Beginning September 2020, the game bird section of the Recreation Report will be updated monthly, instead of weekly. We hope these monthly updates will be more dynamic and substantive than would minor, weekly updates.
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Look for collection barrels where you hunt. Data gathered from wings and tails helps ODFW biologists look at population productivity and set seasons. , including a map of barrel locations.
A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is required to park on an ODFW wildlife area. Cost is $10 daily or $30 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license; just be sure to put it on your dashboard. or at an that sells licenses or at a license sales agent.
Upland game birds
January represents the last opportunities for upland game bird hunters to hit the field. While rooster pheasant season has concluded, the remainder of upland bird seasons are open through the end of the month.
Chukar hunting is the most popular pursuit this time of year. These birds can be found throughout the high desert of eastern Oregon. We are hearing good reports from the field, particularly along the Deschutes, John Day, Snake and Malheur River drainages. A good BLM map will help hunters find public access in these areas.
While not as common, hunters should not be surprised to find gray (or Hungarian) partridge while in pursuit of chukar, particularly on the fringe of cropland and native rangeland. Look for the flash of rusty orange or cinnamon color on their outer tail feathers when they flush.
California quail are abundant along the brushy riversides of eastern Oregon. Often these coveys occur on private land, so seek out those properties enrolled in public access programs that include some water sources with good cover. You can learn more about private lands access on the .
Eastside hunters can now harvest up to 2 mountain quail per day throughout eastern Oregon. This is part of a combined quail bag limit of 10 birds which means hunters could harvest up to 10 California quail and no mountain quail, or up to 8 California quail and 2 mountain quail.
Hunters are asked to submit one wing from each mountain quail harvested to the nearest wing barrel or contact their nearest ODFW office for drop off instructions. Mountain quail prefer steep, brushy hillsides in the vicinity of a water source.
Fall turkey season continues through Jan. 31 in select eastern Oregon counties. (see the map on page 18 of the Game Bird Regulations). Hunters can harvest one fall turkey of either sex in eastern Oregon. Turkey flocks are currently congregating in large numbers on their wintering grounds. Remember that after Dec. 1, turkeys must be harvested on private land in eastern Oregon. Hunters interested in additional turkeys are encouraged to sign up on county-specific emergency hunt lists.
Wild turkey populations remain robust, allowing the removal of tag caps for the first time. The season bag limit is still 1 turkey of either sex per person for eastern Oregon, but hunters will not find tags “sold out,” as has happened previous years.
Forest grouse are difficult to find this time of year as they move from a green diet to dinner in the treetops. Ruffed grouse will focus on aspen buds, while blue (dusky) grouse will dine almost exclusively on conifer needles.
Look for dusky (blue) grouse at high elevation ridge tops among mixed conifer forests. Ruffed grouse are more often found along riparian draws with good vegetative cover. Forest grouse are most active in the morning and late afternoon, the best times for pursuit.
Migratory Game Birds
By this time, most ducks and geese have arrived on their wintering grounds, though relatively warm weather is still allowing some birds to remain in the Klamath Basin and similar areas.
There were no spring waterfowl surveys conducted this year due to COVID but hunters should expect to see good numbers of ducks where good habitat is available. Goose numbers remain strong, especially snow geese from Wrangel Island, Russia. Numbers have risen sharply in the last decade and last year over 100,000 were estimated to be wintering in the Columbia Basin of Oregon and Washington. While these geese began arriving in late October, expect some new birds to arrive in early November.
Field staff are seeing extremely high proportions of juvenile geese in the flock this year, which bodes well for hunters who are targeting snow geese.
Fall turkey: The Maupin and Biggs units are included in this hunt. It is open only on private lands through Jan. 31, 2021.
Pheasant: Closed Dec. 31
Chukar, gray partridge (Hungarian partridge) and California quail: Chukars can be found throughout the John Day and Deschutes River Canyons on both public and private lands.
Gray partridge can be found amongst grassland habitats and some opportunity exists to hunt them on UCAP properties in Sherman and Wasco counties.
Surveys indicate that quail came back after having a few bad brood production years. Brood surveys indicated that they are at 114 percent of their ten-year average. California Quail can be found amongst heavy cover, mostly in agricultural areas. Call The Dalles field office to get information about the UCAP program.
Chukar, pheasant and California quail hunters have been reporting great success in the mid- Columbia this season. Hunting for all of these species has seemed to be been well above average this year.
