Top 5 Hooved Animals to Hunt in Central Oregon

Does hunting hold a special appeal for you? Well, central Oregon has some pretty diverse wildlife, and a beautiful landscape to find them in. You’ll enjoy learning about these top five hoofed animals in central Oregon, from the black tailed deer to the graceful pronghorn antelope.

Black Tailed Deer

The black tailed deer are common residents of Western Oregon that actually migrate to lower elevations when winter snow threatens to come in. This species of deer is known for their breeding season, a sixty day span that begins in November and ends in December. The doe is pregnant all winter with the fetus developing slowly, and as food becomes plentiful again, development quickly speeds up, leading to birth in late spring or early summer.


Elk are a very common sight through Oregon, found in a variety of regions, including mountain meadows, plains, valleys, and foothills. These are the second most popular game animal to hunt after deer. An elk’s diet includes grasses, twigs, bark, and herbs. Elk hunting seasons include rifle hunting, archery, and muzzleloader controlled hunts.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep are found through southern Canada in British Columbia and Alberta, as well as the mountainous western United states. After being virtually eliminated in the U.S., the bighorn sheep are making a comeback. They’re still quite rare, so any hunter who gets a tag for a bighorn sheep can’t draw it again. Because they live in steep mountain terrain, you have to be pretty fit to hunt them.

Mule Deer

Mule deer are found more in the open country in western North America. Their diet consists of shrubs and twigs primarily, but they’re known to eat grasses and herbs too. Like with elk, deer hunting offers a lot of flexibility in time of year and weapon, with a season for rifle hunting, archery hunting, and even muzzleloader controlled hunts.

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn antelope are another western big game animal, but not found on the coast. Unlike other hoofed mammals, antelope aren’t a protected species, probably because there are about 25,000 antelope in the state. They’re known for their speed, as they are able to hit speeds of 40 miles an hour. You’ll find them living in low sagebrush plains and open prairies.

If you enjoy stalking these big game animals, you might want to try hunting in Maupin. Besides the great weather and spectacular high desert scenery, you'll find ample hooves and horns on your hunt.

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