Oregon Roosevelt Elk

jray5740

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
269
Location
Colorado
Interested to know if anyone has any info they could share with me in regards to hunting western Oregon for a Roosevelt Elk? It appears from what I can see that I can buy a general season elk tag OTC, and the Oregon website says the populations are good and the general areas are good....however, being a Colorado Native I know how reliable the claims of good hunting in OTC units can be. Sometimes they are true, often times they are not. Has anyone been successful harvesting a Roosevelt Elk in Oregon? Would you consider this any harder or easier than chasing elk in Colorado? Anything to be aware of as I don't know too much about Oregon hunting? How long did it take you to draw a limited tag as a non resident for a Roosevelt Elk area?
 

Dirtscoots

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Oregon
If I didn’t live here this would be the last place on earth I would hunt. Unless you are dead set on a Roosevelt you are driving past a lot better hunting opportunities in every state you pass through on the way here. Basically for both rifle and archery elk the coast is about the only over the counter in the state. There is alot if pressure.
 

Burnt Reynolds

Senior Member
Joined
May 29, 2015
Messages
266
Location
Silverton, OR
I'll echo Dirtscoots. That said, it's doable. The only elk tags I've ever punched were Roosevelts. Your advantage will be coming from altitude to sea level and theoretically be all the stronger cardiovascularly. Hunting the coast can be as demanding or easy as you want to make it. Pretty much the entire coast range elk country is criss crossed with roads. Many gated, many not. There will be members of the orange army virtually everywhere that's an easy day hunt option. Lot's of steep, thick nasty basins that herd bulls often retreat to after the rut. I usually pass on that lol. I like to string together day loops or larger overnight loops where I can get from clear cut to clear cut and glass - on foot/bike. Since first rifle is only 4 days finding an area you can spend the entire hunt is key imho (assuming of course there's good odds of elk being there). If you find yourself where the orange army is road hunting, stay hidden. Use them. When they get out of their rig to piss and resupply beer, he might actually throw up his binos and look around for 30 seconds. If you're lucky they will stomp around in the woods and possibly get some animals up moving around. Most of these guys treat hunting season like their scouting season. I've literally talked to guys that were just marking spots on their OnX to "come back to" if their plan A spot doesn't work out, on day 3 of a 4 day hunt.

I've spent the better part of dozens of seasons hunting a private parcel owned by one of my uncles. Takes 3 guys about 3-4 days to effectively hunt the country. Then, right when we all agree there's nothing in there, 60 head will pop out and start feeding up a clear cut. That's what's so maddening but addicting at the same time with Roosevelts. If you're in an area with good sign, they are probably nearby. My experience is they won't bump far at all unless there's ridiculous pressure. In 2015 & 2017 we knocked over 4 bulls (8 total) in about 60 seconds getting on some herds, even after the shooting stopped the main bodies of the herds were barely 50 yards away just staring at us.

This year I'm archery hunting with my cousin, we'll be in each of some designated sections for several days at a time carrying camp on our backs. I was out for the opener last weekend and located a small nursery herd on some private that I don't have permission to access from the easier point of ingress. According to the property lines I could have made a play for them from where I was but was literally blocked by thick, summer growth, salmon berries. Miserable shit that is. So instead I practiced bugling. Headed out again tonight for a few days. If unsuccessful I'll be back 15th-26th.

If you're within eyesight or ear shot of the ocean expect thick undergrowth. Further inland it gets a little better. Be aware, the country is VAST. Doesn't look it on a map and certainly doesn't compare to the mountainous country and plains country where Rocky mtn elk live, but it's deceiving how much ground there is out there.
 

Holocene

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
150
Location
Portland, OR
I've bow hunted Roosevelt exclusively on the Oregon coast since moving from South Carolina about six years ago. 3/5, lost one, and plenty of interactions and days afield.

Agreed, this is not a high-success type of tag. First, the terrain is some of the biggest, nastiest, steepest, spiniest, country to hunt in all North America. If you aren't falling often, cussing yourself getting stuck in impenetrable thickets of salal and blackberry, and waking up in the middle of the night with cramping thighs and calves, you probably aren't doing it right. On the bright side, there are no mosquitos and snakes that will kill you. Coming from the swamps of South Carolina, I appreciate that.

