Wildlife winter range closures in effect


Last updated 12/5/2023 at 10:20am

Four winter range closures are now in effect across the Deschutes National Forest to provide critical habitat for deer and elk.

Closure areas include Cabin/Silver Lake, Metolius Winter Range, Opine Travel Management Area, and Tumalo Winter Range. Motorized vehicles (including snowmobiles and electric bicycles) are prohibited in the closure areas to protect deer and elk during the winter. The winter wildlife closures will last through March 31, 2024.

Winter range is habitat deer and elk migrate to in order to find more favorable living conditions during the winter. Winter range is found predominantly in lower elevations of Central Oregon, and is extremely important to elk and mule deer survival. Winter ranges usually have minimal amounts of snow cover and provide vegetation for forage, hiding cover, and protection from the weather. In Oregon, elk and mule deer migrate, often long distances, to lower elevations to escape or minimize exposure to snow cover.

By respecting winter range closures, the public can reduce impacts to deer and elk, helping to sustain existing populations into the future. Improving habitat quality for deer can preserve the functionality of traditional migratory routes and reduce impacts with nuisance deer in town, resulting in more healthy and productive deer populations.

The Metolius Winter Range map may be found at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd526507.pdf. The Tumalo Winter Range map is at https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd526509.pdf.


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