WILLAMETTE ZONE HUNTING
OPEN: COUGAR, SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY
Thanks to all hunters who reported their 2012 tags on time. Hunters who did not report 2012 deer and elk tags on time will pay a $25 penalty fee when they purchase a 2014 hunting license. If your 2012 deer and elk hunts extend into 2013, you have until April 15, 2013 to report your hunt. More information on reporting http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/reporting/index.asp
Hunter orange required for youth
Don’t forget: hunters age 17 and under must wear a fluorescent orange upper garment OR hat when hunting upland game birds (except turkey) and game mammals (deer, elk, bear, cougar, pronghorn, goat, sheep, and western gray squirrel) with a firearm.
Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.
Industrial forestland owners will usually have information regarding access to their property posted on their gates and usually have a “hotline” devoted to providing up-to-date access for hunters. In addition, many private timberlands use the following link to provide information regarding the access policy for their private lands. Hunters need to have permission to hunt or make sure hunting is allowed before accessing private lands:
Hunters are reminded to be prepared for emergencies by keeping survival equipment such as food, water, signal mirror, whistle, sleeping bag and first aid kit with you and in your vehicle during your outdoor adventures. Don’t forget to wear the proper clothing; it is your first defense against the elements. Let someone know where you will be and when you expect to return just in case your vehicle becomes stuck.
Spring TURKEY season is open through May 31. Turkeys are abundant in the foothills of the southern Willamette Valley. Turkeys prefer habitat with a mix of open meadow or grass land and oak forest. Unfortunately for hunters, this habitat is almost exclusively privately owned in the foothills of the Willamette Valley. Hunters will struggle to find turkeys on public property but good hunting opportunities exist for hunters that have access to private property. Hunters wishing to hunt in the Willamette Valley are encouraged to seek out landowners and ask for permission to hunt.
For those turkey hunters who haven’t harvested their bird, turkey hunting experts recommend staying on stand a little longer, using different calls to change-up your calling pattern and practice judging distances so you don’t miss your opportunity when it comes strutting along.
Spring BEAR season opened on April 1 for those hunters with a tag. Tags were allocated through the controlled spring hunt drawing for all hunts except SW Oregon, which is a limited first-come, first-served hunt. Tags for the SW Oregon hunt are sold out for 2013. Hunters are reminded to check the 2013 Big Game Regulations for their exact hunt boundaries, season dates and requirements for checking in their bear. Bear activity has been slow this spring with only a couple of bears checked-in at local ODFW district offices. Bear activity will increase as the weather warms and spring progresses. Skunk cabbage and green grasses are preferred forage items this time of year. Early in the season hunters will want to target coastal areas or low elevation riparian areas and will want to choose warm, spring-like days to hunt. Hunters with limited time to spend afield will want to concentrate their effort during the last 3 weeks of the season.
Hunters are reminded that the skull of any bear taken must be presented to an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of the kill to be inspected, tagged and have a pre-molar tooth removed for aging. Only the skull is required for the check-in and it should be unfrozen when presented. ODFW staff recommends that the hide be removed before check-in and hunters call ahead to make arrangements to have the bear checked. Please review the 2013 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.
Cougar - Season is open. Opportunities to track cougars in the snow have diminished as warmer weather melts and hardens what snow remains in the higher elevations of the Cascade Mountains. Cougars are challenging to hunt due to their secretive nature, penchant for traveling great distances, and characteristic low population density, but can bring large rewards for successful hunters. Some hunters have had luck calling cougars to them with predator calls that mimic a deer fawn or elk calf. The key to successful calling is to get within hearing range of a cougar, which will require that hunters be familiar with the local landscape characteristics, be aware of deer and elk patterns in the area, and understand cougar habits. Hunting with a partner is recommended for those hunters attempting to call cougars, since these animals can be difficult to see and hear as they approach. Calling for at least an hour from each calling location is important. Using a tree stand or sitting back-to-back is a good technique to cover all potential entry points.
Successful cougar hunters will need to check-in any cougar taken at an ODFW office within 10 days of the kill. Hunters are reminded that biologists located in field offices may be out in the field handling other issues so call ahead to make arrangements to have your cougar checked-in. The hide and skull must be unfrozen and the skull and proof of sex must be attached to the hide. Hunters are required to submit the reproductive tract of any female cougar taken. Please review the 2012 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.