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Jerry Barron's Corner

UPDATED: May 5, 2022-----Oregon and Washington added
Less than a month away! If you have not signed up for the June 4th meeting, you are going to miss a very enjoyable event. Remember, it is limited to 150 attendees.

Big Game Draws -
Nevada applications are due May 10th.
Nevada requires a $155.00 license, then $10.00 application fee for each species except elk which is $15.00. They have a bonus point program that has been going on for 30 years, and they square those points. An applicant is given 5 choices, and all are valid before they go to the next application.
Nevada has great management considering the habitat, or lack of it. They offer mule deer, elk, antelope, California, and desert sheep to nonresidents.
Mule deer
As stated above, Nevada’s management is good. A look at the data shows that a good percentage of the deer are 4-point animals. They don’t allow excessive permits, so the animals grow a little older. I have only hunted deer down by Jackpot. Not a problem killing a deer there. I passed several looking for the big one.
I prefer the areas on the northern border. One negative is the feral horses and donkeys. They are everywhere. The other negative is the early season. You can’t get far enough North in Nevada to get out of the heat in August. There are plenty of pronghorns. I settled for one in the mid 70-inch size. There were probably bigger there.
As with deer antlers, the elk harvested have antlers that include a good percentage of 6-point bulls.
California sheep
Those areas are in the Northwest corner. What I have seen of the units there looked like the difficulty would be manageable, although there are some wildernesses that would not be fun. It is interesting that it is harder to draw a California ram in Nevada than a desert ram.
Desert sheep.
There are more desert sheep tags issued in Nevada than any other state. My wife Shot a ram in the Black Mountains after we rented a boat on Lake Meade. The Blacks and the Muddies across the road are excellent areas. My wife also shot an ewe close to Tonopah. Don’t asked how the draw works for me.
Oregon applications are due May 15th.
Oregon is tough. They require a $172.00 license, and the nonresidents are not allowed a very good percentage of the tags. Sheep and goats do not have a point system. The other species have a true preference point system. They don’t square the points, so if you apply long enough, you will draw. Applications are $8.00. If you desire to apply for a sheep or goat, you may as well apply for others as well.
Deer----Blacktail, mule, whitetail, even Columbia whitetail; Oregon has them all, although Oregon is noted as a trophy state.
Elk---Rocky and Roosevelt. There are a few trophy areas, but you may find yourself among a lot of spike hunter if you draw a bull tag.
Antelope---We have shot a couple of those there. Mid 70 animals. The hunting is good, but the weather is bad. These states with August hunting dates are just a bit warmer than I prefer.
Mountain goat---There are a couple of tags available to nonresidents. If a goat was on my bucket list, Oregon would be a state I would apply in.
Bighorn Sheep---California and Rocky, both are available, and good trophy specimens. I shot one the California rams several years ago down by the Idaho border. Outside of running into a few extra rattlesnakes, the hunt was fun and not too difficult. Sheep are easy to see along I-84 by John Day. But you will need to get permission or float the river to get at them.
Washington applications are due May 19th.
Washington has a bonus point system, and they square the points. Washington tries to let everybody hunt a deer or a spike elk, so you can buy tags over the counter. That results in crowded hunts with less opportunity to take an older class animal, so, Washington license sales have declined while other states have increased.
The commission is numb to predator management, and I have heard WDFW personnel say that some of their members don’t believe predators are any problem. They do acknowledge that elk numbers in the Blue Mountains have decreased. Articles are written blaming cougars. I am sure cougars are a problem and always have been. Most people have never seen one. In the Blues, we saw 5 one year including one tom that noted that I was between the elk and him and he did not like that! Targeting the cougars might make sense as it seems impossible to do anything about the wolves.
But what about the wolves? The 2022 wolf report listed 4 packs that totaled 25 wolves in packs that they counted, not counting the packs that roam back and forth between Oregon and Washington. Estimates vary, but most sources estimate a wolf kills twenty some elk each year. Let’s say 25. So, 25 time 25 is 625 elk. I suspect that number is more than conservative, considering the not counted wolves. The Blue Mountain population of elk is estimated at less than 4000 now. WDFW big game manager wants to study nutrition!
All that being said, it is time to apply in Washington. You can probably get a deer, although it probably won’t be very old. Drawing a Quality bull tag is a different story. Washington has big bulls.
Moose tag numbers look the same as last year. I am surprised that there are quite a few cow tags. I suspect you should plan to hunt longer and the per cent of success may not be as good as previous years.
Bighorn number of tags has been reduced, particularly for ewes and juvenile rams, but there are great ram tags available, so apply!
Jerry Barron

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