Deer Hunting in Oregon

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  • F
  • Unknown

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 136,000 (whitetail, mule deer, and blacktail)

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $63

    This fee includes $34.50 for hunting license and $28.50 for deer tag.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $615.50

    This fee includes $172 for hunting license and $443.50 for deer tag.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 178 2/8"

    Taken by Sterling Shaver in Wallowa County in 1982.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 6

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 189"

    Taken by Nancy Garrett in Grant County in 2007.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 1

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Big whitetails can be found in Oregon. Image by Tim Irwin

Season Dates (2021):

Historically, dates largely vary by unit and region across Oregon. But in the western zone, archery season ranges from August 28 to September 26, and the any-legal-weapon season from October 2 to November 5. Starting this season, the eastern Oregon archery season is entirely controlled hunts. Please check the state DNR’s website for details.

The Grade: D

If you’re looking to hunt Columbia blacktail deer, the Beaver State offers excellent opportunities. It has some of the best hunting on public and private land for this handsome deer species in the lower 48, and some giant ones to boot. Mule deer hunting across Oregon isn’t too shabby either, and combined these two deer subspecies account for most of Oregon’s 525,000-plus total deer population.

Due to significant outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and adenovirus hemorrhagic disease (AHD) in the summer of 2019, a new deer bag limit takes effect this season. Also, there are several antlerless deer hunt closures across the state (649A, 654A, 655A, 655B1, and 655B2). Furthermore, out-of-state deer hunters must pay about $25 more than last year. By comparison, Washington is nearly $200 cheaper for nonresident hunters, didn’t increase at all, and offers better hunting. Still, Oregon is working to simplify season dates and hunting regs. In a state where it was once easier to understand legalese than deer regs, that counts for something.

“We do not have population estimates for white-tailed deer,” said Justin Dion, assistant wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “However, we know that populations of white-tailed deer in Umatilla County are still low due to AHD outbreaks. Black-tailed deer populations appear to be stable. Mule deer populations have been on a steady decline for several years in Oregon, and in the Western U.S. as a whole.”

Finally, most of the whitetails are located in the eastern third of the state. And starting this year, all archery hunts in the eastern zone are controlled hunts, meaning anyone who goes afield must apply and be drawn.

All said, the Antler Nation project is about whitetails — and with Oregon’s whitetail population hovering at unknown levels (but certainly below 15,000), trophy potential being slim, and opportunities becoming even more limited with the draw-only hunts, it falls to an F this season.​

Antler Nation Knowledge:

The main whitetail distribution in Oregon trickles in from Washington and Idaho in the northeast corner of the state. They are particularly found in Union, Wallowa, and Umatilla counties. Although whitetail populations are relatively low, Oregon does offer numerous public-land opportunities for hunters to stretch their legs.

“The burn scars created by the 2020 wildfires have the potential to be great deer hunting areas in a few years,” Dion said. “All of Oregon’s public lands are excellent opportunities to hunt and harvest deer. We recommend any public land that allows hunters to get as far from the roads as possible. Not only will that decrease hunter density, but that is where you will find the animals.”

Also, unique to Oregon is the Columbian whitetail subspecies. These smaller-bodied deer once roamed throughout the Northwest, but now only isolated pockets exist in the Umpqua Basin near Roseburg and along the lower Columbia River. In 1967, they were first recognized as endangered and were listed under the state and federal Endangered Species Act shortly thereafter. After nearly 30 years of strict management, they were delisted and today a small huntable population exists in the Roseburg area. Only a handful of hunters will have the opportunity to experience a Columbian whitetail hunt in the coming years, but as management numbers increase, tag opportunities are sure to follow.

Don’t forget, commercial cervid attractants (urines) are now illegal to use and possess in Oregon, and August 28 is the deadline for most deer tag sales. “Hunters who are looking to hunt Oregon should know that if they have questions, they should contact ODFW either at our headquarters, or at the specific regional office where they plan to hunt,” Dion said. “We are here to help.”