2021-22 game bird hunting forecast
The 2021-22 Oregon game bird seasons look promising with pheasant, quail and chukar numbers steady in the east, forest grouse holding the line in the west. However, duck populations and habitat conditions are not as promising.
In this Article
The statewide outlook
Migratory game birds
Drought across Oregon and the Prairie Pothole Region of North America will impact waterfowl hunters this season. After canceling our 2020 breeding waterfowl surveys due to COVID-19, the department was able to conduct our surveys in 2021. While overall duck numbers were near the long-term survey average, mallards were down 16 percent statewide, with all regions showing similar declines. Large numbers of gadwall, and a few other late nesting species like northern shoveler, were above their long-term average. However, biologists noted many of those birds were still in flocks at the time of the survey, suggesting those birds might not have nested this spring.
Due to COVID-19, the US Fish and Wildlife Service again canceled their Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, which covers much of the important waterfowl breeding habitat across North America. The Alaska portion of the survey was conducted. Even though biologists were not able to survey the prairies, the widespread drought conditions mean that the nesting effort was likely reduced from previous years. As a result, Oregon hunters can expect fewer young birds to head south from the prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan. However, conditions were better further to the north in Alaska and northwest Canada, where we expect at least average production occurred in 2021.
Locally, Oregon’s breeding western Canada goose flock continues to be robust, with surveys indicating counts 18% percent above the long-term survey average, driven by strong counts in eastern Oregon. Further north, goose populations breeding on the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska appear to be declining from highs observed during the past decades. In fact, small cackling geese (206,763) are now below their population objective of 250,000. While Pacific white-fronted geese are still well above their population objective of 300,000, their 3-year average population size (547,255) is the lowest observed since 2007. While snow goose populations have been very robust during the past decade, leading to very liberal regulations, biologists were not able to conduct any summer field work this year in Arctic Canada or Wrangel Island, Russia. However, we still expect a large flight of snow geese this fall. Hunters should be aware of new changes for the white goose regulations. The bag limit is now 20 per day, statewide, and during all days of the season, and all eastern Oregon counties now have a late-winter hunt opportunity (see the 2021-22 Oregon Game Bird Hunting Regulations).
What should hunters expect this fall for habitat conditions? Hunters should plan on the potential that their favorite hunting spots in eastern Oregon could be dry early in the season. We encourage hunters to make a scouting trip to their favorite spots or contact the appropriate land manager to determine if wetland conditions are conducive to waterfowl hunting. Additionally, some wetlands are reservoirs are at very low levels in western Oregon, and some areas may not be flooded until winter rains arrive. Please see more detailed habitat condition reports in the county-by-county section of this document.
Hunters should consider a mourning dove hunt this coming season. Although hunters will likely find the largest concentrations of doves in agricultural areas of eastern Oregon, huntable numbers can be found in most areas that are not heavily forested. This early-season hunt is a great way to introduce new and young hunters to wing-shooting since the weather is usually nice and no special equipment is needed. New for this year, the state has been divided into two dove hunting zones, using the same boundaries duck and snipe seasons. In Zone 1, western Orgon and the Columbia River counties in Eastern Oregon, the 60-day season was divided into two hunt periods, the month of September, and a 30-day period from mid-November through mid-December.
Like mourning doves, band-tailed pigeons are another of Oregon’s migratory upland game birds. The season is short, September 15 – 23, with a 2-bird daily limit. If you go, be sure to get your band-tailed pigeon permit first. Pigeons can be found in throughout forested areas of western Oregon and are typically hunted near food sources or at ridge-top passes. Look for pigeons in forest openings or timber cuttings feeding on elderberries or cascara.
Get HIP in 2021-22
Hunters are reminded that a free HIP validation is required to hunt any migratory game bird, including mourning doves, just as it is for waterfowl and other migratory game birds. Hunters who bought Sports Pac licenses also need to remember that they must first redeem their upland game bird and/or waterfowl vouchers for their upland game bird and/or waterfowl validations before they go hunting.
Upland game birds
Upland game bird hunters will find better than expected upland game bird populations, particularly in the Columbia Basin, Deschutes Basin and John Day drainages. While production was down this year, a mild winter resulted in good carryover from 2020. Upland game bird populations can vary greatly from year to year, primarily due to variable weather events and habitat conditions.
Eastern Oregon is experiencing a serious drought that has reduced water and cover, and has come with some extreme temperatures. Hunters will find upland birds using the remaining “green groceries” of the high desert, valuable wet meadows and riparian areas with abundant forage plants and insects. Southeastern Oregon is experiencing the most serious range conditions and hunters will likely see some reductions in chukar density, though quail appear to be unaffected.
Conditions improve somewhat to the north with the Blue Mountains, Columbia Basin and Deschutes Basin are reporting better than expected pheasant and chukar numbers. California quail appear to near the average. Biologists are reporting some very young chukar and quail broods, indicating some nest and brood loss earlier in the season, likely due to extreme temperatures.
Western Oregon was not immune to the abnormal heat of the summer of 2021, but birds in the forested environment were likely less impacted. We are expecting to see fewer chicks in the harvest this year due to reduced breeding effort, particularly in forest grouse. The Rogue District is reporting strong mountain quail turnout, while forest grouse appear to be in good shape up and down the Coast Range.
Here’s what our surveys found for upland bird species:
Eastern Oregon’s pheasant numbers are up in the Columbia Basin, including the Heppner, Mid-Columbia and Umatilla districts. Pheasant populations continue their long-term decline in the Malheur District, driven by reduced habitat more than environmental factors. Western Oregon pheasants remain in certain margins of agricultural land, but are generally difficult to find.
California (valley) quail populations seem relatively unaffected by drought conditions, despite their association with permanent water sources. Hunters may see fewer or younger chicks in the harvest this year. California quail are most abundant in Harney, Malheur, Grant, Heppner and the Mid-Columbia districts.
Chukar, known for their large annual population fluctuations, will likely have an average year with quite a bit of variation across the state. Similar to last year, we expect a strong showing in the northern drainages of eastern Oregon, including the Deschutes, John Day, Malheur, and the Baker portion of the Snake River. The Mid-Columbia, Harney and Baker districts are reporting especially strong chukar populations this year.
Forest grouse should be entering the increase phase of their population cycle in eastern Oregon, but conditions likely limited production this year. Hunters should find plenty of adult forest grouse in the Cascades and Coast range. Best bets for eastside forest grouse hunting are found in the Wallowa and Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon.
