Some public land is closed, but bow season will begin on time.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that wildfires will not delay the opening of bow season for deer on Aug. 29. Even with numerous land closings and activity restrictions, hunters can still head out to the field this upcoming Saturday.
“The archery season is starting soon and we hope bowhunters have a fun, safe, and successful experience,” said Ron Anglin, the ODFW Wildlife Division Administrator in a press release. “Because of the extreme fire danger, hunters should be aware that there are fire restrictions throughout Oregon and some local closures of public land associated with active fires and firefighting.”
With almost all private forestlands closed to public access most bowhunters, and other hunters, will be forced to pile onto public hunting lands for a chance to bag a deer on opening weekend.
Hunters are reminded that restrictions are in place: no open campfires, smoking, off-roading, or tracer ammunition are allowed.
“Anyone visiting a national forest, grassland, or BLM land should take every precaution to prevent human-caused fires,” said Patrick Lair with the Ochoco National Forest. “This includes taking care not to discharge firearms into dry duff and pine needles or driving over vegetation. Also, always maintain a fire watch for several hours if you think there could be a potential spark.”
The ODFW hopes to allow access to private lands as conditions improve and they feel it is safe to do so.
Wildfire season is nothing new to most Oregon hunters, as deer season generally begins at its peak. Public lands haven’t been closed to hunters since 1992, however, which was only a temporary closure.
If you plan to hunt in Oregon this weekend, fire information is available here.