posted on September 24, 2004 00:00
Hunting forecast 2004 - High desert region
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Deer 2004 rating: C Change from 2003: Decline
Fawns suffered in last year's drought and tough winter.
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Maupin, West Biggs, White River and Hood units: Buck numbers are depressed. Look in logging sites in the Hood unit.
Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units: About the same mature bucks, but not many yearlings.
Upper Deschutes, Paulina, Metolius, North Wagontire, and North Fort Rock units: Among the best chances in the region for a buck.
Silver Lake and East Fort Rock units: About the same as last year. Check large burned areas.
South Wagontire, Juniper, Warner and West Beatys Butte units: A mild winter, but poor fawn survival.
Keno, Klamath Falls, Interstate, Sprague, and South Fort Rock units: Better fawn survival, but still below average.
Silvies, Malheur River, Juniper and Beatys Butte units: Yearling bucks in short supply but a fair carry-over of mature bucks from last year.
Steens and Trout Creek mountains: Good numbers of large bucks, but scattered across numerous watering holes.
Whitehorse, Owyhee and Beulah units: Should be decent hunting.
Elk 2004 rating: B Change from 2003: Same
Good hunting in an area most hunters might least expect it.
White River and Hood units: Good numbers of bulls in largely heavy cover.
Ochoco, Grizzly and Maury units: Decent herds in the Grizzly, but down a bit in the Maury and Ochoco units.
Upper Deschutes, Paulina, Metolius, North Wagontire and Fort Rock units: Elk herds are slowly but steadily growing in the Cascade Mountains.
Sprague, Silver Lake, Klamath, Interstate and Warner units: Scattered herds, but good access. Use binoculars.
Silvies and North Malheur River units: Again, scout for scattered small herds led by big bulls. Elk populations are best in the north half of the Steens and Wagontire units, and in the Stinkingwater Mountains south of Highway 20.
Bear and Cougar 2004 rating: C- Change from 2003: Same
Bears in the mountains, cougar across the desert. Buy both tags.
Hood and White River units: Good numbers of both, usually seen by deer and elk hunters.
Ochoco, Grizzly and Maury units: Bear are scattered throughout forested portions of the Grizzly and Ochoco units. Best hunting in northern zones of Lookout Mountain and Paulina ranger districts.
Metolius and Upper Deschutes units: Eastern parts of both have the most cougar, but black bears thicker in the west.
Lake and Klamath County units: Increased sightings and damage complaints point to more cougar.
Trout Creek Mountains, Silvies, Malheur River and Steens units: Growing cougar numbers.
Upland Game Birds 2004 rating: B+ Change from 2003: Slight increase Quail will offer the best hunting.
Wasco and Sherman counties: Chukar up in the John Day River Canyon. Pheasant counts are low, but California quail are abundant.
Crook and Jefferson counties: Nesting success was good for chukar and valley quail. Chukar scattered along the upper Crooked, Deschutes, and John Day rivers.
Deschutes County: California quail are in good shape.
Lake and Klamath counties: Excellent quail hunting in foothills. Good chukar hunting in eastern Lake County.
Harney County: Chukar and quail are up.
Malheur County: Chukar and quail are up, pheasant remain low.
Waterfowl 2004 rating: C Change from 2003: Decline
Nesting was good for local birds, but most migrants pass over this area by late November.
Wasco, Sherman and Hood counties: Goose hunting will be average in wheat fields.
Jefferson and Crook counties: Good nesting for local mallards, teal, and Canada geese.
Deschutes County: Good goose hunting before freeze up.
Klamath Basin, Summer Lake Basin and Lake Counties: Water is low and birds are concentrated.
Harney County: Access to Malheur Lake limited by low water, with walks up to a mile or more.
Snake River Valley: Good local production.