What’s new for regulations
- Fall turkey season opens Sept. 1 in those units overlapping Grant County, including the Ritter portion of the Hepper WMU.
- Split the mourning dove season into two geographic zones, and split the season in Zone 1 into two hunt periods.
- Increased the white goose daily bag limit to 20 per day, statewide, and during all days of the season.
- Changed the boundaries of the goose zones in eastern Oregon.
- Established late-winter hunt periods for white and white-fronted geese in all areas of eastern Oregon.
The statewide youth waterfowl season is Sept. 25-26. To participate, hunters must
- be 17 or younger,
- have successfully completed hunter education,
- have the proper hunting licenses, validations, and federal duck stamp for their age category, and
- be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 21 years of age or older.
In addition to the statewide youth season, several wildlife areas/refuges hold special youth waterfowl hunts, including Baskett Slough NWR Sept. 25 & 26, Fern Ridge WA Nov. 27 and Dec. 29, Klamath WA Oct. 23, Sauvie Island WA Oct. 30, Nov. 14, Dec. 11, Dec. 28 and Jan. 15. Tualatin River NWR Nov. 13, Nov. 21, Dec. 4, Dec. 12, Dec. 18, and Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 and Jan. 9, 2022. Umatilla NWR Nov. 13.
Some of these hunts may require advanced application and registration. See the current for more information.
There will be a youth chukar hunt, Oct. 23-24, on the Lower Klamath Hills Regulated Hunt Area. Advance registration is required. See the current for more information.
There are several free youth pheasant hunts around the state. ODFW and its partners stock pheasants at these special events, which are open to youth 17 and younger who have successfully completed hunter education. Learn more about the Youth Pheasant Hunt Program, and find specific event details. Pre-registration is required for most events.
- Sept. 11-12, Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (Eugene).
- Sept. 18-19, Denman Wildlife Area (Central Point), Klamath Wildlife Area (Klamath Falls), Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area (La Grande), Sauvie Island Wildlife Area (Portland).
- Sept. 18-19, Prairie City.
- Sept. 18-19, Madras (Central Oregon).
- Sept. 25-26, Coquille Valley Wildlife Area (Charleston), E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area (Monmouth), Irrigon Wildlife Area (Pendleton) and White River Wildlife Area (Tygh Valley).
- Oct. 16-17, Ontario.
- Oct. 23, Klamath Falls Wildlife Area (Klamath Falls).
Return wings and tails
Please return wings and tails of mountain quail and forest grouse; they provide important information about populations. Remove one entire wing and whole tail including small feathers. Place in paper collecting bags (your own or those provided at ODFW offices), one bird per bag. Mark the bag with the species, date taken, county where taken and general location taken. Drop it off at a designated collection sites (ODFW offices or collection barrels). Freeze the bag if you can’t drop it off right away.
Find more information, including a map of barrel locations.
Eastern Oregon upland game bird forecast
Upland game bird hunters should see a better than average year in Baker County. A mild winter and favorable spring conditions led to good chick production. Birds had good reproduction, chicks were of good size, and broods were generally large.
Quail seem to be still trying to recover from the hard winter of 2016-17 and their numbers have been down the last several years. Hunters should expect to see birds scattered in pockets of good habitat. A&H properties offer good upland hunting and access to public land.
Crook and Jefferson counties
Hunting opportunities are limited in central Oregon as most upland bird populations are on private lands. The best opportunities for doves will be at lower elevations, including private agricultural lands, and adjoining BLM and Crooked River National Grasslands. Mourning doves may use public lands for roosting and watering, and scouting these areas lands can help hunters locate these hunting opportunities.
Forest grouse inhabit the Ochoco National Forest, but are less abundant than in other parts of the state.
California quail prefer lower elevation brushy habitat, particularly near agricultural and riparian areas. Although most of these habitat types are on private lands, some public opportunity exists on BLM lands and at the Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area.
Upland game bird species are limited by the climate and available habitat in this district. Biologists believe most upland species nested successfully this year. Last winter‘s relatively mild conditions and favorable spring conditions contributed to a slight increase in upland bird populations.
California quail populations are healthy with most found on private lands. Remember to ask for permission before entering private lands.
Good forest grouse habitat is limited in the district but populations are stable, albeit at low numbers in the Cascade portion of the District. Drier than normal conditions may have changed distribution of grouse across the landscape.
Mountain quail are slowly increasing and are now legal to harvest. The daily bag limit for mountain quail in eastern Oregon is limited to two birds.
Trend counts for quail, turkey and chukar are all stable for the 2021 season while forest grouse were difficult to find in surveys. However, they tend to follow the same patter as other birds and are likely stable as well. While the area did experience a drought this year, it appears not to have affected gamebird production.
Turkey and chukar offer the best opportunities this season for upland hunters, with turkey widely distributed through the county. Turkeys tend to congregate in large numbers in the John Day Valley, Ritter area, and Monument during winter months. However, many of these birds are on private land so hunter must be sure to obtain permission before hunting. New for this year, within Grant County only, fall turkey opens Sept. 1. This change was implemented to allow hunters the opportunity to harvest turkeys on public lands before turkeys migrate to private lands.
The Philip W. Schneider Wildlife Area is open to the public and offers good bird hunting. Quail, both California and mountain, can be found in brushy and riparian areas throughout the county but hunters will have to work to flush them out of cover. Hunters will find grouse throughout the national forest with blue grouse on ridge tops, like Strawberry Mountain or Vinegar Hill, and ruff along brushy creek bottoms, like Murderers Creek or Camp Creek.
Upland bird game bird hunting in Harney County is expected to be average, but better than the past few seasons. Last winter was extremely mild and should not have impacted upland bird populations. This spring and summer have been exceptionally dry, however upland game bird populations appear to have been able to cope with the drought this year, apparently due to large hatches of grasshoppers throughout the summer. This appears to have resulted in fair production for most upland birds.
Chukar –Trend surveys found 114.7 birds/10 miles which is a 30 percent increase compared to last year and a 64 percent increase from the 10-year average. Production was only fair with 1.6 chicks/adult which is about 30 percent below the long-term average. Production appeared to be better in the southern part of the county than in the northern, potentially due to differences in insect populations, however the majority of chukars counted were in the northern part of the county.
