The number of elk on the Zumwalt Prairie has increased significantly over the past two decades. Spring counts at Zumwalt Prairie by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) indicate elk numbers increased from 452 to 3,890 individuals from 1996-2015. Throughout 2017, ODFW counted 1,700 elk within the Zumwalt unit, and it estimates there are more than 4,200 elk in the larger Chesnimnus Management Unit (which includes Zumwalt Prairie). This number far exceeds ODFW's management objective of 3,500 elk.
In an effort to promote species diversity and sustainable livestock production on the Zumwalt Prairie, The Nature Conservancy cooperates with ODFW and other Zumwalt landowners to administer antlerless elk hunts within the Chesnimnus Management Unit. The Conservancy’s hunting program is an important part of management of the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve, designed to benefit habitats as well as provide an exceptional backcountry hunting experiences.
Information for Hunters
The Nature Conservancy hosts a limited number of antlerless elk hunters on the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve during the following 2018 hunts:
- Chesnimnus Unit Bow No. 1 (258R1) - 10 hunters (antlerless only)
- Chesnimnus Unit Bow No. 2 (258R2) - 10 hunters (anterless only)
- Chesnimnus Unit Youth Hunt (258T) - 258T Tag holders have access priority
- Zumwalt No. 1 (258A1) - 10 hunters
- Zumwalt No. 2 (258A2) - 10 hunters
- Zumwalt No. 3 (258A3) - 0 hunters*
- Zumwalt No. 4 (258A4) - 90 hunters
- Zumwalt No. 5 (258A6) – 90 hunters
- Zumwalt No. 6 (258A7) – 90 hunters
- Zumwalt No. 7 (258A7) – 90 hunters
*NOTE: There will be no hunting access given during the Zumwalt No. 3 (258A3) season. Access will be closed during this season because it occurs just prior to the bull elk rifle seasons. We donate bull elk LOP tags as fundraisers for local charities. It is important we maintain the quality of our bull elk hunting opportunities to maximize the value of our LOP tags.
Hunters holding a tag for one of the above hunts may enter a lottery for a chance to hunt antlerless elk on the Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve. If you are successful in drawing a Zumwalt tag with ODFW you will receive a postcard with information and a link to a website where you may enter the TNC Zumwalt lottery. The TNC access lottery will be open for entries from July 1-31st. The postcard will be sent to the mailing address you provided when applying for your ODFW tag. This is a non-motorized, backcountry hunting opportunity which may not be suitable for all hunters. The Preserve’s rugged terrain and limited access make the property a challenging and strenuous area to hunt.
Hunters should be aware of the following rules:
- Motorized vehicles are permitted only on public roads. Further access is by foot, or horse/mule with prior Conservancy approval.
- Discharging a firearm is not allowed within 100 yards of a public road on the prairie or within 50 yards of a public road in the canyons. For safety reasons, we require hunters to move away from public roads before firing.
- Hunters are required to register at a check station prior to hunting the property. If you are successful in The Nature Conservancy's lottery, the location information will be sent to you.
- We strongly encourage the use of copper or other non-lead bullets. The Nature Conservancy is concerned about fragments of lead ammunition poisoning wildlife, such as hawks and eagles that scavenge gut-piles. For more information visit www.huntingwithnonlead.org.
- Access granted during the 258A1, 258A2, 258R1 and 258R2 seasons will be subject to time and location restrictions.
For more information, contact Zumwalt Project Steward Chad Dotson at email@example.com or (541) 231-1455.