WHITE CITY, Ore. — The fall deer season is about half over and elk season is getting underway in the Cascades, but it’s not just deer that deer hunters are harvesting again this year.
A large number of black bear and cougar are also ending up in hunter’s rifle sights. Harvested big cats and bruins are required to be brought to fish and wildlife biologists for study, and several showed up at ODFW’s White City office on Monday.
“A few years ago we went mandatory reporting, so hunters have to turn in their bear heads and we check them in, and then we’ll pull a tooth out. We usually pull a little tiny pre-molar out,” said ODFW Biologist Mark Vargas. “From that tooth, we can get the age of the bear when it was born and when it was harvested.”
Vargas says the teeth a sliced and studied under a microscope. From the cougars a small tissue sample from the tongue is also taken for a DNA study.