BEND, OR -- Rifle deer hunting season opens Saturday. But with warm weather returning this weekend for much of the state, KBND outdoors expert Gary Lewis worries there could be conflicts between hunters and other recreators. "If you’re not a deer hunter, don’t go up where deer hunters go. I mean, I’m talking about Broken Top and Tam McCarthur Rim, and the Forest - this is just a good time to go golfing. You know, go to the pumpkin patch." Lewis acknowledges there are a lot of forest trails hikers and bikers like to explore, "And there’s a lot of year to do it in. And the hunters, they have about 12 days, and so let them have their space and their time."
He says the weather may actually help reduce conflicts because dry and sunny conditions are typically not good for deer hunting. Lewis predicts it’ll improve with cooler temps on Tuesday.
Kassidy Kern, with the Ochoco National Forest, asks hunters to take the necessary precautions to prevent starting a wildfire. "If you’re headed out this weekend for the beginning of rifle season, I hope you enjoy it, I hope you fill your tag. And, I hope you bring enough water to put out any campfires that you start."
Recent rain has reduced the overall fire danger. But Kern notes, "I also think that we shouldn’t get completely complacent. We had so many abandoned campfires this year. In fact, that was the majority of the fires that our firefighters responded to on the Ochoco National Forest this year." She tells KBND News, "We know better, and we know enough to take our bucket of water or be near a water source and start bailing water into your campfire, so that it’s cold to the touch when you leave."
Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife also reminds hunters to correctly tag fish and game this season. Nearly half of hunters and anglers in Oregon are using e-tagging instead of a paper tag. But that means your phone must be charged and with you, to present to authorities if asked. ODFW provides more tips and reminders HERE.