Pheasant hunt

Bird hunting the Columbia Basin state wildlife areas

State Wildlife Areas available for bird hunting in the Columbia Basin. Part 2 of a 4 part series of articles.

Table of contents

Part 1: Columbia Basin Bird Hunting Guide - An Introduction
Part 2: Bird Hunting the Columbia Basin State Wildlife Areas (you are here)
Part 3: Bird Hunting the Columbia Basin Federal Wildlife Refuges
Part 4: Public Access to Private Land for Bird Hunters in the Columbia Basin

Columbia Basin Wildlife Areas (WAs)

Coyote Springs, Irrigon, Power City, Willow Creek, Lower Deschutes 

All five wildlife areas are located in the Columbia Basin Unit.

  • Open 7 days a week; no entry permit required to hunt.
  • No entry between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. except in designated parking areas.
  • Federally approved, non-toxic shot only- except for deer hunters using slugs or buckshot. No big game hunting at Coyote Springs WA.
  • No leaving decoys out overnight (10 p.m. through 4 a.m.) or placing waterfowl hunting sites closer than 200 yards apart.
  • Open fires are prohibited.


Coyote Springs (part of Columbia Basin WA)

  • 160 acres of agricultural, grassland, shrub, and seasonal wetlands with some open water at times. Centrally located within the Port of Morrow Regulated Hunt Area boundary.
  • Species to hunt: California quail, pheasant, duck, mourning dove. No big game hunting allowed.
  • Walk-in access. Motor vehicle use restricted to public access road and parking area.
  • No restrooms or ADA facilities.
  • Directions: I-84 to exit 165. North on Laurel Rd. Go east on Columbia Ave for about 1/2 a mile and then southeast on Rippee Rd for less than a mile to WA entry sign and only access road.


Irrigon (part of Columbia Basin WA)

  • 979 acres along the south shore of the Columbia River spanning from the City of Irrigon to the Umatilla River.
  • 7 miles of riparian habitat along the Columbia River shoreline plus upland habitats of sagebrush-steppe, shrub, grassland, and small agricultural food/cover plots. Scattered wetlands (perennial and seasonal) within the interior of the WA.
  • Species to hunt: California quail, pheasant, duck, geese, mourning dove, deer.
  • Walk-in and boat access. Motor vehicle use restricted to public access roads and parking areas.
  • No restrooms or ADA facilities.
  • Directions: Numerous access points located along Hwy 730 between the City of Irrigon and the Umatilla River.


Power City (part of Columbia Basin WA)

  • 100 acres split between grassland and wetland (seasonal/perennial) habitats.
  • Species to hunt: California quail, pheasant, mourning dove, duck, deer.
  • Walk-in access. Motor vehicle use restricted to public access road and parking area.
  • No restrooms or ADA facilities.
  • Directions: From junction of Hwy 395 and Hwy 730, travel south approx 1.5 miles. Turn east onto Bensel Rd and travel a quarter mile to parking area entrance.


Willow Creek (part of Columbia Basin WA)

  • 646 acres of primarily grassland, shrub/sagebrush- steppe and agricultural habitats. Various wetland habitats throughout the WA, including about 1.5 miles of the Willow Creek arm of the Columbia River.
  • Species to hunt: California quail, pheasant, duck, geese, mourning dove, deer.
  • Walk-in and boat access. Motor vehicle use restricted to public access road and parking area.
  • No restrooms or ADA facilities.
  • Directions: From I-84, take exit 151 and turn south on Three-mile Canyon Rd. After half a mile, turn right at the WA sign onto a narrow gravel road. Follow green and yellow signs approx 4.5 miles to the WA parking lot.


Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area

  • 18,700 acres in Biggs Unit along the Deschutes River, running from a quarter mile from the confluence with the Columbia River upriver 40 miles.
  • Species to hunt: chukar and California quail most popular; also pheasant, duck, geese, deer. Hunting allowed above the cable crossing (rivermile 1).
  • Open year-round 7 days a week.
  • No discharge of firearms from the third Saturday in May through August 31st within the Deschutes Scenic corridor.
  • Walk-in and boat access.
  • Camping allowed along the Deschutes River; restrooms at area; no ADA facilities.
  • Directions: I-84 to Celilo-Wasco Hwy exit. Travel approximately 3 miles. Turn right into the Deschutes River State Recreation Area.


White River Wildlife Area 

• 30,000 acres of sagebrush and grasslands along with pine, oak, and Douglas fir habitats across different parcels in White River Unit.
• Species to hunt: big game (deer, elk, bear, cougar), upland birds (turkey most abundant, also mountain and California quail, pheasant, forest grouse, mourning dove). Also predatory spp (coyote & calif. ground squirrel). Western grey squirrels popular as well.
• Open year-round 7 days a week, with some restrictions.
• Walk-in and limited motor vehicle access. Road closure Dec. 1-March 31.
• Camping allowed in designated camp sites. No restrooms or ADA facilities.
• ATV’s prohibited.
• Directions: From The Dalles, travel 34 miles south on Hwy 197 to the blinking light at Tygh Valley. Turn right into Tygh Valley and follow the signs to Wamic on Wamic Market Rd. Continue straight ahead on Dodson Rd (rather than following the sharp curve). Continue on Dodson Road through three 90º turns. Turn left on the gravel road 1/4 mile past the last curve, and continue 1.5 miles to the cattleguard and area signs. The WA headquarters is located a half mile past the cattleguard.
• More information: www.oregonhuntingmap.com for map; Oregon Big Game and Game Bird Regulations; White River Wildlife Area, 78430 Dodson Road, Tygh Valley, tel. 541-544-2126.


Wanaket Tribal Wildlife Area

• 2,700 acres of wetland and upland habitat managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in the Columbia Basin Unit.
• Species to hunt: geese, duck, coot, snipe, pheasant and California quail. No big game hunting allowed.
• Hunting is allowed only on Wednesdays and Saturdays during authorized seasons.
• Waterfowl hunting permitted by daily drawing held one hour before published shooting hours.
• Upland bird hunting allowed only after noon; no drawing but upland bird hunters must possess and return self-serve permit.
• Shotguns only; use and possession limit of 25 shells per day; non-toxic shot only.
• Walk in and restricted motor vehicle access. No boats allowed.
• No camping or fires. ADA accessible blinds available. No restrooms.
• Directions: Located 2 miles east of junction of Hwys 730 and 395. Hunter check station is located on the south side of Hwy 730 just past beach access road.
• For more information: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, http://www.umatilla.nsn.us/ wanaket.html; tel. 541-276-3447.

Header photo by Dave Budeau 

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