California quail – Trend surveys found 28.9 birds/10 miles which represents a 10 percent decline from last year and is 10 percent below the 10-year average. Production was fair with 3.0 chicks/adult which is similar to the 10-year average. Quail populations appear to have increased on public lands in comparison to last year while declining in agricultural areas.
Pheasants -- Most pheasant hunting opportunity is found on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. No formal surveys are conducted, but observations suggest that while some pheasant production occurred on the refuge, habitat conditions are extremely poor due to drought.
Klamath and Lake counties
In Klamath and Lake counties persistent drought had substantial impacts to localized populations.
The best areas for forest grouse are on the Fremont-Winema National Forest or private timberland that’s open to public access. Look for blue grouse along ridge tops in more open forest habitats in both Klamath and Lake counties, and ruffed grouse along riparian areas in the Cascade Mountains. There are very few ruffed grouse in Lake County.
Remember there is a two-bird bag limit for mountain quail in eastern Oregon. In Lake County, California quail appeared have had a better year than expected, with most birds occurring on private land. Brood counts are high in most of the valleys within the county. Klamath county brood observations also indicate good nesting success.
Identify this species and its habitatocus around agricultural areas and forest openings where food sources are abundant. Ask permission to hunt private lands. Be sure of your identification before you hunt these birds, which are smaller and darker than the Eurasian collared dove.
California quail production was fair on Summer Lake Wildlife Area and should provide good hunting opportunities. The northern portions of the wildlife area along Thousand Springs Lane (Lake Co. Rd. 4-17) up towards Lake View Lane (Lake Co. Rd. 4-18) and homestead sites such as the Turner Place are the best places to find quail.
In Lake County, the best chukar hunting opportunities are along the desert rims such as Diablo, Coglan, Abert and Coleman in the southeast portion of the county. Many places that historically have held chukar in the county are very dry and birds may be difficult to find. Think outside the box when pursuing chukar this year in Lake County While there are very few Hungarian partridge in Lake County they are generally found in open rolling grasslands.
Wild turkey are distributed throughout the southern portion of the Keno Unit in Klamath County. Several transplants and natural production have resulted in a slight increase of birds on the landscape available for the spring turkey season. There is no fall turkey season in Klamath or Lake county. In Lake County, turkey numbers are very low and many of the birds are located on private lands
Wild pheasant numbers remain at extremely low levels. Unlimited Pheasants will be releasing pheasants at Klamath Wildlife Area and selected private lands open to the public. The Summer Lake Wildlife Area doesn’t release pheasants, and wild pheasant populations on the wildlife area, already very low, appear to be down this year with very few broods having been observed.
Last winter was very mild and dry. This was good for over winter survival for upland bird, but lack of late winter/early spring moisture was not good for providing good quality forage for pre-nesting hens.
Chukar - Surveys on established routes yielded 25 birds per 10 miles, this is a 14 percent decrease from last year and 47 percent below the 10-year average of 46 birds per 10 miles. Brood production was good at 11.1 chicks per brood but total number of brood classified was significantly lower than previous years.
Pheasant - Surveys along established routes yielded 3.9 birds per 10 miles, a 9 percent decrease in number of birds observed from last year’s survey and 39 percent below the 10-year average. Chick production was great at 4.8 chicks per brood. Hunting prospects will vary depending on the farming practices in the area where you have permission to hunt. The outlying areas around Willow Creek and Vale have higher bird numbers than areas closer to Ontario and Nyssa.
There are very few public lands in the area available to pheasant hunters and the few parcels that are available tend to get hunted daily. One option for private lands access is the Cow Hollow fundraiser to benefit the Cow Hollow Park.
California quail - Surveys on established routes yielded 39 quail per 10 miles, a 24 percent increase from last year and 4 percent below the 10-year average. Production was good at 9.8 chicks per brood with most of the production observed in agricultural lands.
Mid-Columbia counties (Hood, Wasco, Sherman)
Upland counts remained the same or were above average for all species, with the exception of Hungarian or gray partridge (Hun) and mourning doves when compared to the 10-year trend data. The district experienced several fires early in the summer that effected upland habitat in Wasco County. Luckily the rest of the summer has been relatively quiet for fire activity. Always practice fire safety and check ahead for any restrictions on public lands before you head out.
Pheasants are not normally counted in large numbers in these counties. This year, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of pheasants counted compared to the 10-year average. Most pheasants observed on surveys this summer were in Sherman County, which is typical for the Mid-Columbia district.
Hunters can find pheasants in and around farmlands throughout Sherman and Wasco counties and they are mostly a private land hunting opportunity. There is some opportunity to hunt them on private lands through ODFW’s UCAP program. Call The Dalles field office at 541-296-4628 to learn more about this program. Some pheasants can be found on public land primarily around the breaks of the Deschutes and John Day river canyons.
Chukar hunting is the premier upland hunting opportunity in the Mid-Columbia district. Summer surveys indicated that the population is 69 percent higher than the 10-year average. Hunters can find chukar throughout The John Day and Deschutes River Canyons and they can be hunted on public lands within the river canyons. Popular access points include the Macks Canyon access road in the Deschutes, Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area and Cottonwood Canyon State Park in The John Day.
Hungarian partridge (Huns) have decreased 53 percent compared to the 10-year average. They are almost exclusively a private land hunting opportunity. Common habitat for Huns includes grasslands and heavy cover adjacent to farmlands. Hunters can also try hunting our UCAP properties for Huns.
Surveys indicate California quail populations are beginning to stabilize after the substantial decrease in count numbers in 2019. This year 401 birds were counted compared to 145 in 2019. This is only 4 percent less than number of birds counted last year. Quail are mostly associated with heavy cover adjacent to riparian areas.
Sooty and ruffed grouse can be found in forested portions of Hood River and Wasco County. There are relatively few grouse of either species throughout the Mid-Columbia district and are mainly concentrated in the Hood unit and the western part of the White River unit. Both species are counted in very low numbers during surveys in the Mid-Columbia district.
Hunters can find mountain quail in forested portions of the district. They are rarely counted on surveys, therefore it is difficult to report trends over time. Look for brushy areas that are two to 10 years post burn or timber harvest.
Turkey numbers are increasing throughout all three counties in the Mid-Columbia district. Turkey count data indicated an increase of 55 percent when compared to the 10-year average. The Maupin and Biggs units are included in the general Eastern Oregon season. Try hunting near canyon bottoms with good roosting trees. There is no longer a controlled fall turkey hunt in the White River unit.
