BEND, OR -- Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking input on the latest draft of its mule deer management plan. The first such update since 2003.
“The boundaries for wildlife management units are really more social and political. They don't really align with actual mule deer behavior,” ODFW spokesperson Michelle Dennehy says there is a shift in how the agency counts the species, moving to 22 separate herd ranges, from an overall management unit, “What that means for hunters is the deer that's counted on winter range is going to be the deer that you're hunting on summer or fall range. It's going to be all, be part of the same herd range.”
The plan identifies several factors causing a declining population. “Habitat degradation. Connectivity is a big issue because mule deer tend to take the same migration route every year. Predation, parasites and disease nutrition. All those topics,” Dennehy says, adding they’re getting good feedback on the hot-button issue for hunters, landowners, and others, “Generally, it was really positive about, you know, all our efforts for the plan, the comments more were related to, you know, ‘how can we help you reach the goals in this plan?’.”
ODFW hosts a public meeting in Bend tonight to take more public comment on the proposal at Embark on 2843 NW Lolo Drive, starting at 6:30.
You can also check out the plan and submit comments on the ODFW website.
The new policy could go to Oregon's Fish and Wildlife commission for approval as early as April.
Photo: ODFW Staff Radio Collaring A Doe