Here is the weekly hunting report for selected areas in and around Central Oregon, provided by wildlife biologists for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:
OPEN: Cougar, bear, archery deer and elk, forest grouse and mountain quail (Wasco and Hood River counties only)
Don’t forget: Hunters age 17 and under must wear a fluorescent orange upper garment or hat when hunting upland game birds (except turkey) and game mammals (deer, elk, bear, cougar, pronghorn, goat, sheep, western gray squirrel) with a firearm.
PRINEVILLE/OCHOCO WILDLIFE DISTRICT
COUGAR: Are present throughout the Maury, Ochoco and Grizzly units but are more likely near deer and antelope. Deer and pronghorn have dispersed to higher elevations, and cougars will have followed. The Maury and Ochoco units are recommended because of their greater amounts of accessible public land. Remember cougars must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please consult the synopsis for all required parts and be sure to call first to make an appointment.
COYOTES: Offer an exciting challenge, and like cougars will be closely associated with deer and antelope. Hunters should scout and closely monitor movements of doe deer and antelope as the young are a key prey item, and coyotes will likely be close by. Both the Maury and Ochoco have sizeable areas of public lands that provide hunting opportunities. Hunters should use caution, be properly equipped and prepared for whatever the weather might bring.
GROUND SQUIRRELS: Are active in agricultural fields throughout Crook and Jefferson counties. Higher numbers are in Crook County on private lands along the Crooked River between Prineville and Paulina. Permission from landowners is necessary to access and hunt these lands.
ARCHERY DEER and ELK: General season runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 25. To hunt general archery mule deer in the Ochoco WMU, hunters need to have a controlled archery elk tag (used or unused 2011 tag). Likewise to hunt general season archery ELK in the Maury WMU, hunters need to have a controlled archery deer tag (used or unused for the 2011 tag). Vegetation conditions and surface water are excellent, and as a result the big game are scattered throughout the units. During the hot, dry periods, hunters may consider hunting the north face slopes (particularly on the Ochoco National Forest).
WHITE RIVER WILDLIFE AREA
COUGAR: Season is open all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Look for areas that have recent deer and elk activity. Focus your efforts along migration routes, and look for fresh tracks or kills to increase success.
COYOTE: Hunters should be looking in open areas along the eastern perimeter of the wildlife area. Open fields can provide good calling opportunities on the area.
BLACK BEAR: General season runs from Aug. 1 to Nov. 30. Bears can be found throughout WRWA, but you may have to hunt higher elevations in Mt. Hood National Forest to find more signs of them. Locate food sources and search for tracks on dirt roads and trails. Scan canyon slopes and open areas to try to spot them. Make sure that if you harvest a bear that you check them in at an ODFW office or designated collection site.
ARCHERY DEER: General season runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 25. One buck with a visible antler may be harvested in the White River Unit. Most of the larger bucks have already moved up to their summer grounds, but nice bucks can still be found. The cool wet spring and cooler than normal summer weather has produced an abundance of feed for the animals, which could help in locating feeding bucks.
ARCHERY ELK: General season runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 25. Elk inhabit much of the wildlife area. Pre-season scouting can be helpful but be careful not to scare the elk out of the areas that you plan on hunting. Local elk move around a lot, so try hunting in more than one spot. Utilize the national forest land on the wildlife area’s western border to increase your hunting area.