Morrow, Gilliam and Wheeler counties
Most upland bird species counts were up from last year with pheasants and quail showing the largest increases. Chukar numbers are down, and hunters will find it a little harder to find chukars this year. Overall brood sizes were about average across all species. Hunters can access lands in the Upland Cooperative Access Program, the Heppner Regulated Hunt Area in this district for upland bird hunting. Also, see ODFW’s Columbia Basin Bird Hunting Guide for maps and other good information on the 250K acres open to public hunting.
The majority of upland hunting is on private land, so be sure to ask permission prior to hunting. Hunters looking for public land can access the Columbia Basin Wildlife Areas, including Power City, Irrigon, Coyote Springs and Willow Creek. Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge is also an option for upland hunting. See the attached document for refuge regulations.
Surveys indicate that the pheasant population is way down this year in Umatilla County, but data gathered outside of regular surveys indicate brood numbers to be fairly normal. California quail hunting in the county should be average this year also. Quail surveys indicate the population to be around 72 percent of the ten-year average. There are some Hungarian partridge and chukar in suitable habitat in the county but none were observed on surveys this year.
The best hunting opportunities are pheasant on the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area and forest grouse on national forests. Hunters should work ridge tops above 5,000 feet for blue grouse and stream corridors with heavy cover and water for ruffed grouse.
Ladd Marsh is open Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays Aug. 1 through Jan. 31.
It’s looking like we’ll have a moderate upland season out here on the Marsh. We are seeing good brood sizes but they’re few and far between. A historic drought has left Union County and the marsh with low numbers of broods.
Pheasants: Well, the season is almost here! We’ve completed our upland bird routes and have counted some very good-size broods around the area. We noted a wide range of sizes across the area, from a few weeks old to almost completely grown. We have high hopes for a good season even with these unseasonably dry conditions.
Mourning doves: It looks like another stellar year on Ladd Marsh for doves. We have seen very large numbers congregating around what little water we have left. The birds are either in the leave strips of grain or next to water…or transitioning between the two!
California quail: Our quail numbers are still down from years past but the brood size when we did find them was very good. Most are around the safety zone borders but I expect some folks will find a few birds scattered about.
With that said, upland game birds can be located throughout Ladd Marsh providing ample hunting opportunity for all. Grassland, fencerows, brush and areas adjacent to agricultural fields are good locations to key on -- but don’t overlook dry and receding wetlands. The wetland habitat provides more opportunity for pheasants than all the other areas combined.
All visitors, including hunters, must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits will be available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. All visitors are required to have an ODFW Wildlife Area Parking Permit to park on the wildlife area. Hunters receive a free parking permit with their hunting license. Parking permits are to be displayed on the vehicle dash. Learn more about ODFW’s Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program.
Please call the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area with any questions 541-963-4954.
Fire closures and associated access restrictions limited biologists’ ability to survey some areas this season. Mild winter and spring conditions were likely good for production; however, the drought conditions throughout the summer may have impacted brood survival due to limited forage resources.
In general, surveys for blue (dusky) and ruffed grouse indicate that blue grouse populations are still below the long-term average. Nevertheless, these species should provide fair opportunity during September and early October, especially in more heavily forested areas in the Snake River Unit.
Forest grouse hunters should be aware that there are vehicle restrictions and no camping allowed on Hancock forestlands during fire season.
Chukar remain abundant in more arid areas, specifically in patches of cheatgrass above the Imnaha River and on vegetated slopes along the Wenaha and Grande Ronde rivers.
Upland game bird hunting locations
See ODFW’s Columbia Basin Bird Hunting Guide for how to hunt the 250K acres open to hunters in the area. Also see ODFW’s Oregon Hunting Access Map and wildlife areas Summer Lake, Klamath, Lower Deschutes, Prineville Reservoir, Riverside and White River (Tygh Valley). Some private lands are accessible through the Access and Habitat program. Through ODFW's Upland Cooperative Access Program, hunters can access private land in Gilliam and Morrow counties in the Columbia Basin to hunt.
Eastern Oregon waterfowl forecast
Duck and goose hunting is expected to be similar to past years with a few resident birds available early in the season. More migrant birds will arrive later in the season and hunting should improve, especially in the Baker and Keating valleys. Almost all hunting is on private property, so be sure to ask permission before hunting. The Powder River from Baker City to Brownlee Reservoir offers the best waterfowl hunting.
Duck and geese hunting should be average local birds prior to freeze up. Due to historically low water levels, some areas may be high and dry for hunting season and access to waterfowl will be difficult in some areas.
Hunters hunting the upper Deschutes River area should remember that Deschutes County Ordinance prohibits the discharge of firearms in portions of the river between Sunriver and Fall River, see map.
Crook and Jefferson counties
Mallards and Canada geese are the most common waterfowl species in these counties. Hunting opportunities are limited due to the lack of wetlands and marshes, especially on public lands – but hunters could try hunting the limited BLM along the Crooked River or the Prineville Reservoir. Most of the better hunting is associated with private agricultural lands where gaining access can be difficult.
Grant County offers very limited waterfowl hunting opportunities due to lack of habitat -- it’s mostly jump shooting on private land along the John Day River.
Typically hunting is best in late fall and early winter and on agricultural lands. Be sure to get landowner permission before hunting private lands. Portions of Malheur National Wildlife Area are open to waterfowl hunting (see the Game Bird Hunting Regulations) though hunting success and access to hunting areas is dependent on water levels in Malheur Lake.
Early season usually is best for local and early migrant ducks. Hunting prospects will depend on Pacific Northwest weather systems moving birds into and around Klamath County before freeze-up.
Most goose hunting opportunities are for resident Canada geese, however there are some white-fronted, snow and Ross’s geese staging in the Klamath Basin prior to continuing south. Goose hunting should improve later into the season with freezing conditions, which tend to concentrate geese near open water areas. Area refuges and state managed wildlife areas, in addition to private lands, offer ample hunting opportunities.
The late goose season (Jan. 16-March 10, 2021) will again be open in all areas with the exception of Klamath Basin Refuges and Miller Island Unit at Klamath Wildlife Area. The hunt helps alleviate agricultural damage from large numbers of white-fronted, lesser snow and Ross’ geese.
Contact ODFW's Klamath Falls office at (541) 883-5732 for more information.
