Metolius Mule Deer Buck Action Plan
Submitted by Sergeant David Pond
Oregon State Police – Bend
Fish & Wildlife Division
The Metolius Mule Deer Buck Action Plan is a cooperative effort action plan between the
Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. The plan provides
protection to the Metolius mule deer buck populations from unlawful take and
apprehends those that commit an unlawful take. The goal of this plan is to increase the
Metolius deer population and increase the buck to doe ratio to management objectives.
HISTORY & CONCERN:
The Metolius Wildlife Management Unit is 65% public lands that is primarily bordered
by the Pacific Crest Trail to the west, to State Route 242 and State Route 126 to the
south, US 97 to the Deschutes River to the East, and the southern boundary of the Warm
Springs Reservation to the North.
The Pacific Crest Trail is the dividing boundary between Western Oregon and Eastern
Oregon Wildlife Management Units – WMU.
The Metolius Unit has historically had a problem with subjects possessing a Western
Oregon Rifle Buck Tag venturing into the Metolius Unit after the Controlled Buck season
has closed. Those subjects may also be carrying Bear Tags or Cascade Elk Tags and be
hunting lawfully for those species. Past action plans and Wildlife Enforcement Decoy –
Buck operations have shown that subjects will unlawfully take the WED due to having a
“deer tag.” The Coast and Cascade seasons generally run from October through the first
week of November.
New concerns to the Metolius Unit:
During the 2008 High Cascade Rifle Buck season which took place September 13th – 21st
it was noted that several camps appeared to have high success rates with mule deer mixed
into the take. Troopers from the Springfield office reported that they contacted and
issued citations to subjects hunting without valid tags during the High Cascade Rifle
Buck Season. Some subjects advised that they had been in the Metolius Unit as well.
During the late archery seasons on the west side of the cascades (McKenzie and Santiam
units) which run from Mid-November to Mid December subjects from central Oregon or
the Willamette Valley are contacted in the Metolius Unit with archery equipment and a
general season archery tag valid for the adjoining McKenzie and Santiam units. During
November there are controlled archery hunts for both bucks and antler less deer making it
easier for a non-valid tag holder to blend in. The controlled Metolius archery deer tag
numbers are very few (20 for any deer, and 28 for antler less) with hunters applying for
10-13 years before drawing the any deer tag. The any deer tag is essentially a trophy
hunt opportunity. Subjects were also contacted at or near trailheads that lead toward the
Pacific Crest Trail from the Metolius Unit who advise they were accessing the west side
units from these locations. The subjects contacted lacked the gear, equipment, or time
necessary in most cases to make the hike to an area legal for them to hunt. Both biologist
and troopers find it highly unlikely that those encountered would hike that distance
before legally hunting.
ODFW – Metolius WMU Statistics: Management Objective is 25 bucks per 100 does.
Year Population Level Buck to Doe Ratio Tag Numbers
2009 n/a 19 n/a
2008 4600 23 550
2007 4300 27 550
2006 2300 27 550
2005 3700 12 550
2004 3700 20 889
2003 4500 18 1333
2002 4300 17 1319
2001 5300 17 1222
2000 5600 20 1531
In consultation with ODFW biologist there is no biological reason for not meeting
management objects other than illegal take. Their have been relatively no new
developments or destruction of habitat to the Metolius Unit. Within the last few years,
forest fires have burned and created a more diverse and desirable habitat.
OSP Enforcement Statistics – Metolius WMU:
Year Description Hours Contacts NIC Illegal Take Compliance
2008 Mule Deer 333 87 46 4 47%
2008 Mule Deer Rifle 16 16 2 0 88%
2008 Mule Deer Archery 149 35 5 6 86%
2008 Mule Deer Muzz 30 6 1 1 83%
2007 Mule Deer 331 80 18 3 78%
2007 Mule Deer Archery 30.5 26 1 0 96%
2006 Mule Deer 226 96 30 8 69%
2006 Mule Deer Archery 55 41 3 0 93%
2005 Mule Deer 398 134 28 6 79%
2005 Mule Deer Archery 43 13 0 0 100%
2004 Mule Deer 212 50 16 6 68%
2004 Mule Deer Archery 24 9 2 2 78%
2003 Mule Deer 277 87 10 6 89%
2003 Mule Deer Archery 37 8 4 1 50%
2002 Mule Deer 466 127 31 13 76%
2002 Mule Deer Archery 68 35 5 1 86%
2001 Mule Deer 357 136 36 8 74%
2001 Mule Deer Archery 62 33 3 0 91%
2000 Mule Deer 350 136 41 8 70%
2000 Mule Deer Archery 43 21 4 1 81%
OPERATIONAL AREA & TIME PERIOD:
This action plan will cover the Metolius Unit and assist with an action plan being
developed by Senior Trooper Boyd in Springfield to address issues with the High
Cascade Rifle Buck Season. The plan will start on August 29th and continue to
The primary focus areas will be west of Sisters and Green Ridge during the periods of:
September 12th – 20th High Cascade Rifle Buck Season
October 3rd – 14th Controlled Rifle Buck Season
October 17th – 23rd Cascade General Elk Season
October 24th – 30th Controlled Muzzle Loader Deer Season
November 1st – 30th Controlled Archery Deer Season
November 21st – December 13th Late General Deer Seasons
The operational plan consists of enhanced and directed enforcement in the Metolius Unit
as determined through the Cooperative Enforcement Planning meeting and subsequent
Metolius action plan meeting. Resources needed and available will be set forth in this
section. Coordinated scheduling will occur prior to each season.
