Eastern Oregon Elk Hunting

Eastern Oregon provides some of the best opportunity's to bag a branched bull in the state. Western Oregon has a large population of big bulls but, wet weather, thick brush and limited access makes hunting these elk some what unpleasant. Compared to the wide open canyons of the Owhyee , Fossil, Malheur units, some would even say no thanks!
 Elk numbers are below management objectives in all three units with bull ratios below management objectives in the Ochoco and Grizzly units. However, elk are in good body condition and are fairly scattered throughout the units. The Maury and Ochoco units offer the best opportunities for bagging an animal on public land, while the Grizzly unit is mostly private land where access can be difficult. Ochoco unit rifle hunters are reminded the Rager and South Boundary TMA motorized vehicle restrictions will be in effect. Maps of those areas are available on site and from ODFW and Ochoco National Forest offices. Elk tag numbers were decreased in the Ochoco and Grizzly units as a result of low population estimates and lower bull ratios.

 E Beulah is an elk de-emphasis zone. Tag numbers are high with numerous long seasons to keep the elk population under control. Success rates are poor without access to private lands. Whitehorse and Owyhee units are part of the High Desert hunt area. Whitehorse unit has very few elk. An increasing number of elk have been observed in the northwestern portion of the Owhyee unit. These elk are often observed in large groups and very nomadic. which makes them difficult to locate consistently.

Elk populations remain at or above management objectives and bull ratios are similar to previous years with good numbers of adult bulls available. Both the Silvies and Malheur River units offer good hunting for elk. Habitat conditions are generally good, but more abundant water sources this year could disperse game populations. The Egley Complex fire in 2006, which burned approximately 140,000 acres in the Silvies Unit, is generally recovering and providing good early growth for both elk and deer. Travel in the burned area is still restricted however, and hunters should contact the Emigrant Creek Ranger District for a current road closure map.

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