Klamath Wildlife Area – Miller Island Unit
The Miller Island Unit is open to hunting and public use daily through the end of September, except on the days reserved for youth waterfowl (Sept. 25-26) and upland hunts (Sept. 18-19). Hunters should expect good hunting for mourning doves early in the season and Canada geese during the September Canada Goose season (Sept. 11-15).
Opening weekend for general waterfowl and pheasant hunting seasons is Oct. 9 (reservation only) and Oct. 10. Hunt days are then every following Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from October-December and open every day in January during authorized gamebird seasons. Upland bird hunting opens at 10 a.m. during waterfowl season (see regulations for details). After Oct. 15, pheasants will be released in subunits A and C of the Miller Island Unit.
A daily hunting permit is required, and hunters shall be in possession of permit while in the field. Check out is required. Daily hunt permits are available at the check station located on the North side of Miller Island Rd. just west of the railroad tracks.
Early season is usually best for local and early migrant birds, and hunters can expect to find abundant gadwalls and mallards on the wildlife area.
Goose hunting should improve later in the season with geese using frozen ponds for loafing and the small grain fields for forage.
There is a special youth waterfowl and upland bird hunt on Oct. 23 when the unit is open only to hunters age 17 and younger. Hunt hours are the same as during the general season. Hunters must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older, who may not hunt. Reservations are not required for this hunt. See page 26 of the Oregon Game Bird Regulations.
Currently water availability for opening weekend and the first part of the zone 2 seasons are still unknown at this time.
Contact ODFW’s Klamath Wildlife Area at (541)883-5732 for more information.
Over 60 percent of this almost 19,000-acre area is open for game bird hunting during authorized seasons. Hunting is permitted 7 days per week and a free daily hunting permit is required. Hunting permits are available at Headquarters. Hunters should be aware the wildlife area is not open during the September Canada goose season.
In most years, a fair number of mourning doves can be found early in September but they typically move south once cooler fall weather conditions arrive. The best areas to hunt on the wildlife area are from Thousand Spring Lane (Lake Co. Rd. 4-17) north toward Lake View Lane (4-18) and old homestead sites such as the Turner Place.
Waterfowl hunting conditions should be good across most of the wildlife area. Water supplies have been fairly good, but some areas may be slow to flood-up due to growing season management actions. Gold Dike Impoundment and the area South of Gold Dike will start flooding within the next week but may not be completely full by waterfowl opener. However, moist-soil annual plants should produce abundant seed sources in some areas. Summer Lake proper has been low most of the summer with most water found along the NE corner of the lake.
The early portion of the waterfowl season is usually best for local and early migrant birds, and hunters can expect to find abundant dabbling ducks such as green-winged teal, gadwall, shoveler, wigeon, pintail and mallards on the wildlife area. Waterfowl production was fairly strong this year, with good numbers of Canada goose, gadwall, mallard and cinnamon teal broods being observed throughout summer.
Regular season goose hunting should be fair for locally produced Canada geese. Canada goose hunting should improve later in the season with freezing conditions, which tend to concentrate geese near open water. In an attempt to reduce harvest pressure on the rarer Tule white-fronted goose, the daily bag limit in Lake County is one.
Most snow geese staging at Summer Lake Wildlife Area are from Wrangel Island, Russia. Production this year is unknown at this time, but the population has been on a recent upward trend. Typically, good production results in favorable hunting success due to the large number of juveniles. When production is low, hunting for the more wary adults is difficult.
A large portion of this population is either wintering in NW Washington/SW British Columbia, along the Columbia River or staying on northern (Alberta) staging grounds until late in the fall when they are pushed south by winter weather. Unfortunately, these geese migrating out of Canada are now by bypassing traditional staging areas such as Summer Lake on their way to California.
Recently, staging numbers at the wildlife area appear to have stabilized at around 5-6,000 birds. Favorable weather conditions will be necessary to encourage large numbers of geese to stage in the basin, reduce overflights to wintering areas further south, and create favorable hunting conditions.
Closure: Access to hunting areas south of Thousand Springs Lane (Lake Co. Rd 4-17, except the Foster Place) will be prohibited from Sept. 28 until 4:00 am on opening day (Oct. 5). This seven-day closure will reduce disturbance to staging waterfowl and improve hunter success. Campgrounds and open roads will remain available for use.
Many of the desert ponds dried up this summer because of mild winter conditions and very little precipitation, but those ponds that held water through the summer had fair duck and goose production. Desert ponds are also a good opportunity for early season jump shooting. Jordan Valley provides an excellent opportunity for September Canada goose hunting. Hunters need to get permission to hunt private lands.
Fair waterfowl hunting is available in the Treasure Valley (agricultural areas near the Snake River in the vicinity of Ontario, Adrian and Nyssa) most of the season, and improves significantly during cold weather events. Cold weather events reduce open water, concentrating birds and increasing the time spent foraging. Field hunting for both geese and ducks can be good for hunters willing to spend the time and effort to secure access to private land.
Mid-Columbia District (Wasco, Sherman and Hood Counties)
Duck hunting is mostly jump shooting on private lands and should offer good opportunity where available. Goose hunting opportunities in wheat fields should be good later in the season with most access via private land. Some private land access can be found through Upland Cooperative Access Program lands in Sherman County.
The Columbia River is open for hunting and provides some opportunities for hunters up to Arlington. Access will primarily be by boat. For more information contact ODFW in The Dalles at 541-296-4628. Note that hunting is not allowed on most Corps of Engineers property.
Umatilla and Morrow counties
Hunting prospects depend on weather conditions. If the region does not experience a real winter, many of the northern migrants will stay in Washington. The best hunting is usually later in the season (late November) after some weather pushes birds down northern areas. The Columbia River is usually the best opportunity for hunters on public land, but those who can access irrigated circles in northern Morrow County usually get good goose hunting.
Habitat in the Columbia Basin still supports large numbers of wintering Canada geese and the number of snow geese wintering in this area has greatly increased in recent years. Waterfowl hunters should not forget about the Columbia Basin Wildlife Areas (Power City, Irrigon, Coyote Springs, Willow Creek). Food crops were planted and ponds have been enhanced, all of which will make conditions better for waterfowl hunting.
Duck and goose hunting is expected to be similar to last year. Dry conditions have left fewer broods overall. Early water could make exceptional waterfowl hunting at the start of the season. Limited public lands make Union County difficult to find waterfowl hunting opportunities. Ladd Marsh can be great waterfowl hunting at certain times throughout the season.
