Fall is coming, but fire danger is still here. Fortunately, there is progress being made in keeping lands open for hunting. Speaking of hunting, I have started to see the elk go into rut and hunters’ success rate start to increase. All these things I just mentioned are good, as I will explain.

With the coming of fall, we are seeing lower nightly temperatures and lower highs during the day. Just this last week we saw fire danger drop from extreme down to high — but remember, it is still high. The recent fires in the northern part of Douglas County last week along the freeway remind to still be cautious in dry grass and other flammable areas. The good news is the fires in Douglas County this year are significantly less than we’ve experienced over the last couple years. We are getting close to the end of fire season, but we still need some rain to finish it off completely. Remember to stay off private timber lands until they open up to general public use.

If you need a place to hunt until more local lands open up, you might consider the Coos Mountain Travel Management Area. This area is new this year and will be available until 2022. This area starts at the intersection of Burnt Mountain road and Burnt Mountain Ridge Road, extending out 60,000 acres to the west. The TMA is a system of “Green Dot” roads that provide access through Private Timber lands to the BLM lands beyond. This partnership between ODFW, timber companies and public land managers helps maintain public access for hunting and other recreational activities. The “Green Dot” roads are the roads you can drive on. If the road does not have a Green Dot at the beginning, usually located on a sign or tree, then you cannot drive on the road. Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers from Roseburg and Coos Bay are actively working the area and have already issued several warnings for being on the Non Green Dot roads. Do not take the Green Dots off the signs or remove other signage. This can ruin others’ experience and ruin the chance to keep the area open in the future. Soon the warnings will be changing to citations, as the concept will no longer be new and people will become familiar with the idea. If you want to learn more about the area and get a map, search the internet for “Coos Mountain Travel Management Area”.

As a hunter myself, I get excited about this time of year and the bugle of the bulls. In my own hunting and also at work, I’m starting to see the bulls move into herds and take them over, kicking out the younger bulls. These are exciting times. If you are a fortunate hunter, you will get to sneak in and witness the fight that occurs when the bulls fight over a herd. There is not much in this world better than that.

I should add, before I end, that with this cooler weather I’m predicting an increase in salmon coming up river with cooler water temperatures. This summer the water temperatures got high enough, I think, to discourage a lot of the Coho from coming up. All in all, fall coming is good for all outdoor hunting experiences. I hope you have a great experience this fall in your hunts or other outdoor activities. Please keep it fun for everyone by following the laws that help keep our lands open for us, and keep the fire danger in mind. If you have any questions, please contact me or another Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Trooper by calling 541-440-3333 or email me at aaron.baimbridge@state.or.us.

Aaron Baimbridge is a senior trooper in the Fish and Wildlife Division of the Oregon State Police office in Roseburg.

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