Update On Hunts For Columbian Whitetails


Published: December - 2005

The Columbian whitetail deer at one point could be found as far north as Olympia, Washington, and south to Roseburg, Oregon. But the small deer with the long tail became less common in the early 1900s, as farmers filled their larders and agriculture displaced habitat. In the 1960s, the deer was placed on the Oregon Endangered Species List, and in the 1970s, it was listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. At the time, biologists estimated that fewer than 1,000 Columbian whitetails remained. Now, three decades later, there are approximately 800 Columbian whitetails living along the lower Columbia River and a thriving population of about 6,200 in southern Oregon's Douglas County.

This comeback has led to the species being de-listed, which has allowed the state of Oregon to hold the first Columbian whitetail deer hunt in more than 30 years. The 2005 hunt was an experimental venture, and rumor quickly had it that "excessive" landowner permits would cause an overharvest and suspension of the hunt for 2006. Well, the results are in, and things couldn't look better for the Columbian whitetail and the hunters who would like to add this special species to their trophy rooms.

Overall success among hunters who pursued Columbian whitetails this year was about 57 percent. There was a total of 133 hunt tags issued for Columbian whitetail deer in the Umqua Basin of Douglas County. Of those permits, 23 were issued as controlled hunt tags. The rest were issued directly to landowners in the Umqua area, who either used the tags themselves or worked with an outfitter. Hunters who received a tag had the option of taking a blacktail deer instead, and a number of them decided to do that. There was also a few who simply did not go afield. That brought the number of hunters who stuck to hunting Columbian whitetails to a total of 107, of which 61 successfully harvested a buck.

This subspecies of whitetail is small when compared to its Rocky Mountain cousins. An adult buck will tip the scales between 115 and 150.........(continued)

 
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