Oregon Biologists Asking Black-tail Deer Hunters to Submit Tooth from Deer

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ODFW biologists are asking black-tailed deer bowhunters to send the department a tooth from the animal they harvest. ODFW staff uses the teeth to determine the age of the animals, which is used in population modeling efforts.

Accurate population estimation is a key goal of the Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan which was adopted in 2008 by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to strategically manage black-tailed deer populations consistent with available habitat and other land uses.

"These teeth are critically important to us. Black-tailed deer are not easy to count. They often move in the dark, in dense cover," said Don Whittaker, ODFW Ungulate Species Coordinator. "The more information we have about the age of the deer in the population, the better decisions we can make about hunting seasons and the health of the species."

Last year, bowhunters harvested almost 2,000 black-tailed deer.

"To get an accurate population estimate, we really need to get teeth from all of this year's animals," said Whittaker.

The age of deer can be accurately determined by analyzing tooth roots. Removing and returning a tooth to ODFW is relatively easy and in no way harms the taxidermy mount. Postage-paid envelopes and instructions are available at license sales agents or ODFW offices.

In six or seven months, hunters will receive a postcard showing the age of their deer.

The Columbian black-tailed deer is one of two sub species of mule deer in Oregon. The species is found from the Pacific Ocean coastline east to the forested portions along the east side of the crest of the Cascades. The Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan is available on ODFW's website.