Elk In Oregon: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Elk In Oregon
Elk In Oregon: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Remember the animal in the opening scene of “The Revenant” movie? Wasn’t it majestic with its pair of sharp and beautiful antlers? Quite a common sight in the United States including Oregon, these creatures are called elk. They belong to the deer species and are scientifically referred to as Wapiti. 

Elk is one of the largest terrestrial animals and is in fact the second largest deer species, second to moose in the North American continent. 

Below In this article, I’ve explained everything you need to know about the presence of elk in Oregon, their physical features, and whether you could hunt them in the state.

Are There Any Elk in Oregon?

Yes, there are elks found living in the state of Oregon. In fact, the population is thriving, significant in number, and therefore provides great hunting opportunities.

Oregon is one of the few states to support more than one species of elk. Yes, the state inhabits Rocky Mountain elk and Roosevelt elk. While these creatures have small variations in their size and habitat preferences, they look and behave like typical elks. 

How Many Elk Are in Oregon?

As per the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are about 74,000 Rocky Mountain elk and 59,000 Roosevelt elk present in the state. Like all wild animals, the elk population too is susceptible to environmental changes. 

Based on the season, time of the day, human influence, hunting regulations, predator population, and elk numbers may increase or decrease. It is therefore pertinent that their population is monitored consistently. 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife monitors elk population using surveys, and aerial observation to estimate the latest population and to also make decisions on how to manage them.

How Big is the Elk in Oregon?

Elk In Oregon
Elk In Oregon: Everything You Need To Know About Them

The size of the elk depends on the type of elk you are talking about. There are two subspecies of elk in the state, and each differs significantly in size.

The western Oregon Roosevelt bull weighs anywhere between 700 to 1000 pounds and measures around 5 to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Cows are much smaller. In addition to their body size, even their antlers are quite big. Roosevelt elk is also the largest subspecies of elk in the world.

The eastern Oregon Rocky Mountain bull weighs between 600 to 800 pounds, significantly smaller than the Roosevelt elk. It can stand at about 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall at the shoulder. However, it is important to note that there are variations even among the individual elks be it Roosevelt elk or Rocky Mountain ones.

Also Check Our Guide On Elk In Montana

Where Can I See Elk in Oregon?

The presence of elk depends largely on the type of species. Roosevelt elk prefer to habitat in coastal regions and are therefore found in forests near the shore like Tillamook State Forest, and Siuslaw National Forest.

Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain elk prefer to and have adapted to more rugged and arid terrain, especially in the eastern part of the state. Therefore, they are found in the Blue Mountains, Wallowa Mountains, and the High Desert region.

Best Time to See Elk in Oregon

In terms of days, these creatures like most are active during “rutting” or mating season. This occurs typically between September and October. So, one of the best times to view them as they are in pursuit of a mate. Additionally, elk are more active during early morning and late evening because that’s when it’s much cooler and darker to roam about. 

The state also offers many designated viewing areas in wildlife refuges etc including Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area for Roosevelt elks and the Elkhorn Wildlife Area for Rocky Mountain elks.

Can You Hunt & Shoot Elk in Oregon?

Yes, It is legal to hunt and shoot elk in Oregon. The hunting and shooting of elk are regulated and managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. As per the agency, hunting of elk is allowed only during specific seasons and only specific weapons can be used to attack them. 

The state is divided into various wildlife management units. These have their own specific rules and regulations for elk hunting but are overall managed by ODFW.

To hunt elk, you need a resident hunting license, apply for an elk tag, go through the draw system, get picked, and pay the required fees. Along with the rules and application, the agency website also has guidelines to fill out the application. You can check out more detailed information about the hunting of elk in the state.

Can a Non-Resident Hunt Elk in Oregon?

Yes, As a non-resident you can hunt elk in Oregon. In fact, about 5% of tags for controlled elk hunts can be provided to non-residents. The process to apply is simple and similar to that for residents. Instead of a resident hunting license, you need to apply for and get a non-resident hunting license. The rest of the steps are similar to those for residents.

Also Check Our Guide On Elk In America

Best Place to Hunt Elk in Oregon

The best place to hunt elk in Oregon depends on the species of elk you are trying to hunt and the method you are planning to use to hunt. If you want to hunt Roosevelt elk, go to the western Oregon coast range which includes units like Saddle Mountain, Stott Mountain, and Alsea which offer extensive hunting opportunities.

And if you want to hunt the Rocky Mountain elk, you need to go no further than the mountains and desert region in eastern Oregon which include units like Sumpter, Snake River, and Ochoco.


And that was everything you need to know about the Elk In Oregon. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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