By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Don’t be surprised if you encounter hunters while out on the trails and backcountry byways this weekend.
Archery hunting season starts tomorrow, and at least 40,000 Oregonians participate in the sport.
Hunting with bows and arrows is becoming increasingly popular for a host of reasons.
“What we mostly hear in here is it’s a longer season. Usually the weather is much nicer than when you are rifle hunting,” Ed Creasy, Central Cascades Archery store manager, said. “The longer season is the main thing that people really enjoy.”
Central Oregon Daily spoke with Ed Creasy as he was gluing fletching on customers’ arrows on the eve of the archery season opener.
Fletching is what makes arrows travel straighter and with more accuracy.
“It’s a sport that gets you out in the woods. You make memories with family and friends,” Creasy said. “It’s not always about taking an animal. It’s the memories you are making while you’re trying to take an animal.”
Here, east of the Cascades, archery hunters will try to bag deer and elk from Aug. 29 through Sept. 27.
“I think it’s great family time,” Jake Frank, an archery hunter, said. “You get to spend time with family and friends, joke and goof off and have fun.”
The goofing off usually occurs in camp.
In the field, archery hunters are whisper-quiet and dressed in camouflage as they approach within 50 feet of their prey before taking a shot.
“I like the challenge more than rifle season. You have to get closer,” said Michael Ellis, an archery hunter. “You are in the woods a lot more. A lot more walking. It’s just more challenging all around.”
Another challenge comes in the form of fire restrictions which now extend into wilderness areas on the Deschutes National Forest where many archers like to hunt.
That means no campfires, warming fires or open flame of any kind are allowed outside of developed campgrounds.
“We know for hunters they might have some cold nights but it really is important,” Jean Nelson Dean, Public Affairs Officer for the Deschutes National Forest, said. “We are in an extreme drought. We have extreme fire danger levels and we need people to do the right thing more than ever.”
Hunters and everyone else can still use liquid fuel powered heaters and lanterns to stay warm.