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Central Zone weekly hunting report



Central Zone


Spring turkey hunting forecast

Spring bear hunting forecast

Controlled hunt deadline is May 15.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.


GENERAL: Snow has melted at lower elevations, but some snow remains at higher elevations. Those considering hunting or venturing off of well maintained roads should carry cold weather gear and equipment, check weather forecasts, and contact the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville BLM for information on access and camping (BLM 541-416-6700, Ochoco Nat. For. 541-416-6500). Remember to respect and always ask permission to access private lands.

TURKEY: Turkeys may be found from lower elevation private lands all the way up to higher elevation public lands due to the mild winter and spring conditions. Best hunting opportunities, however, will be on the Ochoco National Forest along the South Boundary.

COUGAR are present throughout the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units, but are more likely found where deer and elk are concentrated on winter ranges. The Maury and Ochoco units are recommended because of their greater amounts of public lands and better accessibility. Remember cougars must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please consult the synopsis for all required parts and be sure to call first to make an appointment.

COYOTES offer an exciting challenge and will be closely associated with deer and antelope on winter ranges. Both the Maury and Ochoco have sizeable areas of public lands that provide hunting opportunities. Hunters should use caution, be properly equipped and prepared for whatever the weather might bring.

GROUND SQUIRRELS have emerged and are active in agricultural fields throughout Crook and Jefferson counties. Higher numbers are in Crook County on private lands along the Crooked River between Prineville and Paulina. Permission from landowners is necessary to access and hunt these lands.


Bear- Bear season opened April 1 for spring bear tag holders in the Hood and White River WMUs. Spring bears often prefer foraging on new grasses and forb growth. Bring a good pair of binoculars or spotting scope and glass open south facing hillsides. Predator calling can be productive, particularly if you know a bear is using an area. Successful hunters will need to check in with an ODFW office within 10 days of harvesting your bear. The bear head must be unfrozen, and propping the mouth open with an object will help biologists to remove the tooth necessary for aging.

Turkey - Spring turkey season begins April 15. Turkeys typically are found in lower elevations in the Hood and White River WMUs. The White River Wildlife Area is a popular destination for those wishing to hunt turkeys as well as USFS property adjacent to the wildlife area. The Hood River County Forestry land can provide some hunting opportunities in the Hood Unit as well as private timberlands. Be sure to gain permission prior to your hunt. Spring turkey tag holders will need to report if they harvested a turkey or not.


Vehicle Access: Most gates through the Wildlife Area closed Dec. 1 and will remain closed until April 1, 2013. As of January 1, 2013 new rules took effect that prohibit all recreational ATV use on the Wildlife Area, also camping is only allowed in designated camping areas.

A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas.

Bear – Controlled Spring Black Bear Season opened on April 1 and runs through May 31. Black bear can be found throughout WRWA but are very elusive and hard to find. Search for tracks on dirt or muddy roads to find areas that they are using. Look for food sources. Bears spend much of their time filling up on grasses, acorns, and other food to fatten up after their winter slumber. Remember to check in any harvested bear skulls at an ODFW office. It is best to make an appointment before you take it in.

Turkey – Spring Turkey Season opens on April 15 and runs through May 31. Turkeys inhabit most of WRWA lands. Pre-season scouting can be very helpful in locating the elusive spring gobbler. Use locating calls to find birds roosting in your area. Turkeys can often be found along ridge tops or foraging for food in meadows or oak groves. Be careful and aware that other hunters could possibly be hunting the same turkey that you are after.

Cougar - Open all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Look for areas that have recent deer and elk activity. Focus your efforts along migration routes, and along rim rocks and canyons. Look for fresh tracks or kills to increase success. Deer are down on the Wildlife Area for the winter so it is a good area to look for cougars.

Coyote - Hunters should be looking in open areas along the eastern perimeter of the wildlife area. Open fields can provide good calling opportunities on the area.


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