Game Bird Hunting

Graceful and fast-flying, the northern pintail in a common winter migrant in western Oregon. It is prized as table fair.

Features: The pintail is an elegant long-necked duck. The long-tailed, full-plumaged drake is striking with a chestnut head, gray back and flanks, bright white breast and front of neck, and iridescent green-bronze speculum. The brown hen is nondescript, but shares the long neck and graceful shape of the drake. Both have a blue-gray bill.

Habitat: Pintails prefer the open habitats of sheet water fields and large marshes or ponds. They are a puddle or dabbling duck and usually feed by dabbling or dipping rather than submerging. It is a rare breeder but an abundant fall migrant statewide and one of the most common wintering visitor ducks in western Oregon.

Techniques: Pintails are early migrants and will keep arriving into November. They respond well to both pintail and mallard calls. Because they are so common in western Oregon, many hunters add pintail decoys to their spreads. Like many dabbling ducks that feed on vegetation, they are good table fare.

There are restricted bag limits for northern pintails because of continentally low population levels.