With nothing but sun, sun, sun and more sun in the forecast, Oregon wildlife officials are warning deer hunters to be prepared for large-scale land closures when the season opens in a week and a half while their compadres across the Columbia say there will be lots of fire restrictions on their hundreds of thousands of acres of land.
“We could see more restrictions and closures than usual on private forestland for rifle deer hunting season this year due to the bad fire season and dry weather,” says ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy. “Some Southern Oregon landowners noted that normal moisture content of downed wood in Western Oregon is around 30 to 40 percent. This year moisture content is below 15 percent and continued high temperatures and potential dry lighting has everyone on heightened alert.”
With rifle buck season starting two Saturdays away, Sept. 29, she’s advising hunters to track private land closures here.
In Washington, hunting seasons won’t be shut down, but access will be the question.
“There will be some hunters impacted for sure,” says Dave Ware, WDFW game division manager.
National forest managers have closed large chunks of public ground on the eastern slopes of the Cascades in Chelan County due to fires and fire danger.
It will affect deer hunters who’d hoped to head back up the Chiwawa and Entiat Rivers to the Glacier Peak Wilderness for the second weekend of High Buck season.
It’s the same basic tack that state hunting managers took in 2006 when the massive Tripod fire blew up and went to Canada in late summer — the fall rifle season wasn’t closed there, but where it burned mop-up work effectively barred access.
Ware said there would be no broad closures on WDFW’s 900,000 acres of ground, but that hunters would see “a whole lot of fire restrictions.”
National forest managers today banned campfires outside of campgrounds, high wilderness areas and a few other locations in Okanogan County.
He said a press release was due out soon.