Historic harvest statistics can guide you to areas with good habitat that support healthy bird populations.
For upland game birds that live in areas with adequate habitat, population size and mortality rate are affected little by regulated hunting. Protection of game birds from hunting will not allow the population to increase. Because of the normally high mortality rate, even without hunting, and because hunting typically is compensatory, upland game birds cannot be "stockpiled" from one year to another. Thus, area or season closures for populations in good habitat are not needed.
Setting bag limits and possession limits for game birds in good habitat serve more to spread the harvest among hunters than to protect the population. However, in a few instances regulations are necessary to safeguard populations. Hunting game birds that occur only in a very small area, that are suffering declines because of poor habitat, or that are concentrated during the hunting season (at watering sources, for instance) may have the potential to limit the population, and regulations may be carefully applied to such species.
For healthy populations, though, hunting is "self-limiting." As biological surplus is removed, hunters tend to lose interest in the last few birds on an area, and hunting effort falls off. The remaining birds become skilled at dodging hunters and the population achieves a measure of security. The concepts described above help explain why it is possible to have fairly liberal hunting seasons for upland game birds without jeopardy to the populations.
ODFW conducts annual harvest surveys to determine statewide hunter effort and take for upland birds as well as other species.
Ever wonder where your favorite upland game bird hunting activity fits within the entire upland hunting scene? Here are the rankings based on a 10-year average of hunter numbers and total statewide harvest by species.
To see the most recent game bird statistics from ODFW Wildlife Areas please check the Game Bird Hunting Statistics pages.
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