Unit 43 float hunt

Ryan Hughes

New Member
Apr 10, 2015
7
3
Santa rosa, CA
Hey folks. Ryan from NorCal here. Thanks for taking a look at my post/question!
A few of my buddies and I had always dreamt of doing a river float hunt, because we are fairly experienced rafters and anglers.
Recently we came across the idea of hunting in Oregon's unit 43 for mule deer, on either the john day or the deschutes. We bought our preference points in preperation to apply for next season, though there is still much research and homework to do on the unit.
We have two 13 foot white water rafts with full frames, and we are experienced rowers. We also have plenty of experience hunting out of state and in the backcountry.
I am looking for any information or resources that may be helpful in hunting this unit -- more so logistically. I am wondering what the flows of those rivers are like during the seasons? What river is more/less accessible to boaters? What some of the restrictions or advantages are for this hunt? And how many days should we expect to spend on each of these rivers? Are there any Rapids that we should keep in mind or are these sections relatively mild?

Our main goal is to have a fantastic time on a beautiful river, and have a trip that very few hunters get the chance to do. We are not concerned with trophy animals or filling every single tag we have in our pockets. But of course, thatd be the icing on the cake.
Any information on this unit would be incredibly appreciated. So excited to experience the Oregon backcountry, especially on a float. Thanks!
-Ryan
 
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gonhunting247

Very Active Member
Jan 21, 2014
911
49
The John Day typically has pretty low flows during deer season. Sometimes it's low enough to be a real pain to float. The Deschutes will have plenty of water, but does have some pretty technical water in areas. I'm not an experienced boater, but have spent a fair amount of time on both rivers. Both rivers have nice pockets of public land (mostly BLM), but as you probably know, there is also a lot of private to work around. PM me with questions if you'd like.
 
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Ryan Hughes

New Member
Apr 10, 2015
7
3
Santa rosa, CA
The John Day typically has pretty low flows during deer season. Sometimes it's low enough to be a real pain to float. The Deschutes will have plenty of water, but does have some pretty technical water in areas. I'm not an experienced boater, but have spent a fair amount of time on both rivers. Both rivers have nice pockets of public land (mostly BLM), but as you probably know, there is also a lot of private to work around. PM me with questions if you'd like.
Thank you very much. The flows will probably be very influential on where we hunt. I appreciate the info!
 

Ryan Hughes

New Member
Apr 10, 2015
7
3
Santa rosa, CA
we just floated the john day this year if you have any specific questions maybe I can help? the water was on the rise when we hunted the first season for sheep which is right after deer season.
That's great news. And I hope you guys were very successful!
How long was your float?
 

conibear

Active Member
Oct 15, 2017
312
79
Portland, OR
You'll want to join Ifish and scour sheep hunting threads. Ask the sheep hunters what they saw, nobody cares about sharing information in that area. Don't worry about having to portage or haul out, good flows year-round. Bring fishing gear, the fishing can be incredible. Sounds like you have realistic goals already, so good luck!
 

Ryan Hughes

New Member
Apr 10, 2015
7
3
Santa rosa, CA
You'll want to join Ifish and scour sheep hunting threads. Ask the sheep hunters what they saw, nobody cares about sharing information in that area. Don't worry about having to portage or haul out, good flows year-round. Bring fishing gear, the fishing can be incredible. Sounds like you have realistic goals already, so good luck!
Thank you very much for the tips! I am excited to explore this unit and take in all it has to offer. Thanks!
 

DRUSS

Active Member
Jun 22, 2014
353
15
nw oregon
we floated 4 days. killed a ram 3rd day. floated the way out afterwards. lots of bass around. seen a few deer no bucks though. we floated preseason from Clarno to 30mi on a weekend. 4 days from 30mi to cottonwood. cfm was 380 when we started our trip
 

conibear

Active Member
Oct 15, 2017
312
79
Portland, OR
we floated 4 days. killed a ram 3rd day. floated the way out afterwards. lots of bass around. seen a few deer no bucks though. we floated preseason from Clarno to 30mi on a weekend. 4 days from 30mi to cottonwood. cfm was 380 when we started our trip

Ryan he's talking smallmouth bass and it's an incredible fishery. Pivot your focus from mule deer to bass and you're in for an epic trip. Also, if you catch and kill squawfish you can turn them in for a cash bounty. Lastly, there are rattlesnakes.
 
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tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
1,721
172
north idaho
ryan

a lot of your logistics questions can be answered by a shuttle service. If you have ran many multi day rivers, there is usally a shuttle service. Those folks typically know what flows you will be dealing with at the time of your planned float. Also, make sure you do not need a permit to get on the river. Depending on where at on the Deschutes you probably need a permit. And just like hunting, there is an application period. if it is a permitted river, check on the requirements, ie hauling out your feces, how you do dishes, ect