Dove hunting seasons open earlier than many others and offer one of the first opportunities to go afield each year. The action can be fast, offering lots of opportunities to shoot and the chance to sharpen your skills for the opening of other bird seasons later in the fall.
Rabbit hunting is the third most popular type of hunting activity in the U.S., behind wild turkey and deer hunting. Few people take advantage of it in Oregon, but they should—rabbits and hares are abundant and there is no closed season or bag limit. Plus, they taste good!
Oregon offers some of the best upland game bird hunting in the West. The state’s diverse habitats support nine species of upland game birds— pheasants, chukar, Hungarian partridge, valley (California) quail, mountain quail, ruffed grouse, blue grouse, sage-grouse and wild turkey. There are upland hunting opportunities in every corner of the state, and one upland bird season or another is open continuously from September 1 through January 31. Throw in a six-week spring turkey season and you can hunt upland game birds in Oregon for more than half of the year! Also, since many of the species share similar habitat
Oregon supports diverse waterfowl populations, from sea ducks in coastal saltwater to puddle ducks in the alkali basins of southeast Oregon. You might think you need lots of gear (decoys, boats, a trained dog) to hunt ducks and geese, but you don’t. All of these things are nice but not necessary. All you really need is a hunting license/tag, shotgun, shells and some basic identification skills.
Just a few miles south of Newport, the town of Waldport (population 2,000) is on the shores of Alsea Bay. It is one of Oregon’s estuaries that does not have jetties at the ocean entrance. Strong outgoing tides and ocean swell can make boating near the mouth of the bay more dangerous. Use caution and be prepared if you crab in this area.
Coos Bay is Oregon’s largest bay. The lower bay (areas from the ocean entrance to the airport) is “marine dominated”, meaning there is little freshwater influence, and offers some of Oregon’s most productive shellfishing opportunities.
The areas around Bandon, on the Coquille River, have productive softshell beds. The areas near Bandon Marsh National Wildlife refuge tend to be the most popular. Populations of other bay clams may be found close to the jettys but are mostly subtidal.
Nehalem Bay offers both beach and boat access to softshell and purple varnish clam beds.
You'll find crab areas and softshell clamming opportunities in the southern part of the bay.
Clamming is the main attraction in Netarts Bay which is one of five major crabbing bays in Oregon with good populations of both Dungeness and redrock crab.
Siletz Bay, located at the south end of Lincoln city, is a very popular destination for beach-goers and clam diggers. Some of the highest density purple varnish clam beds are easily accessed here. Its proximity to the ocean also makes it a very productive seasonal crabbing area
The Siuslaw River runs past the city of Florence and then flows for 4 miles to the Pacific ocean. Areas west of the 101 bridge feature excellent seasonal crabbing and even some good diving.
Crabbing can be good year-round but the best catches are in the winter. Tidal flats throughout the bay produce lots of gapers, cockles and softshell clams.
Umpqua River is one of Oregon's largest estuaries; however, high freshwater influence makes the bay seasonal for crabbing. Softshell clam populations in the Umpqua river are among the highest in the state, and they are large clams. Razor clams can be dug at the North Jetty of the Umpqua, though its a long drive down Sparrow Park Rd. (just north of Gardiner), then South along the beach around 8 miles.
Lower Yaquina bay is “marine dominated” meaning there is little freshwater influence, and offers many shellfishing oppurtunities.
Digging razor clams is a challenging and fun recreational pastime with delicious rewards. Continue reading to learn some fundamental skills needed to harvest razor clams.
Razor clams and other bivalves are filter feeders that eat single celled plants called phytoplankton. Some species of phytoplankton manufacture biological toxins that, if ingested by bivalves, will be stored in their flesh. Though the biotoxins do not make the shellfish sick, they will make humans sick if a person consumes an affected animal.
Oregon estuaries are rich with many species of clams, although only a few of these species are commonly harvested. Gaper, butter, cockle, littleneck, softshell and purple varnish clams are popularly harvested due to their abundance, size and taste. A wide variety of other bivalve species are found in Oregon estuaries, but not commonly harvested due either to their scarcity or poor taste.
Oregon crabbing is a year-round activity that can almost always yield a successful trip. Crabbing trips require minimal gear, often available for rent in coastal towns, and while boat crabbing increases your likelihood for success, dockside crabbing is easy and very accessible. Before crabbing, be aware of crab regulations. Knowledge of where, when, and how to crab will increase your chances for success. Learn where to crab