Success rates hover around 10% for the common coastal units in Oregon. Access is there, but lately fire risks have closed down a lot of pubic access -- and unpredictably -- so planning an out of state season could be dicey.

Hunting pressure can be intense. I was working a bull Saturday, and about 2 minutes after he gave a last spine-chilling bugle, I heard human voices in the clear cut. Some hunters walked in and tried to stalk him in the clear cut and busted the herd. It's combat hunting at times.

Rifle tags in the coastal units are given out like COVID vaccines, so age class of these bulls is not super mature. Rifle hunting is an absolute zoo and I will not do it.

On bugling, these bulls do bugle but you generally cannot hear it from over 200-300 yards. Locating bulls is the hardest part.

If you have the legs, the time, the patience, and appetite for thick nasty terrain and regular combat hunting with locals tricked out with Born and Raised everything, then come on out and give it a try.

I have started to apply for tags in other states, because honestly I'm curious how our Rosie hunting compares to standard Rocky Mt elk hunting in other states! Maybe one day we can compare notes.
 
OP
J

jray5740

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
269
Location
Colorado
I'll echo Dirtscoots. That said, it's doable. The only elk tags I've ever punched were Roosevelts. Your advantage will be coming from altitude to sea level and theoretically be all the stronger cardiovascularly. Hunting the coast can be as demanding or easy as you want to make it. Pretty much the entire coast range elk country is criss crossed with roads. Many gated, many not. There will be members of the orange army virtually everywhere that's an easy day hunt option. Lot's of steep, thick nasty basins that herd bulls often retreat to after the rut. I usually pass on that lol. I like to string together day loops or larger overnight loops where I can get from clear cut to clear cut and glass - on foot/bike. Since first rifle is only 4 days finding an area you can spend the entire hunt is key imho (assuming of course there's good odds of elk being there). If you find yourself where the orange army is road hunting, stay hidden. Use them. When they get out of their rig to piss and resupply beer, he might actually throw up his binos and look around for 30 seconds. If you're lucky they will stomp around in the woods and possibly get some animals up moving around. Most of these guys treat hunting season like their scouting season. I've literally talked to guys that were just marking spots on their OnX to "come back to" if their plan A spot doesn't work out, on day 3 of a 4 day hunt.

I've spent the better part of dozens of seasons hunting a private parcel owned by one of my uncles. Takes 3 guys about 3-4 days to effectively hunt the country. Then, right when we all agree there's nothing in there, 60 head will pop out and start feeding up a clear cut. That's what's so maddening but addicting at the same time with Roosevelts. If you're in an area with good sign, they are probably nearby. My experience is they won't bump far at all unless there's ridiculous pressure. In 2015 & 2017 we knocked over 4 bulls (8 total) in about 60 seconds getting on some herds, even after the shooting stopped the main bodies of the herds were barely 50 yards away just staring at us.

This year I'm archery hunting with my cousin, we'll be in each of some designated sections for several days at a time carrying camp on our backs. I was out for the opener last weekend and located a small nursery herd on some private that I don't have permission to access from the easier point of ingress. According to the property lines I could have made a play for them from where I was but was literally blocked by thick, summer growth, salmon berries. Miserable shit that is. So instead I practiced bugling. Headed out again tonight for a few days. If unsuccessful I'll be back 15th-26th.

If you're within eyesight or ear shot of the ocean expect thick undergrowth. Further inland it gets a little better. Be aware, the country is VAST. Doesn't look it on a map and certainly doesn't compare to the mountainous country and plains country where Rocky mtn elk live, but it's deceiving how much ground there is out there.
Thanks for the detail in your response! Generally speaking, I have the elk hunting in CO to suite my needs….but I’m also after the trio of elk as well to keep on the quest for NA 29 minus the few obvious no option hunts…..and I need the Rosie! I don’t mind the thick nasty, reminds me of Kodiak Island….except with hidden brown bears all over haha

Your response is much appreciated!
 
