Elk NetworkOregon Releases 2023 Hunting Forecast

General | August 31, 2023

Below is a news release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 


Deer and elk populations came through a relatively “normal” winter and enjoyed excellent spring forage conditions thanks to a cold, wet spring.

Western Oregon: While most of western Oregon experienced a warmer than average summer, water conditions in the northwest part of the state have remained normal. With water available throughout the landscape, hunters can expect to find big game for widely dispersed.‌

In southwest Oregon, abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions have persisted in some areas, which could affect forage quality during the late summer and fall. However, the wildfire season has remained quiet (so far) and early season hunters may face fewer fire-related closures and restrictions.‌

Eastern Oregon: Much of eastern Oregon remains under severe drought conditions, despite a wet, cool spring. Fire conditions may be extreme and summer/fall forage conditions poor. There are some exceptions. Drought conditions are less severe, and even absent, in the Columbia and Northeast areas.‌

Check current drought conditions throughout the state.‌

Chronic Wasting Disease check stations ‌

2023 CWD check stations: Oct. 8-10 and Nov. 4-6‌‌

ELGIN Elgin Stampede Grounds, 790 S 8th Ave, 97827 (Google map coordinates)

PRINEVILLE Crook County Fair Grounds, 1280 Main St., 97754 (Google map coordinates)

CELILO PARK Exit 97 off I-84 (Google map coordinates)

Smaller check stations will also be open in some districts throughout the state, and hunters should contact their district directly for more information on potential locations.‌‌

If you encounter a CWD check station while transporting an animal carcass you are legally required to stop. ‌‌

Find out more about ODFW’s efforts to prevent and monitor the spread of CWD to Oregon.‌

If you do not encounter a check station, please contact your local ODFW office to set up an appointment to have your deer or elk tested for CWD. Additionally, hunters may deposit their deer or elk head in a drop-off container stationed at many of our ODFW offices or visit a participating taxidermist/meat processor to have CWD samples collected. Find more information on other ways to get your animal tested.

Learn more about CWD and find a link to the Online CWD Testing Results Portal. ‌

If you harvest a deer, elk, moose or caribou in any other state or Canadian province, it is illegal to bring certain parts of the animal back into Oregon. Banned parts include any central nervous system tissue of an animal, which includes the brain and spinal column. For more guidance on what parts can be brought into Oregon, please see the Parts Ban section under General Hunting Regulations (page 16) in the 2023 Big Game Hunting Regulations. ‌

Fire restrictions – Know before you go‌

While fire season is still in effect, most forests will have restrictions on activities and motorized use, and some private lands will be closed to public access. You’ll find links to fire restrictions and the latest updates for both private and public lands on MyODFW.com. Remember it’s your responsibility to know and follow any restrictions. Here are some of the common fire season restrictions:‌

  • Campfires may be either prohibited or only allowed in approved campgrounds.
  • Smoking and off-road driving (including motorcycles and ATVs) may also be prohibited in most areas.
  • You must have in your vehicle either 1) a gallon of water, or 2) a fully charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher and shovel (except when travelling on state or county roads).
  • ATVs must have a charged and operational 2½ pound fire extinguisher.

Recreating during drought

As much of Oregon continues to experience years of on-going drought, hunters, anglers and wildlife viewers can expect the continued warm, dry conditions to impact their activities. Here are some tips for hunting, fishing and viewing safely and responsibly during drought conditions.

Regulation changes for 2023‌

  • There’s a new multi-unit, controlled youth archery hunt.
  • Pronghorn hunts in the Beatys Butte Unit have changed.
  • Vehicles transporting wildlife or wildlife parts must now stop at signed inspection stations, if encountered.
  • Powers Unit has been added to the General Archery Buck Deer-Western Oregon season for traditional bow hunting only.
  • Multiple Trave Management Area (TMA) effective period dates have changed in central and northeast Oregon units.
  • Controlled hunt draw results (except spring bear) will be released on June 12.
  • Keep an eye out for other regulation changes – look for yellow highlighted text in the online regulations and booklet.

Click here for region-by-region details.

(Photo credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)