Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The major threat to the species is loss of habitat, primarily to residential and agricultural development. Additional threats include predation from coyotes, illegal take, and disease. Some disease may result from high densities of deer in core areas.
The Columbian white-tailed deer population in Oregon has increased dramatically, from 300-400 individuals in 1976 to 6,000 to 7,000 in 1992. Its range also has expanded from about 80 square kilometers in 1940 to about 1,200 square kilometers in 1992. Major progress has been made in securing and managing habitat, including establishing the Julia Butler Hanson National Wildlife Refuge along the Lower Columbia River. In Douglas County, where the Oregon population of the deer resides, land use plans and zoning ordinances have been implemented to protect habitat and assist in recovery. The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering reclassifying the deer from endangered to threatened, which should allow greater flexibility in herd management.
Although deer numbers are now above the numerical goals specified in the recovery plan for delisting, there is not yet enough secure habitat to ensure sustained recovery. Once adequate habitat has been secured, consideration can be given to delisting the species.
Bureau of Land Management: This Federal agency is currently pursuing a land exchange to acquire a 6,600 acre ranch in the core area of the Douglas County population, specifically for securing habitat. The Bureau of Land Management has been working cooperatively with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife throughout the exchange.
Bureau of Reclamation: The Bureau of Reclamation has been the lead Federal agency in construction of the proposed Milltown Hill Dam, north of Roseburg, Oregon. One of the mitigation measures identified for the dam is the acquisition of additional habitat for the Douglas County deer population. Douglas County, with cooperation from the Bureau of Reclamation, is in process of fulfilling this mitigation requirement.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: This State agency conducts population surveys, enforces hunting restrictions, provides landowners and counties with incentives to secure habitat, conducts research, provides technical assistance to private landowners and State and Federal agencies, and informs the public about the Columbian white-tailed deer. The agency has expended considerable effort in dealing with depredation problems in recent years.
Original plan approved 10/21/76; revised 6/14/83.