Well, we’re all hoping for significant precipitation in the near future. If it doesn’t come soon, our available huntable water is going to be minimal. We have a couple ponds on the area that are still holding water and a good number of birds but they are shrinking by the day.
Overall duck production in our area seems to be down probably due to the weather. Geese seemed to fair well. Mallards are taking the top spot by a vast majority but some random birds are being seen around the area. Last week a canvasback was around, which is very rare for us out here! That said, cross your fingers for precipitation and check back, or call for water updates as the season gets closer!
Hunters should call the office at 541 963 4954 to get a current update on water levels or plan to make a trip out on one of the open days prior to the hunting season to scout out potential locations.
All visitors including hunters must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. The Wildlife Area is closed 10 p.m. - 4 a.m. daily, and There is no camping on the wildlife area. Both of these rules include area parking lots. Violators will be asked to leave and may be cited.
Waterfowl hunting should be similar to previous few years. Expect good hunting opportunities later in the fall and early winter when migrating birds arrive. The few resident geese Canada geese in the district have fared well, too. Most hunting is decoy hunting in agricultural fields, and jump shooting irrigation ditches so be sure to get landowner permission before hunting.
Waterfowl hunting locations
Explore bird hunting locations using ODFW’s Oregon Hunting Access Map. ODFW's Summer Lake and Klamath wildlife areas are major winter staging areas for waterfowl and provide great hunting opportunities. Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area provides opportunities in northeast Oregon. Some private lands are accessible through the Access and Habitat program. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.
Western Oregon upland game bird forecast
Fee pheasant hunting at wildlife areas
ODFW stocks pheasants at these western Oregon wildlife areas as there are few natural pheasants in the region. To hunt, you need a license, upland bird validation, HIP validation and $17 western Oregon fee pheasant permit. The bag limit is two roosters. See regulations for more details.
- E.E. Wilson, Monmouth: Sept. 27-Oct.31
- Fern Ridge, Eugene: Sept. 13-Oct. 10 (East and West Coyote, Fisher Butte and Royal Amazon Units)
- Sauvie Island, Portland: Sept. 20-Oct. 3 (Eastside Unit)
- Denman, Central Point: Sept. 20-Oct. 8
Weather conditions in spring and early summer can be a primary driver for upland bird chick survival. This spring and summer were relatively warm and dry, so chick survival should have been good. Considering Coos County has had pretty good conditions for chick survival for most of the past several years, overall abundance of mountain quail, California quail and ruffed grouse is good.
Sooty (blue) grouse, however, appear to be in a long-term decline that is not likely due to weather conditions. Hunters should not expect to find many of these birds in the woods of Coos County. Insects tend to be a primary food resource for young upland birds in the early part of the hunting season when they are growing plumage and bones. Grouse hunters will often find them on closed forest roads or near creek bottoms.
Coos County had another good year of quail production, and brood survival appears to have been good, as well. Based on surveys, California quail broods are at about six chicks per brood and mountain quail are at about eight chicks per brood. These are pretty good brood sizes for the Oregon coast. Hunters will find the best mountain quail hunting near ridge tops, rocky outcroppings on hillsides and around the periphery of clear-cuts. California quail (aka valley quail) are generally found near private agricultural lands for the most part.
Wild turkey populations have been increasing steadily for the past several years. Turkey broods are at about five poults per brood, which is pretty good for the Oregon coast and may explain increasing turkey populations in the county. Hunters will find most turkeys in and around private agricultural lands, which is their traditional habitat choice. However, one of the best ways to locate wild turkeys is to cruise forest roads looking for tracks, droppings and feathers. With the apparent expansion of turkeys locally, searching for birds in forest lands adjacent to agricultural lands is worth the time spent.
Douglas County hunters should see a good year for mountain and California quail. Surveys showed brood production/survival was above the five-year average. Also, observations after the survey period indicate good brood survival and plenty of coveys, especially on the west side of the county.
Unfortunately, grouse did not seem to fair as well. Counts were below the five-year average for the county. However, in some mid-elevation Cascade locations blue grouse appear to have better production/survival than other populations.
California quail will be difficult for most hunters to focus on because they are primarily found on low elevation private property. Sometimes they can be found in lower elevation industrial timber property near agricultural areas. Make sure you know the property ownership and if they allow access.
Mountain quail hunters should be targeting open habitats at mid-elevations. Clear-cuts around 3-6 years old provide great habitat on industrial timber property. On federal lands hunters should be looking looking for natural openings and areas with shrubs or low-growing vegetation in open timber stands.
Blue grouse hunting is best in mid to high elevations of the Cascades in partially open timber stands and edges between habitat types (old fires, meadows and timber thinnings).
Ruffed grouse can be found near creeks and overgrown roads mostly at mid-elevations of both the Cascades and Coast ranges.
Check local fire restrictions and closures before going hunting for the first couple months, the county is under drought conditions and high fire danger. As of this writing, almost all private industrial timber lands are closed and there are several closures on BLM and Forest Service property in Douglas County.
Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties
Trend surveys suggest mountain quail numbers are continuing to increase. Ruffed grouse and sooty grouse numbers both increased from previous years. As always turkey numbers are very good in southern Oregon and are likely on the increase in many areas in Jackson and Josephine County.
This was a good year for upland game birds in the Rogue District. Hunting for mountain quail and grouse should be good. Turkeys had another good hatch and should be very abundant especially at lower elevations on private land. Dove numbers seem to be similar this year in the Rogue Valley compared to past years, while band-tailed pigeon numbers this year are on the rise from previous years. Sooty grouse counts were up this season as well.
Mountain quail are widely distributed throughout this district and are usually found near brush fields, old clear-cuts, and at higher elevations among manzanita and scree. Ruffed grouse are found in middle elevation mixed conifer and deciduous forests, near water sources. Sooty grouse prefer higher elevation habitat consisting of a mix of large conifer trees, old growth timber and meadows. Some dove hunting is available on the Denman Wildlife Area in agricultural fields or in dry brushy areas. However harvest success drops quickly after the first few days of the season or after the first colder temperatures arrive on the valley floor. Band-tailed pigeons are usually found at high elevations feeding on elderberries or acorns. They are a shy bird and can provide a more challenging hunt.
