Tag Archives: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Saving Big Game Hunting

Predators taking the place of big game animals

This is one of five Cougars spotted near a town, working within the same proximity of each other.

One might not find this to be a factual statement, but in reality it is becoming increasing reality.   It may not be in every state in the Union, but it surely is in on the Pacific Coast, which includes Washington, Oregon and even into California.  As for the other states in CONUS, I can’t give thoughts on the subject of predators taking a front row seat on the taking of Elk, Deer, Pronghorns and even Bighorn Sheep.

In Oregon the management of all wildlife and fish are managed by O.D.F.W. or better known as the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.   There are 7 members that are part of the commission and they are selected by the Governor of Oregon.   In my opinion for a long time, I do not feel that the Governors of Oregon since 1991 have not had much thought on the importance of  hunting, fishing, shooting or any other sport related to the outdoors in Oregon.

In 1994 in the State of Oregon voters, voted on Measure 18 on the banning of dogs for the hunting of Bears and Cougars.  43,501 votes more votes lead to the ban.  At the time the Governor was Barbara Roberts a Democrat.  A great influence of outsiders (lobbyists – protesters) from the Great State of California came and created havoc and fear into the already changing demographics of from what Oregon use to be.   Oregon use to be much like Idaho in thought and action, but Oregon has changed over the years, becoming a state that the folks from the Golden State could sell their homes and come to Oregon and buy the same home for half price and less congestion in life…

The Black Bear is not Smokey the Bear or a playful toy and the Cougar is one hungry predator that will take a deer a week.  They all might look cute as cub or kitten, but once they get bigger that is not the case.  Since there is no hunting with dogs any longer, these two predators go un-checked for the most part.  As for Wolves, it all started in Yellowstone and has escalated too many other states.  My thoughts are that Wolves hunt to kill and rarely eat the complete animal; it said the other predators will handle the remaining carcass.   Oregon has about 60 Moose (Shiras) scattered throughout the N.E. part of the state.  With the increase in Wolf population, just how long will it take for the reduction in Moose?  One other little notes about Wolves in Oregon, many have been released by so-call do-gooders that breed or breed hybrids.  Many years ago, I had a customer tell me she did… From the information I get, there are more Wolves than reported.   Such is the case in the Mt. Hood National Forest with reports of sporadic with sightings from persons that do know the difference between a wolf and a dog…

Washington State does not allow the use of dogs to hunt for Cougars or Bears also.  This came about in 2001 I believe.  Only under conditions deemed by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife can dogs be used to harvest a Cougar or Bear that are causing problems with humans or livestock.

In the State of Oregon, through my sources with the government, hired government hunters as we call them can hunt year round to reduce Cougars or Bears in troubled areas.  With the used of dogs by the public that hunt, there would be little need for government hunters.  Just think about the revenue that the state would take in, plus the amount of sales at sporting goods stores, guides would be able to guide again.   Oregon has quotes on the amount of Cougars that can be taken in zones and once it met, then the year round hunting stops.  Going onto the ODFW back pages and looking at expected quotes on Cougars, the inside reports via contacts tell a different story.

There is a large area in the 2017 ODFW Game Regulations this year on Cougars. This is the map that showing what ODFW feels is the key area. I do believe there are more areas than on the map…

LINK:  O.D.F.W. Cougar Agenda

A hunter should make contact with a Game Biologist.  In the State of Oregon, these biologist are very happy to help.  As one biologist that I have know for more than 30 years once told me “my job is to help and without hunters, I would not have a job”

ODFW has a major budget deficit and last year came up with idea of special tags big game tags, creating some cash flow revenue.   Those that got one of the special tags through a drawing might just have a chance to hunt most anywhere and with a rifle even hunt during a bow season or extended season.  Many older hunters have just given up hunting, as their old haunts just don’t have the game as it was prior to 2000.   Other than the old boys in the hunting culture, I do not believe that the younger generation has caught up with the problem of predators.

Seems all great, but we have a real problem with the big game population in this state.   I spend much of my time from April to August taking wildlife pictures and working areas at key times of the day looking for big game.   In just 4 short years many of the great haunts are void of the great bucks that I would find.  The Cougars especially have worked over the area well.  I won’t waste my time to hunt these areas anymore.  I have move into the rural areas closer to the city to find game…  The Cougars use to follow the game coming down from the mountains during the winter months.  Now with the shortage of game to eat, they are now showing up in the lower valleys in the summer months.  It may seem to those reading that I am bias, but I am not.  It is about what is more important, the chance for someone to see a Cougar, Wolf or even a Bear in the wild or preserving the big game that you can see anytime.   Once the game is gone from the area the predators with move to new feeding grounds.   It takes the depleted area a fairly long time to recover the mature bucks and bulls in the area.

