Wildfire smoke, heat impact C. Oregon bowhunting

Can make finding deer, elk a bigger challenge

Smoke and heat impacting bow hunting...

BEND, Ore. - Wildfires burning in our region could have an impact on hunting season as the firefighters try to contain those blazes. 

Bowhunters are seeing less wildlife because of the heat and smoke from fires burning across Central Oregon. 

The Milli Fire is burning in the Deschutes National Forest, and other fires continue to burn in the Three Sisters Wilderness, causing some trails to be closed. 

The fire activity is burning in the prime hunting areas, and it's causing the wildlife to move north or south, away from the flames.

"The heat had a huge impact on us this year," Rob Dewiit from Central Cascades Archery said Thursday. "Smoke and the heat both pushed the animals into the nocturnal phase, meaning that they spend most of their time feeding during the nighttime hours."

Other hunters told NewsChannel 21 the heavy smoke has made it harder to find deer or elk. 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife doesn't close hunting seasons because of the fire danger but is asking hunters to always be aware of any closures. 

Dewitt said bowhunting will be over by the end of September, and he's looking forward to cooler temperatures. 

"What that does is spur the elk into the rut phase, and that will get the animals moving -- and then the hunter will have more success," he said. 

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