Hunters should be aware of fire season closures on private timber lands in Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties. Check the latest fire closure information before heading out into the field. The Denman Wildlife Area will host a Youth Pheasant Hunt on Sept. 18 and 19, and a Fee Pheasant Hunt from Sept. 20-Oct. 8. Birds will be stocked randomly during this period and the Denman Wildlife Area does not provide a stocking calendar for pheasant release. Hunters new to hunting the wildlife area are encouraged to call Clayton Barber (Denman Wildlife Area Manager) at 541-857-2397.
Mid-Coast (Lincoln and western Lane counties)
Quail populations appear to be at moderate densities. Hunt for mountain quail in brushy clear-cuts and near gravel roads, but realize they’ll get hard to find once the fall rains begin.
Grouse appear to be at a lower production rate so densities may be below average this year. Ruffed grouse are usually found along streams or closed forest roads. They can also be found in well-developed or older forest areas. Blue (sooty) grouse are rare and are found only at the highest elevations.
North Coast (Clatsop and Tillamook counties)
Ruffed grouse, blue (sooty) grouse and mountain quail are present in the northern coast range in moderate densities. This season is likely to be better than average for sooty grouse and quail with fair numbers of ruffed grouse. Much of June was dry and had good green up that likely led to above average survival for early broods, plus good numbers of adults held over after last winter.
Ruffed grouse are usually found along riparian areas and mid-slopes, while blue grouse prefer high-elevation ridges. Mountain quail frequent brushy clear-cuts, especially those along south- and west-facing slopes.
North Willamette (Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia, Yamhill and Marion counties)
Dry spring conditions, like those experienced this year, typically improve clutch survival for many upland bird species. It’s unknown whether drought conditions have impacted forage availability for juveniles of some species, but hunters should be able to expect larger clutch sizes this hunting season. Anecdotally, there are many coveys of quail being observed across the North Willamette and surveys for band-tailed pigeon and grouse had similar counts to last year.
Scattered flocks of pigeons can be found when walking roads in conifer forest, but can also be found in association with oak woodlands. If you’re thinking of hunting band-tailed pigeon for the first time, be mindful of the short season window. Hunters will also need to purchase an additional permit.
Sooty grouse detections during spring surveys across the North Willamette Watershed were similar to last year, however weather conditions have likely been more favorable for recruitment than was last year. Access was a major hurdle to many hunters last year, and early season hunting will likely be no different this year with many areas still closed to the public, either from the 2020 wildfires or high fire danger on private timber lands. Later in the season as extreme fire conditions wane, more private lands should be available for access.
Hunters looking to harvest both ruffed and sooty (blue) grouse should concentrate their efforts in the Cascade Mountains for the best chance of success. Ruffed grouse prefer the brushy cover along riparian areas and sooty grouse can be found on the higher elevation ridgelines. An effective hunting strategy can be hiking along ridgelines or open slopes near timber and bodies of water in the early morning or late evening, since grouse typically spend the warm afternoon hours in trees high off the ground.
Mountain quail are commonly found in or around 2 to 5-year-old clear-cuts in the coastal mountains, but populations are less robust in the northern coast range. Covering lots of ground in newer clear-cuts with a well-trained dog should help hunters find a few scattered coveys of mountain quail. California quail are abundant on agriculture lands and timber lands.
Turkey hunting in much of the North Willamette area is nearly non-existent with only a few small scattered flocks. However, turkey populations in the southwest portion of the district continue to slowly increase, though they are still very small compared to other areas of the state. Most turkey hunting opportunities are on private land and hunters will need to secure permission to hunt well before the season opens.
There are similar numbers of mourning doves around this year as to last year. Water may be a limiting factor in some areas. However, the new split season will provide hunters a chance at the late push of birds driven south with changing weather.
South Willamette (Marion, Polk, Linn, Lane and Benton counties)
Blue grouse and ruffed grouse are relatively common in forest habitat. California quail are common on the valley floor but most hunting occurs on private lands and hunters will need to obtain permission from landowners. The north and central Cascades are generally not great mountain quail areas but birds can be found in some of the brushy areas created by clear-cut logging or wildfires.
The unseasonably dry spring may result in higher-than-normal chick survival this year. We suspect this year could be a good year for upland game birds.
Upland game bird hunting locations
Explore Oregon’s Hunting Access Map for bird hunting locations; use the upland bird range map. ODFW’s wildlife areas Sauvie Island (Portland), EE Wilson (Monmouth), Fern Ridge (Eugene) and Denman (Central Point) offer bird hunting; see regulations for details. Some industrial private forest lands are accessible through the Access and Habitat Program; the Jackson TMA has grouse and quail; and the East Lane TMA offers good grouse hunting opportunities. National forestland and some state forests also offer bird hunting opportunities. Much opportunity in the region is on private properties; hunters will need to get permission.
Western Oregon waterfowl forecast
Dry conditions this summer would have had a negative effect on waterfowl production in the local area. We expect waterfowl numbers in the Pacific Flyway to be high enough to produce good hunting and much of the good hunting locally will be on migrating birds moving in from the north. As waterfowl begin their southward migration those that arrive early on the Oregon Coast will concentrate in the lower portions of bays and estuaries. These birds will begin to disperse into inland valleys as increasing rain inundates agricultural fields later in the season. So, for the hunter who will be hunting public land, the early portion of the season can be the most productive on the coast.
The entire Coquille Valley Wildlife Area is open to public access. After several years of habitat restoration on the Winter Lake tract, waterfowl numbers are beginning to increase as local ducks and geese discover these new food sources. As fall precipitation inundates fields with water, and more waterfowl migrate in to the county, there should be good hunting in late fall on CVWA.
Hunters need to be aware there are channels throughout the Winter Lake tract that have very steep sides and at high tide may be deep enough to go over chest waders. Also, as the tide changes there may be a current in the channels that could make crossing them challenging. Hunters should wear PDFs when crossing the channels or, in most cases, not try to cross the channels at all.
These channels are part of a habitat improvement project designed to establish an intertidal connection between Coquille River the and the Winter Lake tract.
Hunters who want to hunt CVWA need to fill out a permit daily. Permits are available at the access point located along North Bank Road. Each hunter must fill out their own permit. Please do not take more than one permit per hunter from the box.
The Ni’Les-tun and Bandon Marsh Units of the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge near Bandon will have areas open for waterfowl hunting. Waterfowl numbers in these areas can be quite good early in the season.
Geese will concentrate on private pastures around river valleys. Canada goose populations have been growing over the past few years. Good goose hunting can be found in most of the county. The key to a successful hunt is prior scouting for areas where geese are going to feed or rest.