OP
J

jray5740

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
269
Location
Colorado
I've bow hunted Roosevelt exclusively on the Oregon coast since moving from South Carolina about six years ago. 3/5, lost one, and plenty of interactions and days afield.

Agreed, this is not a high-success type of tag. First, the terrain is some of the biggest, nastiest, steepest, spiniest, country to hunt in all North America. If you aren't falling often, cussing yourself getting stuck in impenetrable thickets of salal and blackberry, and waking up in the middle of the night with cramping thighs and calves, you probably aren't doing it right. On the bright side, there are no mosquitos and snakes that will kill you. Coming from the swamps of South Carolina, I appreciate that.

Success rates hover around 10% for the common coastal units in Oregon. Access is there, but lately fire risks have closed down a lot of pubic access -- and unpredictably -- so planning an out of state season could be dicey.

Hunting pressure can be intense. I was working a bull Saturday, and about 2 minutes after he gave a last spine-chilling bugle, I heard human voices in the clear cut. Some hunters walked in and tried to stalk him in the clear cut and busted the herd. It's combat hunting at times.

Rifle tags in the coastal units are given out like COVID vaccines, so age class of these bulls is not super mature. Rifle hunting is an absolute zoo and I will not do it.

On bugling, these bulls do bugle but you generally cannot hear it from over 200-300 yards. Locating bulls is the hardest part.

If you have the legs, the time, the patience, and appetite for thick nasty terrain and regular combat hunting with locals tricked out with Born and Raised everything, then come on out and give it a try.

I have started to apply for tags in other states, because honestly I'm curious how our Rosie hunting compares to standard Rocky Mt elk hunting in other states! Maybe one day we can compare notes.
Your response is much appreciated! Gives me a great idea of what to expect…..hey if your ever in CO I can probably get you into some spots to find a Rocky Mtn variety….happy to compare notes with ya
 

Elk830

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
99
If I didn’t live here this would be the last place on earth I would hunt. Unless you are dead set on a Roosevelt you are driving past a lot better hunting opportunities in every state you pass through on the way here. Basically for both rifle and archery elk the coast is about the only over the counter in the state. There is alot if pressure.
Archery elk is OTC in almost all of the state...
 

Dirtscoots

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Oregon
It isn’t 100% yet I’m sorry. I’m goin with the assumption here considering what they did with the deer tags last year. Everything I have read makes it look like a go. I agree with pressure. Unfortunately it circles back to adding pressure on the west side is my biggest concern.
 

Elk830

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
99
It isn’t 100% yet I’m sorry. I’m goin with the assumption here considering what they did with the deer tags last year. Everything I have read makes it look like a go. I agree with pressure. Unfortunately it circles back to adding pressure on the west side is my biggest concern.
Yeah very true. The pressure in central where I hunted was pretty high this year. Even though this would disable me from hunting every year in my home unit I would honestly like to see them go controlled in central at least until populations get better.
 

coast range

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
69
Location
oregon
It isn’t 100% yet I’m sorry. I’m goin with the assumption here considering what they did with the deer tags last year. Everything I have read makes it look like a go. I agree with pressure. Unfortunately it circles back to adding pressure on the west side is my biggest concern.

Sorry its is an official go now. All east side units will be a draw


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TXCO

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2012
Messages
656
I just returned from a guided coastal OTC roosevelt hunt. It was my first guided elk hunt and ive done 9 or 10 DIY rockies hunts in MT, WY, CO and NM over the years. I went guided for a few reasons including I doubted I would get the chance to hunt roosevelts much and it being such a different hunt than I was used to.

I will say, it was much tougher from an access perspective than I imagined. The terrain is huge mix of private, timber company, BLM, and forest service with almost no boundary markers and lots of gates. There is a little walk in access similar to MT's or NM's. Its so thick its very hard to call in the forests and hear much unless youre close (or track). We were glassing logging clear cuts and then having to determine if it was accessible and a route in. Once youre around elk they act just like rockies. Everyone says they're bigger bodied and you just have to see it to believe it.

Otherwise, lots of fairly friendly people and good small towns. I enjoyed my time there and am glad I got the experience. If you do it DIY, Id recommend onx and several scouting days because with all the logging and replanting, things change quickly out there. There's no way all the satellite images are up to date. Id also buy a blacktail deer tag, we saw quite a few.
 

