image of three bird watchers looking in a tree through binoculars

Take care out there: A guide to respectful recreation

February 14, 2020

Each year over 9 million Oregonians and visitors head to hills – and the desert, and the beach – to enjoy the outdoor beauty Oregon offers. But with that many people actively appreciating the hills (and the desert and the beach) it’s becoming even more important that we learn to enjoy our fragile ecosystems today while also protecting them for tomorrow’s visitors.

Take Care Out There is an initiative to remind you that how you behave towards nature, and fellow recreationists, matters. So the next time you head outdoors to hike, hunt or fish remember to prepare, care and connect.


  • Check road and/or water conditions before you go. Do you have the right vehicle or watercraft to navigate them successfully?
  • Know the regulations before you go. Salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and marine fishing regulations can change in season so check the Recreation Report for the latest. Check ODA’s Shellfish Safety website or hotline 1-800-448-2474 before you crab or clam.
  • Consider off-peak or mid-week adventures if you’re looking for more solitude or a quieter adventure.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions. This is Oregon, we can get warm sun and cold rain on the same day.
  • Be prepared to deal with minor injuries and getting lost. A first aid kit, and GPS or map/compass (and the knowledge to use them) should always be a part of your kit.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged. You may be using it to navigate, show your fishing/hunting license or e-tag your harvest. Make sure you are using the latest version of the MyODFW app and are logged in.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If you’re seriously overdue, they can call for help.
  • Make sure the area is open and accessible—especially during fire season when roads and forests can be closed. Carry necessary equipment (like a shovel, axe or fire extinguisher) with you during fire season.


  • On popular trails, keep your dog on a leash and pack out its poop. Free-range dogs can disturb wildlife, and interrupt feeding and breeding activities. And no one wants to step in your dog’s poo while they’re out enjoying nature.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance – for your safety and theirs.
    image of two young deer alone in the woods
  • If you find a baby animal alone – LEAVE IT THERE. Mom is probably near-by feeding or hunting. A young animals has a better chance of surviving if you leave it there than if you try to “rescue” it.
  • Ask for permission before entering private land. When you enter private land without the owner’s permission -- to pursue an animal you’ve shot, or bird you want to photograph, or a better spot on the river – it’s called trespassing.
  • Pack out your trash, please! This includes shell cases and targets from informal shooting areas, and fishing line and lure packaging from riverside fishing spots.



image of a father with a young son posing with a just-caught lake trout

  • Share your love of hunting, fishing and the Oregon outdoors with others. They’ll have an amazing experience, and you might just find a new hunting, fishing or hiking buddy.
  • Be thoughtful about how much you share on social media. You might inadvertently be inviting the masses to your “secret” fishing spot or favorite “hidden” trail.
  • Send your photographs to ODFW and we’ll share them with thousands of other hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts on our website and in our publications. Here’s how to submit a photo.
  • Consider giving back. Volunteer with ODFW to help restore habitat or teach new anglers. Or donate to the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund to help protect and conserve our natural resources for those who follow us.

Learn more about the Take care out there initiative

Explore Related Articles

Where to clam and crab

You'll find crab areas and softshell clamming opportunities in the southern part of the bay.

How to clam and crab

Razor clams and other bivalves are filter feeders that eat single celled plants called phytoplankton. Some species of phytoplankton manufacture biological...

Where to clam and crab

The Siuslaw River runs past the city of Florence and then flows for 4 miles to the Pacific ocean. Areas...