Statewide

Legal hunting methods and weapon restrictions

April 6, 2020

Legal hunting weapons and weapon restrictions for hunting big game and game birds in Oregon.

 Species specific weapon restrictions for big game

DEER, PRONGHORN, BLACK BEAR, COUGAR

Minumum centerfire caliber
(rifles and handguns)
.22 caliber
Minimum muzzleloading caliber .40 caliber: round ball or legal bullet
#1 or larger buckshot allowed for deer,
bear and cougar
Shotgun #1 or larger buckshot or slugs
Archery: long, recurve, compound bow 40 pound minimum draw weight

ELK, BIGHORN SHEEP, ROCKY MOUNTAIN GOAT

Minimum centerfire caliber
(rifles and handguns)
.24 caliber
Minimum muzzleloading caliber .50 caliber: round ball or legal bullet
Shotgun Elk, slugs only. Shotguns not legal for
bighorn sheep or Rocky Mtn goat
Archery: long, recurve, compound bow 40 pound minimum draw weight

WESTERN GRAY SQUIRREL

Any rifle, handgun, shotgun, muzzleloader, or long, recurve or compound bow

 

Legal hunting methods for game birds

UPLAND BIRDS, MIGRATORY BIRDS AND CROWS

FIREARMS ARCHERY FALCONRY
Rifle or
shotgun1
Shotgun2 Muzzleloader
(rifle or pistol)
Recurve, long
and compound
bow3,4
Crossbow Hawk or
falcon
NO YES NO YES NO YES

1 Rimfire firearms are allowed for the hunting of forest grouse only.
2 Shotgun: A smooth bore firearm, including muzzleloaders, designed for firing birdshot and intended to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel length of 18 inches or more, with an overall length of 26 inches or more.

  • No one may hunt game birds with a shotgun larger than 10 gauge.
  • No one may hunt game birds with a shotgun which can hold more than three shells.
  • It is unlawful to hunt wild turkeys with shot size larger than No. 2.

3 There are no restrictions on the type of arrows or broadheads which may be used to hunt game birds.
4 Hunters may not use any electronic device(s) attached to bow or arrow, except lighted arrow nocks that have no function other than to increase visibility of the arrow are allowed.

Shot Restrictions:

  • Any shot larger than BB may not be used to hunt game birds except for steel shot size no larger than F. See above for exception for wild turkey. Tracer shells may not be used to hunt game birds. For a list of current federally-approved nontoxic shot, please visit www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/hunting/nontoxic.php or call USFWS law enforcement at 503-682-6131.
  • Toxic shot restrictions are listed where appropriate under federal refuges, state refuges, state WAs and regulated hunt areas. In addition, the possession and use of shot other than federally-approved nontoxic shot is always prohibited while hunting waterfowl, snipe and coots. Coatings of copper, nickel, tin, zinc, zinc chloride and zinc chrome on approved nontoxic shot types are approved.

General weapons provisions for hunting game mammals

Below are the requirements for weapons that can be used to hunt game mammals. In addition to these restrictions, some controlled hunts or special areas may have further weapon restriction.

Centerfire firearm (rifles and handguns)

It is unlawful to hunt game mammals with:

  • .22 caliber rimfire (except for western gray squirrel).
  • Fully automatic firearms.
  • Semiautomatic rifles with a magazine capacity greater than five cartridges (except for western gray squirrel).
  • Tracer or full-metal jacket bullets.
  • Infrared, night vision, laser or any other sight that projects a beam to the target, including scopes with electronic rangefinders and scopes that receive information from any electronic device.

Shotgun

Shotguns (see Definitions) with rifled barrels are considered shotguns when used for hunting game mammals when centerfire rifles or shotguns are legal weapons.

Bow

  • Only recurve, long, or compound bows are legal for hunting game mammals.
  • Broadheads must be unbarbed and at least 7/8″ wide. Broadheads with moveable blades that fold/collapse when withdrawn are not considered barbed. Western gray squirrel may be hunted with small game arrow points/heads.

It is unlawful to hunt game mammals with:

  • Bows having a draw weight of less than 40 pounds (except no minimum draw weight for western gray squirrel).
  • Any device secured to or supported by the bow that maintains the bow at full draw.
  • Any electronic device attached to the bow or arrow, except lighted arrow nocks that have no function other than to increase visibility of the arrow.

Muzzleloader

During muzzleloader only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only:

It is unlawful to:

  • Use scopes or sights that use batteries, artificial light or energy except for visually impaired hunters with a permit (see Disabilities Hunting & Fishing Permit Information). Open and peep sights are legal, including open and peep sights with fiber optics or fluorescent paint on them.
  • Hunt with or have in possession while hunting, sabots or bullets with plastic or synthetic parts. Cloth, paper or felt patches are allowed.
  • Hunt with centerfire primers as an ignition sources; the muzzleloader must have an open ignition. See Definitions.
  • Hunt with pelletized powders or propellants. Granular (loose) black powder and black powder substitutes are the only legal propellants.
  • Hunt with a revolving action muzzleloader.

During Any Legal Weapon seasons, hunters may use muzzleloaders with any ignition type (except matchlock), any legal sight, any propellant, or any bullet type provided the weapon meets caliber restrictions for the species.

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