TXCO

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2012
Messages
656
5cf95d97643ec95f82c207d26645f33b.jpg



Here is where I found my bull 300 yards below where I shot him catching one lung. I show this for perspective of how thick it can be.

a768717d362145558ff784cba7732b8f.jpg



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roosiebull

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
1,683
Location
oregon coast
Interested to know if anyone has any info they could share with me in regards to hunting western Oregon for a Roosevelt Elk? It appears from what I can see that I can buy a general season elk tag OTC, and the Oregon website says the populations are good and the general areas are good....however, being a Colorado Native I know how reliable the claims of good hunting in OTC units can be. Sometimes they are true, often times they are not. Has anyone been successful harvesting a Roosevelt Elk in Oregon? Would you consider this any harder or easier than chasing elk in Colorado? Anything to be aware of as I don't know too much about Oregon hunting? How long did it take you to draw a limited tag as a non resident for a Roosevelt Elk area?
rifle or archery?

i grew up here and have hunted roosies since i started hunting. i archery hunt them, but take friends and family rifle hunting them every year.... regardless, one isn't harder or easier than the other (rifle vs bow) it's just different challenges.

as a non resident i can't see it being super worth it to come rifle hunt roosies, crazy high pressure, and coming in blind seems like it would be frustrating unless you came before to get an idea of things.

i personally love chasing roosies, and it would take a pretty special elk tag somewhere else to get me off the coast, but it's not due to the hot action, they are just cool critters that live in a cool place.... there is no cooler scene in the woods than a pissed off black horned roosie coming straight to you through the chest high ferns.....

it's getting really crowded, archery season this year resembles rifle season and i assume rifle season will be a total **** show. if you do come to hunt, rather than e scouting good looking habitat, i would be looking for harder to access country.... an "easy" elk are going to be known about by a lot of people, and it takes all of the fun out of it fighting the yahoos for the easy areas.

i mainly focus on national forest land these days, just to stay away from pressure.... people don't like hunting it, and it's apparent why after a couple days of hunting it, it's hard to navigate that country, and it's really thick.... it's not a manicured timber patch with roads on each ridge like timber company property, it's a steep jungle of thorns. the elk feed through the salmonberry thickets, but home is usually pretty and open, but to get to that nice ridge, you may have to sidehill over 3 nasty ridges with a nearly impassable salmonberry patch in each draw.... some ridges may be covered in salmonberry too.... you'll be hung up non stop, especially the frame of your pack, or your bag if it's not low profile... your rifle or bow, it's like going through a messed up carwash, and it all has thorns.... that's how you will spend a good part of your day in NF land, but then you get to a nice open ridge with chest high ferns, and there is fresh elk sign all over it..... very short term memory is a big asset, because you have to keep trudging along if you aren't finding elk, or fresh sign. the ridges are mostly steep, and often times you have to drop off the top and fight your way to the bottom to get into those pretty elk habitats, then you will have to claw your way back out.... there will be ridges or draws you cannot get across, and will have to go up and around, then drop back down..... the pressure is way less because it sucks getting through country, the habitat is way more broad vs obvious habitat on timber company land, and the overall biomass of elk is lower, and more spread out in NF land.

if you are a little more specific on what season you are looking to hunt, i can give more relevant info too you, and will try to be as realistic as i can about it. like i said, i love chasing these elk... they are the prettiest elk there are, and they live in some pretty amazing country, and could be a fun hunt with realistic expectations and full effort. since you don't know the country, physically being able to punish yourself and keep grinding every day would be super helpful. having bulletproof legs is a big help, and being desensitized to some suck helps too.

hunting gated logging roads is way easier, and the food sources are way more defined, and you can glass and see a ways (long ways in some country) but the hunting pressure sucks, and elk season brings out some assholes with no common courtesy.

mature bulls will mostly be solo or small bachelor herds rifle season (not always) and very, very few people hunt them, people hunt the bigger herds and most rifle bulls will be spikes and rags, with an occasional bigger bull, but when you are hung up in salmonberry, death by a million stab wounds, know that you could be walking into the home of that big black horned bull all by himself.... another cool thing about hunting NF
 