Mourning dove: Closed
Forest grouse and mountain quail: Sooty (blue) grouse can be found in forested portions of the White River and Hood units. They seem to be more heavily concentrated in the Hood unit and in the western portion of the White River unit. Targeting breaks of major ridges is a good strategy for finding sooty grouse.
Ruffed grouse seem to be more difficult to find in these units but are generally associated with riparian areas.
Mountain quail can also be found throughout these units associated with heavy cover and riparian areas. They also seem to be more common on private timberlands in the Hood Unit. Make sure you have a permit to access Weyerhaeuser timberlands and check fire restrictions prior to access.
Duck and Merganser: Waterfowl hunting along the Columbia River can be great, with a large variety of species available for harvest. Early season hunting can be very sporadic, depending on the weather. Areas along the Columbia River can generally be hunted as long as you stay below high water mark and are outside of city limits.
Zone 1 Scaup closes Jan. 31 and the daily bag limit is 2. Scaup are common in the Columbia River during the winter months and can be seen in large rafts of hundreds of ducks.
December brought mostly very mild weather and that’s expected to continue through the coming weeks. Expect poor hunt quality unless cold and snowy weather returns.
Goose: Geese can be hunted in many areas along the Columbia River. There are also lots of private land hunting opportunities in the area if you are willing to get out and do some scouting and ask for permission to hunt. Areas along the Columbia River can generally be hunted as long as you stay below highwater mark and are outside of city limits.
If you have specific questions about access, call The Dalles field office at 541 296 4628.
Duck and Goose: Duck and goose hunting is very limited on the White River Wildlife area. Look for geese in agricultural fields within the wildlife area, and both ducks and geese on various ponds within the wildlife area. Don’t forget to use federally-approved nontoxic shot while hunting waterfowl. Duck and goose season ends Jan. 31, 2021.
Current road and weather conditions:
Travel in the wildlife area is allowed only on open roads designated by the green dot road system designated on the wildlife area map. Most of the roads are seasonal roads that are open from April 1 to November 30. Look for maps with the road information at entrances to the wildlife area or click here . Reminder: Display your required parking permit when visiting the wildlife area. Please pack out your trash. Only street legal vehicles are allowed in the wildlife area, no ATV’s or snowmobiles.
The weather forecast is wet with high temperatures in the 40s and lows in the high 20s and 30s. There is also the possibility for snow especially at higher elevations of the wildlife area. Campfires are allowed only in designated campsites.
Please continue to follow the state guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic. More COVID19 information can be found at the entrances to the wildlife area.
Waterfowl: Duck season will continue through Jan. 24, 2021 and Canada goose season extends to Jan. 31. The season for white-fronted geese, Ross’ geese, and snow geese continues through March 10, 2021. Best opportunities for the late season will be in late February till end of season as these migratory geese return from wintering areas in California.
Quail (mountain and California): Season continues through Jan. 31.
Forest grouse: Best prospects are in the Cascade Mountains for both blue and ruffed grouse, although there are fair numbers of blue grouse in forested habitat in eastern Klamath County. Hunters are asked to provide a wing and tail from each grouse harvested and drop them off at the Klamath District Office on Miller Island Road. Seasons continue through Jan. 31, although access may restrict hunting opportunities.
Eurasian collared-doves: There are lots of opportunities to hunt these non-native game birds. Season is open year-round with no bag limit restrictions. A hunting license is required.
Miller Island Unit:
Gorr Island Unit:
Gorr Island is located four miles south of the Miller Island Unit in the Klamath River, accessible only by boat. Gorr Island is open daily with no permit required during authorized seasons.
Shoalwater Bay Unit and Sesti Tgawaals Unit:
Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals are both located on the west side of Upper Klamath Lake approximately 10 miles to the north and west of Klamath Falls. Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals Units are both open for hunting daily with no permit required during authorized seasons.
Hunting Information Miller Island Unit:
With winter freezing conditions waterfowl hunting will remain slow for the remainder of the season. There may be occasional fair hunting days for ducks and geese, but they will be limited and weather dependent.
Launching boats at the Miller Island boat ramp may be difficult or impossible due to freezing conditions.
Weekly and summarized harvest statistics for the Miller Island Unit can be found at
If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5732.
Eurasian collared doves: are expanding throughout Lake County. These birds have no protections in Oregon, so there are no closed seasons or limits to their harvest. A hunting license is required on public land. Focus around agricultural areas and forest openings where food sources are abundant. Be sure of your identification before you hunt these birds which are larger and lighter than mourning doves with a distinctive band around the back of the neck.