High Cascade Rifle Buck Season – Troopers from Bend, Madras, and Springfield will
work cooperatively to patrol the high cascades in an effort to contact subjects hunting
outside of their unit boundary or without valid tags. An effort will be made to stay in the
field overnight near Hoodoo at Ray Benson Snow Park. WED operations maybe utilized
in known problem areas to address the above activities especially on opening weekend.
At least one planned night flight will be conducted to survey night time activity.
Controlled Rifle Buck Season – Troopers from Bend and Madras will patrol the Metolius
Unit in cooperation with ODFW personnel. WED operations will be conducted to
address the subjects hunting with western tags in the Metolius Unit. When possible
ODFW personnel will also deploy volunteers at main forest road entry sites with signage
to advise and deter potential violators. Additional assistance from a Trooper in Arlington
will be used to assist in handling calls for service near La Pine or Fox Butte TMA in an
effort to keep Bend & Madras troopers in the Metolius Unit. The Patrol Division has
agreed to provide assistance with a sergeant to assist with F&W calls for service in the
Paulina and Upper Deschutes Units. A patrol trooper will also be assigned a 4X4 vehicle
and assigned to work US 20 west and adjacent forest roads to assist in locating and
apprehending violators. Night flights will occur when possible.
General Cascade Elk Season – Troopers from Bend, Madras, and Springfield will
conduct normal patrols and efforts. ODFW will also conduct normal efforts.
Controlled Muzzle Loader Season – Troopers from Bend, Madras, and Springfield will
conduct patrols and WED operations directed at subjects hunting in the Metolius Unit
w/o valid deer tags. The general western rifle season extends to November 6th. Night
flights will occur when possible.
Controlled Archery Deer Season – Troopers from Bend and Madras will conduct patrols
of the Metolius Unit. WED operations will be conducted to address subject’s archery
hunting in the Metolius Unit without a valid tag. The WED operations will also be
conducted along known trails leading toward the Pacific Crest Trail from the Metolius
Unit to address those who claim to be hiking several miles before hunting in their legal
area. Troopers and ODFW personnel will work cooperatively to provide support and
Late General Archery Deer Season – Troopers from Bend and Madras will conduct
patrols of the Metolius Unit after the closing of controlled archery season. WED
operations will be directed at subjects hunting without a valid tag. Weather permitting
the WED may also be utilized near trailhead as mentioned above.
Bend: 1 Sergeant, 2 Troopers, and 1 pilot.
Madras: 1 Trooper, 1 Trooper after October 31st.
Arlington: 1 Trooper at varied times.
Patrol: 1 Sergeant & 1 Trooper at varied times.
Other OSP: Memorandum to NW & SW Regions for assistance.
WED buck decoys
ODFW: Personnel as available.
DATA TO BE COLLECTED:
Troopers will be responsible for collecting data in the Metolius Unit on the attached
forms and return it Sgt. Pond at the conclusion of the plan.
The data to be collected while patrolling:
- Date worked
- Hours worked
- Number of subjects contacted
- Subjects activity (game species hunting, wildlife viewing, woodcutting, etc.)
- Tags in possession
WED operation reports will provide information that will show:
- Number of operations
- Hours of operation
- Man hours of operation
- Total hunters contacted
- Total hunters in violation
- Total hunters without a valid tag
- Percentage of hunters without a valid tag, and if a tag for deer was possessed
where it was legal for.
COMPLETION DATE & EVALUATION OF PLAN:
The Metolius Deer Action Plan will be completed and an evaluation report on January