Pheasant season opens statewide Oct. 13. Populations appear to be up slightly over last year and hunters can expect to find a few more birds in areas of the Columbia Basin. There is still one remaining opportunity for westside hunters to participate in fee pheasant hunting-at EE Wilson Wildlife Area in Monmouth through Oct. 31.
Duck season opens on the westside Oct. 13.
"Oregon hunters will have great opportunities for waterfowling this year with the significant numbers of ducks and geese in the flyway," said Brad Bales, chief waterfowl biologist for the department.
NORTHEAST ZONE HUNTING: ATV users, please respect road closures designed to protect wildlife and improve the hunting experience. OSP cited six northeast region hunters for violating road closures during buck deer rifle opening weekend.
Remember to check with land management agencies about fire restrictions before hunting.
Open: pheasant (opens Oct. 13), cougar, bear, forest grouse, controlled fall turkey, chukar (opens Oct. 6), duck, mt. quail and California quail (open only in portions of zone)
UPDATE: The Malheur National Forest recently announced that the planned Murderers Creek closure will be further limited because salvage logging has been delayed. Forest Road 2150 going to Aldrich Lookout will remain open 7 days a week, throughout hunting season. Additionally, hunters may now access the entire Shaketable Complex Fire area in the Murderers Creek Hunt Unit by foot.
Ditch Creek muzzleloader deer should be an above average season with the cold weather patters that the Heppner Unit has experienced. The rains have brought on fall green up conditions and more available water sources.
Elk hunting in the district for mature bulls should be average. Spike hunters are in for another tough year due to continued low calf recruitment.
Upland bird production was down in the district this year. Chukar and Hun numbers about the same as they were last year. Quail and Pheasant numbers are down compared to last year. Overall hunters should expect a similar season to last year.
Bear populations are naturally lower in the district.
Cougar populations are healthy. As the winters snows arrive is the time to look for fresh cougar sign and calling with distress type calls or recorded cougar vocalizations can be effective. Dawn and dusk are the best times for calling.
Grouse: Blue grouse continue to be distributed along ridges with pine/Douglas fir overstory and deciduous shrub understory such as snowberry. Running timbered edges along the edges of canyons should net some birds. Ruffed grouse are going to continue to be found in forested bench or riparian areas dominated by shrubs. Old clear cuts with numerous sapling trees will also hold ruffed grouse in good numbers.
Fall Turkey: Turkeys are still distributed in many parts of forested areas. Hunters will find the most turkeys in the Mt. Emily and Ukiah Units.
Waterfowl: Hunters can expect normal numbers of early local birds in areas on or adjacent to the Columbia River. As weather becomes cooler, fall migrants will begin to arrive to produce improved hunting opportunity. Rivers and creeks will provide consistent jump shooting opportunity throughout the season with brief times of high quality hunting in below freezing cold snaps.
Pheasant: Good numbers of pheasants are being sighted as a result of average production from this last springs hatch. Hunters should concentrate on brushy areas along creeks in agricultural areas.
Quail: Numbers are good and will provide some good recreation throughout the season. Hunters will be served best by concentrating on Shrub areas along creeks in low areas. The Columbia River Wildlife Areas are good locations for quail hunting (Irrigon, Power City, Coyote Springs, and Willow Creek Wildlife Areas).
Bear and cougar populations are healthy to increasing. Bear densities are higher north of I-84 due to increased mast and berries which the bears feed on. Bears will be pulling down into lower areas to feed on hawthorn berries as the fall progresses. Most bears will be heading for the den by the last few days of October.