Bear season Oregon is a bit different and not all year long.  The draw tag season from April 1st, to May 31st normally.   The general season opens August 1st and ends December 31st on the west side of the Cascades and November 30th on the east side of the Cascades.   So one has to glass and find bears, a bit tougher to do, than getting a do to tree a bear.  Government hunters can do whatever to get a problem area done.  Special tags are issued for timber companies to handle bears in Oregon…

I believe that anyone that is hunting in Oregon should have a Cougar tag and Bear tag on their person.  Many times hunters have run into the overabundance of Cougars in a particular area and shot a Cougar, did not have a tag.  You will be ticketed and in some cases it could have been life and dead encounter, you might or might not get out of the ticket if caught.

In Closing:  I will give a few instances for 2016 from some of hunting buddies, plus I will put out a few key areas with onXmaps HUNT map pictures for those that want to challenger their talents to find a Cougars.  Bear season is just about over, but send me and email and I can direct you to spots in the future.

 

  • 2016 Owyhee Deer Hunt: MJ and BO drew the tags for the great Owyhees in Oregon.   In the day as I remember the Owyhees, the bucks were big and plentiful, sort of a pick and choose hunt for big Mulies.   MJ and BO have private land to hunt on breaks of the Oregon/Idaho border on the Oregon side.  Having done a great deal of planning and making calls, they truly thought they had it dialed in.  The land was in prime condition for Mule deer habitat.   During their week hunt, only a few small bucks were seen, remembering they had made an early scouting trip in August 2016, with the same results.  The local ODFW biologist told them they hit at the wrong time…  Very experience hunters that in the past were used to finding big Mulies.  The hunters over on the Idaho side still have the Mulies of size, as they control the Cougars still with dogs.
  • 2011 Archery Elk/Deer Hunt: Another hunting partner from my past went to a new haunt near an old haunt.  This is an area that the government hunter has taken out more Cougars than 4 times the quota of the Cascades, which are 271.   ST has during bow season taken a Cougar and on the same day could have taken another one.  2016 he had two Cougars at 100 yards from him at this ground blind.  His 1911 could not get the job done at 100 yards in the timber. I also feel they are braver and human scent or the fact Cougars are keen on knowing, fear little.  Deer were very scarce, though the elk were in good numbers.   The Heppner Unit has been known as an elk breeding area…
  • My son this year (2106) during a rifle deer hunt near an RV Park outside of a rural town jumped two mature Cougars. He did not have a tag and knew what would happen if he had killed them.  The deer population was way down and the team only got one 2 year old deer about 2 miles from the sighting…
  • Another comment is from my buddy Mark D., who lives near Oregon City, Oregon on 90 acres. Five Cougars have been sighted during the month of August 2016 around this place.  His place is within 15 minutes of a major city.   The deer are way done on this place, as he has cameras out.  Just recently he caught sight of one decent Blacktail buck.  The elk have not been on his place for more than 6 months.
  • 2016 Pronghorn hunt for one of my onXmaps HUNT hunters. I had suggested him talk to one of the ranchers in the flat lands in the Steen’s Mountains Unit.  He was told by the rancher that the Pronghorn are scare, less than 5 years ago they were pest on the ranches and farming lands.  The big C word (Cougars) came out.  The hunters had to hunt very hard to find a good buck, not a monster.  The Steen’s Mountains of Oregon once produced the #2 B & C Pronghorn…  Those us that have hunted the Steen’s Mountains for big Mulies, which are gone now.  No longer a pick and choose style of hunting there.  The Steen’s at one time was 4X4 or better hunt…  
Let us not forget about the resilient Coyote that roams all of North American. Ever thought about asking a chicken or duck farmer to hunt the Coy Dogs that will lay in wait free roaming egg layers…

So in reality the states that have a problem with predators are the same states (metropolitan cities) that were Blue in the recent election, giving the point that we know those that are the loudest and not using their common sense for the good of all…  

Attached link for:  Predator Defense

“There is a place for predators, but they should not replace renewable resources in nature”

“The elected politicians of any state must take in account the outcome of a bad decision that they have made bowing down to a small load group of “Tree Huggers”, much like the Old Growth Spotted Owl farce”

A few photo from onXmaps HUNT IPAD Mobile Mapping:

 

The Warner Unit in Oregon, known for Pronghorn, Deer and even Elk. A key spot for removal of Cougars.
A great deal of B.L.M. in the Steen’s Mountains, near Diamond, Oregon. Elk, Deer and Pronghorn roam these hills. This area was well now for big Mulies…
This is the east slope of the Steen’s Mountains. Big Horn Sheep, Deer and Pronghorn work this area from the valley floor to 10,000 feet. Cougars have been working all of the Steen’s for a long time.
This map is of an area in the Rogue Unit in Oregon. The Cougars have worked close to Willow Lake RV Resort. The Blacktail population is down from previous years.


Frank Biggs aka Bwana Bubba