Increasing elk populations in Oregon

ROSEBURG – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists today announced the recent completion of annual helicopter surveys, which indicate the Roosevelt elk population is southwestern Oregon is generally healthy and increasing.

Elk counts, while sometimes subject to visibility issues, provide biologists with reliable population estimates and herd composition counts. By having an estimate of the number of cows, calves, and bulls, biologists can better manage herds for hunter harvest and population sustainability.

Each wildlife management unit, or hunting unit, has an objective ratio of bulls or calves per 100 cows. Most units in southwestern Oregon have a bull management objective of 10 bulls per 100 cows to maintain a reproductively healthy herd. Typically, herds producing 32 to 45 calves per 100 cows are maintaining or expanding population levels.

In the Douglas County area, the Dixon Unit has a good yearling calf to cow ratio.

“We can expect a good crop of spike bulls for the 2005 hunting season,” said Tod Lum, Umpqua District wildlife biologist. “The calves we see during our February counts are the one and a half-year-old spike bulls for the fall season. They’re very efficient at turning the greenery they eat into protein, and can weigh as much as 345 to 450 pounds by hunting season.”

Lum said the ratio in the Dixon Unit also should produce a good amount of bull elk for harvest in 2006.

The calf ratio has been increasing the last four years in the Umpqua drainage portion of the Indigo Unit.

“Hunters should be happy that elk numbers have steadily increased in this unit,” Lum said.

Elk numbers also are increasing in the coastal area.

“The Tioga Unit continue to produce good numbers of elk with bull ratios that provide hunters a relatively good chance at a successful hunt,” said Bill Kinyoun, assistant district wildlife biologist in the Charleston Field Office.

According to Kinyoun, the Sixes and Powers units are not as productive as the Tioga but are becoming known as units that produce large bulls. Bull ratios in the Chetco Unit are higher than recent years at 15 bulls per 100 cows.

In the Jackson and Josephine county areas, the Rogue Unit produces the most elk; however, the South Dixon and Evans Creek units are very productive as well.

“We saw good ratios of bulls in all of these units and large proportions were considered mature bulls,” said Mark Vargas, Central Point District wildlife biologist. “If weather conditions are favorable, hunters should have a successful season this fall.”

Below are the elk count results for southwestern Oregon.

ELK CENSUS RESULTS FOR SOUTHWESTERN OREGON

Unit Number: 20
Subunit Number: 2
Unit Name: South Siuslaw
Bulls: 5
Cows: 36
Calves: 4
Bulls per 100 Cows: 13.9

Unit Number: 21
Subunit Number: 2
Unit Name: S Indigo
Bulls:24
Cows:224
Calves:63
Bulls per 100 Cows: 10.7

Unit Number: 22
Subunit Number: 1
Unit Name: N Dixon
Bulls:9
Cows:54
Calves:20
Bulls per 100 Cows: 16.6

Unit Number: 22
Subunit Number: 2
Unit Name: S Dixon
Bulls:51
Cows:248
Calves: 84
Bulls per 100 cows: 20.5

Unit Number: 24
Subunit Number: 3
Unit Name: E Tioga
Bulls:26
Cows:154
Calves:70
Bulls per 100 Cows: 16.8

Unit Number: 24
Subunit Number: 4
Unit Name: W Tioga
Bulls:45
Cows:225
Calves: 73
Bulls per 100 Cows: 20

Unit Number: 25
Subunit Number:
Unit Name: N Sixes
Bulls:15
Cows:130
Calves:36
Bulls per 100 Cows: 11.5

Unit Number: 26
Subunit Number: 3
Unit Name: E Powers
Bulls:5
Cows:39
Calves:12
Bulls per 100 Cows: 12.8

Unit Number: 26
Subunit Number: 4
Unit Name: W Powers
Bulls:9
Cows:59
Calves:10
Bulls per 100 Cows: 15.3

Unit Number: 27
Subunit Number: 4
Unit Name: Chetco
Bulls:24
Cows:163
Calves:51
Bulls per 100 Cows: 15

Unit Number: 28
Subunit Number:
Unit Name: Applegate
Bulls:0
Cows:24
Calves:7
Bulls per 100 Cows: 0

Unit Number: 29
Subunit Number: 1
Unit Name: N. Evans Creek
Bulls:4
Cows:21
Calves:8
Bulls per 100 Cows: 19

Unit Number: 29
Subunit Number: 2
Unit Name: Evans Creek
Bulls:29
Cows:127
Calves:34
Bulls per 100 Cows: 23

Unit Number: 30
Subunit Number:
Unit Name: Rogue
Bulls:67
Cows:460
Calves:131
Bulls per 100 Cows: 15