Since You Asked: Reader seeks info on Green Dots

Thursday's Oregon Outdoors section had an article about the Green Dot road-closure program near Prospect and Butte Falls for rifle hunters during elk season. My question is, so the road closures are in place for rifle hunters, why aren't similar road closures in place during bowhunters' and muzzleloaders' seasons?

— Don Hunt, Medford

After 20 years of the Green Dot Travel Management Area operation here, a few hunters still are dissatisfied they cannot drive all the Forest Service roads up there during 10 days in October.

The program bans use of miles of forest spur roads for the three days before the elk season and the seven days of the season, allowing vehicles only on main arterial roads marked with green reflectors.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Mark Vargas says the temporary closures help more bulls escape hunters and provides a more pleasurable hunt for people trying to sneak up on elk without trucks driving all over the place.

The rifle season for elk is unique because of hunter densities and a short one-week season, Vargas says. More than 2,000 hunters are in the Rogue Unit in eastern Jackson County alone; the next biggest hunt is the muzzleloader season with 600 hunters for all of the Southwest Cascades.

The archery hunt is strung out through much of the fall, and also sports far fewer hunters than the rifle season.

Temporary road closures like this one are used statewide in places with high hunter densities and fears of over-harvest of elk, Vargas says.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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