Nearly all waterfowl hunting in the Umpqua Valley is on private property and hunters are reminded to get landowner permission before hunting. Many agricultural landowners along the valley floor are seeing significant damage to fields from increases in Canada goose populations over the recent years. Many landowners and managers have been welcoming hunters to help them reduce this damage. Plat-I Reservoir, Ben Irving Reservoir and Galesville Reservoir have areas set aside for hunting waterfowl. Hunters need to be familiar with Douglas County and Sutherlin Water Control District regulations for access times and watercraft use on these reservoirs. The Umpqua River and its tributaries also offer great waterfowl hunting in the Umpqua Valley.
Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties
Hunting success will depend on local weather and water conditions, and on weather conditions to the north. Storm systems in northern Oregon and Washington push birds south to our area. Waterfowl hunting on the Denman Wildlife Area is usually best during December and January.
Local Canada geese should be very abundant for the September goose season and throughout the general season. The Rogue River is a good place to hunt during the September goose season as well as on the Hall Tract of the Denman Wildlife Area.
The Denman Wildlife Area is dependent on rain to flood fields, and hunters can call 541-857-2397 to check on the status of flooding. Hunters should remember that after Nov. 1 the Hall Tract of the DWA is only open on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Military Slough and Modoc Units are open all days of the general season.
North and Mid-Coast (Clatsop, Tillamook and Lincoln counties)
Early duck hunting should be fair to good on coastal bays. A mix of ducks (mainly wigeon, pintails, mallards and divers) should be available in larger north and mid-coast estuaries, such as the lower Columbia River and Tillamook, Nestucca, Nehalem, Siletz, Alsea, and Siuslaw Bays. In recent years, the numbers of ducks on these estuaries tends to be greater earlier in the season, especially teal, with numbers diminishing by December. However, numbers and distribution can change on a yearly basis and success can be good in these areas into January.
With the onset of storms comes the best waterfowl hunting on the coast. Stormy weather moves birds off the bays and into more sheltered waters where they can be hunted more effectively. However, when there is too much rain, birds move into agricultural areas where hunting cover tends to be limited or nonexistent. Another excellent time to hunt the coast is during cold spells when some inland waters are ice-covered.
Goose hunters, don’t forget to purchase your annual NW goose permit. Goose hunting should be good all along the north coast during the September goose season as production of local geese (westerns) was good again this year. Migratory geese should also be available in high numbers for hunters during the traditional NW Permit Goose seasons. On the mid-coast, opportunities for goose hunting are limited to the estuaries or private agricultural land.
North Willamette (Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia, Yamhill and Marion counties)
The drought will have an impact on the productivity of early season waterfowl hunting. Resident birds will support early season hunting opportunities where water is still being held, but once those birds become wary there may be a lull until birds start flying south. Migrating waterfowl will also be impacted by drought conditions both in terms of water availability and available forage. If there aren’t adequate places to forage then those flying south may continue south without stopping very long.
Regardless of the year finding locations to hunt in the North Willamette is difficult without access to private lands. Hunters without this access should explore opportunities to hunt waterfowl along the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Multiple hunting opportunities along the Willamette River can be located in the Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Marine Board’s Willamette River Recreation Guide. The majority of these sites are only accessible by boat but there are several locations that can be reached from local roadways.
Hunters should review the Oregon Department of State Lands website for information concerning the use of Oregon’s waterways and the land underlying and adjacent to them. You will additional information concerning waterfowl hunting can be found in the state and federal refuge areas regulations in the Oregon Game Bird Regulations.
Waterfowl hunting on Sauvie Island Wildlife Area should be slightly below average this year with waterfowl populations at a relatively high level but a lack of water due to the drought conditions. The best hunting is usually during colder weather when birds are pushed south from Alaska and Canada.
The wildlife area’s crop production was mediocre this year because of the lack of summer rains. All hunt units will have some flooded areas on opening day of general waterfowl season. Ongoing work on wetland and food resources on the wildlife area will continue to improve hunting in future years.
The Northwest Permit Goose Season will be open this year on the Wildlife Area, but only for white geese (Ross and snow). Dark goose hunting will remain closed on Sauvie Island Wildlife Area except for the September season.
If you are new to waterfowl hunting on Sauvie Island, see our Beginners Guide to Waterfowl Hunting on Sauvie Island.
Special youth waterfowl hunts for hunters age 17 and younger Oct. 30, Nov. 14, Dec. 11 and 28 and Jan. 15, 2022. See the Game Bird Regulations for details.
South Willamette (Marion, Polk, Linn, Lane and Benton counties)
Prospects for waterfowl hunting will be good if the district gets some rain to flood feeding areas when the birds come down from the north. The Willamette River offers good duck hunting for those with the proper boat. Goose hunting occurs throughout the valley but hunters will want to obtain permission to hunt private lands or hunt properties enrolled in the Open Field Program that allow access for goose hunting. A map of those properties can be found at www.OregonHuntingMap.com or at the ODFW website.
The wildlife area experienced dry winter and spring seasons. Very similar to last year, we are well below normal rainfall amounts. This has resulted in very low reservoir levels and will impact wildlife area operations this fall. Wetland cells are currently dry and many of our pumps do not have access to water. Wetland cells can only be filled with rainfall so early season duck hunting opportunities will likely be impacted without substantial fall rains. Expect the Fisher Butte and Royal Amazon Units to be completely dry for opening day of waterfowl season.
Waterfowl hunters applying for the reservation hunt should consider applying for dates later in the season when rainfall is likely to improve water conditions. Hunters participating in our September and October fee pheasant hunt should also expect dry conditions. Make sure to bring water for your dogs as water will be scarce on much of the wildlife area.
Please contact FRWA headquarters at 541-935-2591 for more details and other information.
The wildlife area can be productive for duck hunting later in the season, as winter rains fill wildlife area ponds. In October, the area has little water available for duck hunting and disturbance from the fee pheasant hunt likely reduces waterfowl use of the available wetlands.
Waterfowl hunting locations
Sauvie Island (Portland), EE Wilson (Monmouth), Denman Wildlife Area (near Central Point) and Fern Ridge (Eugene) wildlife areas offer bird hunting. On the North Coast you can hunt around estuaries on the coast and in the lower Columbia River; call ODFW’s Tillamook Office for more information or try ODF for a map that shows public and private lands. The Willamette River has some decoy and drifting opportunities; see the Oregon Department of State Lands website.
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