Elk830

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
99
rifle or archery?

i grew up here and have hunted roosies since i started hunting. i archery hunt them, but take friends and family rifle hunting them every year.... regardless, one isn't harder or easier than the other (rifle vs bow) it's just different challenges.

as a non resident i can't see it being super worth it to come rifle hunt roosies, crazy high pressure, and coming in blind seems like it would be frustrating unless you came before to get an idea of things.

i personally love chasing roosies, and it would take a pretty special elk tag somewhere else to get me off the coast, but it's not due to the hot action, they are just cool critters that live in a cool place.... there is no cooler scene in the woods than a pissed off black horned roosie coming straight to you through the chest high ferns.....

it's getting really crowded, archery season this year resembles rifle season and i assume rifle season will be a total **** show. if you do come to hunt, rather than e scouting good looking habitat, i would be looking for harder to access country.... an "easy" elk are going to be known about by a lot of people, and it takes all of the fun out of it fighting the yahoos for the easy areas.

i mainly focus on national forest land these days, just to stay away from pressure.... people don't like hunting it, and it's apparent why after a couple days of hunting it, it's hard to navigate that country, and it's really thick.... it's not a manicured timber patch with roads on each ridge like timber company property, it's a steep jungle of thorns. the elk feed through the salmonberry thickets, but home is usually pretty and open, but to get to that nice ridge, you may have to sidehill over 3 nasty ridges with a nearly impassable salmonberry patch in each draw.... some ridges may be covered in salmonberry too.... you'll be hung up non stop, especially the frame of your pack, or your bag if it's not low profile... your rifle or bow, it's like going through a messed up carwash, and it all has thorns.... that's how you will spend a good part of your day in NF land, but then you get to a nice open ridge with chest high ferns, and there is fresh elk sign all over it..... very short term memory is a big asset, because you have to keep trudging along if you aren't finding elk, or fresh sign. the ridges are mostly steep, and often times you have to drop off the top and fight your way to the bottom to get into those pretty elk habitats, then you will have to claw your way back out.... there will be ridges or draws you cannot get across, and will have to go up and around, then drop back down..... the pressure is way less because it sucks getting through country, the habitat is way more broad vs obvious habitat on timber company land, and the overall biomass of elk is lower, and more spread out in NF land.

if you are a little more specific on what season you are looking to hunt, i can give more relevant info too you, and will try to be as realistic as i can about it. like i said, i love chasing these elk... they are the prettiest elk there are, and they live in some pretty amazing country, and could be a fun hunt with realistic expectations and full effort. since you don't know the country, physically being able to punish yourself and keep grinding every day would be super helpful. having bulletproof legs is a big help, and being desensitized to some suck helps too.

hunting gated logging roads is way easier, and the food sources are way more defined, and you can glass and see a ways (long ways in some country) but the hunting pressure sucks, and elk season brings out some assholes with no common courtesy.

mature bulls will mostly be solo or small bachelor herds rifle season (not always) and very, very few people hunt them, people hunt the bigger herds and most rifle bulls will be spikes and rags, with an occasional bigger bull, but when you are hung up in salmonberry, death by a million stab wounds, know that you could be walking into the home of that big black horned bull all by himself.... another cool thing about hunting NF
I know I’m not OP, but I’m really interested in hunting the western part of the state this year especially if everything east of the cascades is draw. How do you choose a unit to hunt and where do you even start on the NF land? All of the forest looks pretty similar while e scouting save for logging areas. It would be nice to find an area near Eugene since I’ll be going to school there this year. I’d most likely be hunting late August to early September. Thank you for that in depth response you gave OP, it was super helpful.
 

roosiebull

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
1,683
Location
oregon coast
I know I’m not OP, but I’m really interested in hunting the western part of the state this year especially if everything east of the cascades is draw. How do you choose a unit to hunt and where do you even start on the NF land? All of the forest looks pretty similar while e scouting save for logging areas. It would be nice to find an area near Eugene since I’ll be going to school there this year. I’d most likely be hunting late August to early September. Thank you for that in depth response you gave OP, it was super helpful.
I’ll message you later today
 

