The number of elk tags available for two hunts in Starkey Experimental Forest this fall will be reduced from what is currently printed in the 2021 Oregon Big Game Regulations.
Instead of 25 tags, 12 tags will be available for each of the hunts impacted: 252C (any legal weapon hunt Oct. 27-31) and 252R (bow hunt Sept. 11-19).
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) is reducing elk tags on the Starkey Experimental Forest (where the elk population is managed to meet research objectives) due to a long-term research project with the U.S Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. The research is looking at factors influencing mule deer populations, including competition with elk and predation.
Since 2017, ODFW has relocated 363 elk (311 antlerless, 52 bulls) from the Experimental Forest to the Mt Emily and Starkey units. An additional 146 elk were harvested by hunters on the forest. The population in the Experimental Forest has been reduced 80-85 percent.
The research will compare mule deer habitat use and demographics before and after the elk reduction to determine if the mule deer population responded positively to a reduction in elk densities and the degree to which competition with elk impacts mule deer. The impacts of predation and available nutrition are also being assessed as part of the study.
Hunters who have already applied for one of the hunts affected have until June 1, 2021 to change their hunt choice. Change through your online account (see directions) or at a license sale agent.