Private forests closed to hunters due to fire danger

Private forests closed to hunters due to fire danger

EUGENE, Ore. - The fire danger created by hot, dry weather has forced many private forest owners to close their lands to hunters ahead of the opening of rifle season for deer Saturday.

Industrial timberland in eastern Lane County is closed, including the Wendling Travel Management Area which last year saw 600 hunters on opening weekend.

Hunters will need to find public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management or USDA Forest Service on which to stalk deer, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

“This year, it’s more important than ever that hunters check for closures before heading afield and follow fire

restrictions,” said Tom Thornton, ODFW game program manager.

Forestland managers say forest vegetation is extremely dry.

“Under these parched conditions, any fire started could spread rapidly,” said Dan Postrel, Oregon Department of Forestry.

ODF keeps a list of landowner closures on its website. The list changes frequently and lands could be opened if Oregon gets some significant wet weather, though current forecasts aren’t predicting any rain.

Hunters should check back before the season opener or the day they plan to hunt for the latest information.

Hunters who don’t see their local landowner listed should call them directly.

ODF will also host several hunter information booths in Central Oregon through Friday that will have the latest information on restrictions and closures on hand for hunters.