Deer and elk hunter success in Central Oregon has been about average in 2016, according to biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Opening weekend for buck deer rifle hunting in the Ochoco district was “a bit slower than typical years,” said Greg Jackle, biologist for the ODFW in Prineville.

At check stations in Prineville and Biggs, numbers of hunters who harvested a buck were down early in the deer season, which ran Oct. 1-12 in most of Central and Eastern Oregon.

“But folks who stuck with it and went back later did OK,” Jackle said. “We’ll have a better idea when we get hunter stats from mandatory reporting this winter. Overall, it started out slow, but those who hung out longer seemed to find deer. The weather was actually pretty favorable, with cooler temperatures and rain.”

Those conditions made for quieter stalking conditions for hunters as they searched for bucks.

In the Deschutes District, deer hunter success was mostly average, but the Metolius Unit had a 6 percent increase from last year in hunter success, according to Corey Heath, a Bend-based biologist for the ODFW. The Fort Rock and Paulina units also saw a slight increase in hunter success.

“That’s not due to an increase in deer numbers, but more due to weather conditions and hunters getting out and sticking with it in the wet and cool weather,” Heath said.

He added that hunter success was good in the Upper Deschutes Unit during the general Cascade bull elk season Oct. 15-21, which also included the Metolius and West Fort Rock units. Again, the wet, cool conditions helped hunters. But hunter success was slightly down from last year in the Metolius and West Fort Rock units.

According to Jackle, hunter success in the Ochocos for bull elk was about average during the first controlled season, Oct. 26-30. The second controlled season is ongoing and runs through Sunday.

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,