Oregon

Senior Member
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
527
Location
Oregon coast
rifle or archery?

i grew up here and have hunted roosies since i started hunting. i archery hunt them, but take friends and family rifle hunting them every year.... regardless, one isn't harder or easier than the other (rifle vs bow) it's just different challenges.

as a non resident i can't see it being super worth it to come rifle hunt roosies, crazy high pressure, and coming in blind seems like it would be frustrating unless you came before to get an idea of things.

i personally love chasing roosies, and it would take a pretty special elk tag somewhere else to get me off the coast, but it's not due to the hot action, they are just cool critters that live in a cool place.... there is no cooler scene in the woods than a pissed off black horned roosie coming straight to you through the chest high ferns.....

it's getting really crowded, archery season this year resembles rifle season and i assume rifle season will be a total **** show. if you do come to hunt, rather than e scouting good looking habitat, i would be looking for harder to access country.... an "easy" elk are going to be known about by a lot of people, and it takes all of the fun out of it fighting the yahoos for the easy areas.

i mainly focus on national forest land these days, just to stay away from pressure.... people don't like hunting it, and it's apparent why after a couple days of hunting it, it's hard to navigate that country, and it's really thick.... it's not a manicured timber patch with roads on each ridge like timber company property, it's a steep jungle of thorns. the elk feed through the salmonberry thickets, but home is usually pretty and open, but to get to that nice ridge, you may have to sidehill over 3 nasty ridges with a nearly impassable salmonberry patch in each draw.... some ridges may be covered in salmonberry too.... you'll be hung up non stop, especially the frame of your pack, or your bag if it's not low profile... your rifle or bow, it's like going through a messed up carwash, and it all has thorns.... that's how you will spend a good part of your day in NF land, but then you get to a nice open ridge with chest high ferns, and there is fresh elk sign all over it..... very short term memory is a big asset, because you have to keep trudging along if you aren't finding elk, or fresh sign. the ridges are mostly steep, and often times you have to drop off the top and fight your way to the bottom to get into those pretty elk habitats, then you will have to claw your way back out.... there will be ridges or draws you cannot get across, and will have to go up and around, then drop back down..... the pressure is way less because it sucks getting through country, the habitat is way more broad vs obvious habitat on timber company land, and the overall biomass of elk is lower, and more spread out in NF land.

if you are a little more specific on what season you are looking to hunt, i can give more relevant info too you, and will try to be as realistic as i can about it. like i said, i love chasing these elk... they are the prettiest elk there are, and they live in some pretty amazing country, and could be a fun hunt with realistic expectations and full effort. since you don't know the country, physically being able to punish yourself and keep grinding every day would be super helpful. having bulletproof legs is a big help, and being desensitized to some suck helps too.

hunting gated logging roads is way easier, and the food sources are way more defined, and you can glass and see a ways (long ways in some country) but the hunting pressure sucks, and elk season brings out some assholes with no common courtesy.

mature bulls will mostly be solo or small bachelor herds rifle season (not always) and very, very few people hunt them, people hunt the bigger herds and most rifle bulls will be spikes and rags, with an occasional bigger bull, but when you are hung up in salmonberry, death by a million stab wounds, know that you could be walking into the home of that big black horned bull all by himself.... another cool thing about hunting NF
You couldn't pay a guy to give a more honest and accurate portrayal of Coast Rosie hunting. I have a love/hate relationship with Rosies. I'm a rifle hunter and strictly hunt behind locked gates. I just start walking up logging roads. Then keep walking. When I get to a spot where I think if I turn around now I'll be back to truck at dark, I turn around and head back.
I am way more lucky than good.
Some people study the herds, watch them for a month, sit on them overnight the day before opener, block roads with trucks, etc etc.
I just go walking. 4 days of walking(length of season) I bat 50% on killing an elk. Only ever killed one mature bull(avatar) and a bunch of spikes and rags. The thing about the Oregon coast and Rosies, my optimism is strong. Just because I know for a fact that elk is standing around the next corner. Well, I guarantee sometime in the past there was an elk standing there. Every inch could hold an elk at any time.
 
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