Waterfowl hunting the last couple of weeks has been good, but not great despite the cold nights, warm days and calm weather conditions. Hunting should continue to slow as cold weather sets in freezing large portions of the area as birds migrate south. Habitat and water conditions are good right now with most birds hanging out in refuge areas and Summer Lake proper.
All hunters will need to obtain and have a free daily hunting permit in their possession (B Half) while in the field. Self-serve stations are located in front of the office. Check out is mandatory and can be accomplished by filling out and dropping the “B” portion of the permit off in check-out boxes found at major access areas.
Traditional areas are open and posted refuges are closed to all hunting. Please be aware that the River Ranch Unit will be dry to prepare for ground work through the early part of waterfowl season. Gold Dike Impoundment and South of Gold Dike units in the southwest portion of the wildlife area also being drawn down this year, resulting in low water level or dry conditions and may impact hunting opportunities in that area.
To compensate for diminished opportunities, the northern portion of Bullgate Refuge will be open to hunting this year. Please consult the Hunter Advisory found on page 36 for additional information.
Maps are available in the Headquarters lobby area, self-serve check stations or .
Non-toxic shot is required for all game bird hunting and posted refuges are closed to hunting.
Please contact Summer Lake Wildlife Area at (541) 943-3152 for additional information.
Upland game bird: Chukar and quail seasons remain open through Jan. 31, 2021. Pheasant season closed Dec. 31. Look for chukars to become more concentrated as snow continues to fall through the winter.
Water levels continue to be very low in the Harney Basin, which limits duck hunting opportunities. Best hunting opportunities will be for Canada geese on private lands: hunters are reminded to get permission from the landowner before hunting on private lands. Check out the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge website for detailed maps of waterfowl hunting zones on the refuge.
Blue and ruffed grouse season continues through Jan. 31. Forest grouse can be found in the northern end of the County near the Malheur National Forest. Access to forest grouse habitat is currently severely limited by snow conditions in the forest.
Eurasian collared doves can be taken year-round.
Blue and ruffed grouse: Most grouse hunting occurs on the Malheur National Forest portions of the district.
Eurasian collared doves can be taken year-round.
Ladd Marsh is open Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays Aug. 1 through Jan. 31.
Waterfowl: Colder temperatures mean icy conditions. Some ice is building on the smaller waterbodies and the edges of the larger units. Hunting pressure has tapered off along with harvest. We are still seeing a mixed bag with mallards, teal, and an array of divers. The extended forecast appears to be fairly moderate so hunting should only pick up and water conditions should stay the same.
Lots of irrigation water helped fill most ponds across the area and huntable water can be found almost everywhere out here. Birds are distributed across the entire area and all hunt days are seeing fairly good harvest.
Upland: Upland hunting has still been popular but harvest has been bleak. The numbers show just over 190 roosters harvested but some quail are venturing out of the safety zones and have been taken lately. Hunters are still reporting seeing decent numbers of birds but are having to go to the overlooked spots to find any that will hold long enough for a shot.
Please call the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area with any questions 541-963-4954.
Eurasian collared-dove populations are expanding throughout the county. These birds have no protections in Oregon, so there are no closed seasons or limits to their harvest. A hunting license is required on public land. Focus around agricultural areas and forest openings where food sources are abundant. Be sure of your identification before you hunt these birds which are larger and lighter than mourning doves with a distinctive band around the back of the neck.
Eurasian collared doves are unprotected and can be taken year-round. There are no closed seasons or limits to their harvest, but a hunting license is required on public land.
Forest grouse: Grouse experienced a tough start to the summer with a long and weather-impacted spring resulting in limited nesting success. Hunters can expect to search to find more than a few birds. A good dog will be an asset for hunting grouse in thick cover.
Chukar: Chukar numbers are doing well, hunters have reported doing well so far.
Pheasant, quail, and partridge: Most hunting will occur on private land. Be sure to get permission before entering any private lands. Numbers for all birds, except for quail, are low and hunting opportunity will be limited.
Turkey: Turkey populations are healthy with a good number of birds being seen. Turkey can be found throughout the county except in high elevations. Some patience on the stand while calling will help to produce birds.
Waterfowl: There are many ducks and geese in the valley earlier than usual this year. Duck season gets better as the year goes on. As the temperature gets colder and the north-country gets weather, more ducks and geese will move into the area.