Columbia whitetail deer were once common throughout the western valleys of both Oregon and Washington, but in 1973 the species was formally listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. That put it off limits to hunting, and it has remained that way until the present. It seems there are two separate populations of this species still in existence. One is on a string of islands in the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington; the other is in the Umpqua Basin near Roseburg, Oregon. It is the latter population that has been reopened to hunting this fall.
Opportunities will be tightly controlled, with only 10 tags offered through a public drawing. However, landowners in the area will receive tags as well, and outfitters Chuck and Chris Oeleis of DC Outfitters have secured 10 of those, along with exclusive access to about 12,000 acres of private property. Chuck Oeleis says that about 95 percent of the whitetail population is on private land in a confined area that stretches perhaps 15 x 20 miles.
As a subspecies of whitetail, the Columbia is smaller bodied and has smaller horns than its cousins. Oeleis says a 140 B & C buck is a really nice trophy, although he has seen some while scouting that would go 160. Unfortunately, the subspecies is not currently recognized by either B & C or SCI, so any trophies taken are not likely to score well. Oeleis says he plans to address that.
In the meantime, he is fully lined up to begin conducting hunts for this species in October. His trophy hunts, which target bucks that would place in the Oregon record book, cost $9,950. Regular hunts for bucks that score 120 or better........(continued)