Light harvest marks opening weekend of deer season

Opening weekend of the black-tailed buck rifle season came and went in typical fashion, with warm and sunny skies casting a pall over buck-shooters' success in the woods.

Successful deer hunters were widely scattered around the Rogue Valley on Saturday and Sunday, but reports found scant numbers of hunters tagging bucks.

"The harvest was pretty slow," says wildlife biologist Steve Niemela from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Central Point office. "The weather certainly didn't cooperate."

Cameras set on key deer-migration routes have shown little movement of late among Southern Oregon's migratory blacktail herds.

By mid-week, a cold front had descended upon Southern Oregon, bringing with it cooler temperatures and cloudier days but only a slight chance of rain by Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

If the old adage is true, and "what's bad for sunbathers is good for hunting," the woods could become more conducive to buck hunting during this first leg of the two-part general season.

"We'll see how it goes," Niemela says. "Now that we have a cold front, it will improve things."

The general deer season for rifle hunters is Jackson County's most popular hunting season, with anywhere from one in four to one in five hunters bagging a buck in the process.

Green Dot closure in forest starts Wednesday

The annual Green Dot road closure goes into effect Wednesday in parts of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in preparation for the general Roosevelt bull elk hunting season, which starts Saturday, Oct. 16.

Now in its 25th year, the temporary road closures are designed to improve the quality of the general-season rifle hunt by reducing the number of vehicles in the heavily-roaded forest areas, as well as improving bull escapement, minimizing wildlife harassment and protecting area habitat.

Vehicles can be driven only on roads sporting green, reflective dots during the program, which runs through Friday, Oct. 22, the end of the general rifle season.

Green Dot maps are available at the Forest Service stations in Prospect and Butte Falls, as well as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office at the Denman Wildlife Area, 1495 E. Gregory Road in White City.

Work near Galice closes Taylor Creek Road

Part of the Taylor Creek Road area near Galice will be closed Mondays through Thursdays beginning this week while Forest Service crews repair the damaged roadway as part of a larger forest-improvement project there.

The road, however, will be open for use Fridays through Sundays until the work is complete.

The effected roadway is between Forest Service Road No. 2512 and the Merlin-Galice Highway.

The work is part of the Myers Rat Stewardship project, which is funded through a federal stimulus grant. It includes eight different road repairs along Forest Service Road No. 2500 and includes various thinning projects and fuels-reduction work.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail

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