hunt with enough effort, Good IMO is an older mature deer, some are 160" some 190" depending on the year and genetics. I'm watching about 6 older 4.5yr+ deer right now for my son's hunt, the smaller of them are 150ish and the largest is a deep forked 4 point with stickers. I have his sheds from 2020 and he was a 165" 4x4 with 13" deep fronts and 12" backs, he is much much larger two years later.

I'll post some pictures of several bucks to follow, some are on public, some on private, all within the last few years in about 10 different units from the Nevada border to the Wallowa.

This is one of the larger bucks we found last fall with the drought, this year most of the bucks are bigger, not nearly as heavy but higher scoring. He should kill a bigger one this fall. I would imagine most people would be happy with any of the bucks below, some score better than others but almost all of them are mature deer.

Gavin's buck 2 .JPG
 
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NPHunter

Active Member
Messages
150
badass man!!! thanks for sharing those awesome pics!!!
Your welcome, those are just ones I’ve gotten pics of which amounts to just a small percentage of ones I’ve seen. Good luck on your hunt, we see big bucks in every unit we are in, right now is the best time to find them. They will still be in the same areas in Oct. for the most part, just harder to find and most likely brushed up shortly after daylight.
I see more 140-160” buck a year than I can keep track of, with the last few mild winters this will be a good year and is a great year for antler growth!
 

NPHunter

Active Member
Messages
150
Are those bucks on private or public?
11 of those pictures are public, 13 are private. Some of the bigger ones are on public. A couple are Southern Oregon bucks but most are NE Oregon bucks. I see more bigger bucks on public but have the opportunity to take pictures of more bucks on private since it's more open and I'm typically in a vehicle where I have a spotter and camera.
 

backcountry55

Member
Messages
13
Thanks everyone for the replies. We hunted hard and gave it our all! Full moon and 80 degree temps made it tough, but the wife was able to take one down on public land. Yes, she may have shot a point off somewhere between 530-725 yards. 😄 Deer on the run are hard to hit, but she got the job done. Here are a few pics from our hunt.
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2lumpy

Long Time Member
Messages
5,871
Then a woman points a gun at something and pulls the trigger………. they generally make a hole in it. Remember that!

Congratulations on a nice buck!!
 

huntindad4

Very Active Member
Messages
2,272
Awesome!

Great job on the hunt and thanks for reporting back.

Beautiful country up there, isn't it? Great pics!
 

eelgrass

Long Time Member
Messages
29,665
Congratulations on the buck. The one thing I'll always remember about that country is the spectacular sunsets. It looks like they're still there.
 
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