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Northeast Zone weekly hunting update, Sept. 5

NORTHEAST ZONE HUNTING

OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE, BEAR, ARCHERY DEER & ELK, FOREST GROUSE, MOURNING DOVE

Archery hunters – Errors in the regulations on Chesnimnus bag limit, traditional equipment only area

The 2013 Oregon Big Game Regulations contain errors in the archery section. On page 51, the “Traditional Archery Equipment Only” restriction should not be for the Columbia Basin, Biggs, Hood and Maupin Units—that restriction is for the Canyon Creek Area only. On page 79, the Chesnimnus hunt bag limit of “one bull elk” (hunt #258R) should be “one elk.” These errors were corrected by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in June.

Check fire restrictions before heading afield!

Fire danger is at record levels according to the Oregon Dept of Forestry. Follow all fire restrictions while hunting and see ODF’s webpage for the latest on restrictions.

ODFW pheasant hunts are perfect for beginners!

ODFW is planning a variety of pheasant hunting clinics for youth and adults this September. These are perfect for people new to hunting. See details here:

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/education/outdoor_skills/workshops/index.asp

Mandatory Reporting

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. More information on reporting http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/reporting/index.asp

Wolves in Northeast Oregon

Wolves are protected by state law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters in northeastern Oregon need to take extra care to identify their target as wolves can look like coyotes, especially wolf pups in the mid-summer and fall. ODFW needs hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; please report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to La Grande office (541) 963-2138 or online.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

BAKER COUNTY

Bear: Fall bear hunters should focus their efforts on areas with a good food source. Hawthorn, huckle berries and plums are favored by bears in the early fall. All successful hunters are required to check in the skull at an ODFW office. See page 36 in the synopsis for details.

SQUIRRELS: Ground squirrels are up and active throughout the valley. Hunters should find good numbers of squirrels when the weather cooperates; remember to ask permission before hunting on private property.

Cougar - Cougars can be found throughout Baker County but hunters should target areas with high concentrations of deer and elk. Setting up on a fresh kill or using distress calls can all be productive techniques. Hunters are required to check in the hide of any cougar taken, with skull and proof of sex attached.

Coyote - Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

GRANT COUNTY

Bear - With the warm dry conditions hunters should look for bears near areas with berries, in wetter areas with green grasses, and in areas with lots of rotten logs and stumps which bears can find ants and other insects in.

Cougar - Hunting remains open. Successful hunters should remember that check-in of the hide with skull and proof of sex attached is mandatory; see the regulations for details.

Coyote - Numbers are good in most of the district. Coyotes may respond to distress calls. Try calling in the early morning and late evening.

MORROW, GILLIAM and WHEELER COUNTIES

Bear – The bear density in the Heppner and Fossil Units is low but the population is slowly increasing. With dry forest conditions hunters should focus on areas with water and good food sources. The northern end of the forest in the Heppner unit is a good place to start.

Cougar - Hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. Locating a fresh, naturally made kill has the best chance of success.

Coyote - The coyote population is healthy with good numbers of coyotes available for those who wish to pursue them. Watch wind direction to help prevent giving away your location. Calling with game distress calls can be very successful.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Cougar - Cougar are well distributed in forested areas of the Walla Walla, Mt. Emily, and Ukiah units. Hunters will have best success by finding a fresh naturally made kill and sitting on it, or by using predator calls. Some success has come from following tracks until the cougar is located.

Coyote - Are numerous throughout the District and hunters should have good success calling. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.

UNION COUNTY

Archery Seasons - The first part of the deer and elk archery seasons are usually warm.  Contact the local Oregon Department of Forestry office for current fire restrictions.  Much of the hunting pressure from archers is in the beginning and end of the season with few hunters in the middle portion.

Cougar - Cougars are common in Union county. Focus on game rich areas with long ridgelines or saddles that cats typically travel. Setting up downwind of a deer or elk killed by a cougar can be productive. You need to be extremely patient and wear camo when calling cougars as they come in slowly and use every bit of cover as they approach. Using remote calls will focus the cat’s attention away from your blind. Remote motion devices next to the remote call will increase your chances of harvest. Above all, DO NOT MOVE! - their eyesight is excellent. Nonresident hunters can include a cougar tag with others tags for only $14.50. All cougars taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest; call for an appointment before coming in.

Coyote - Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

LADD MARSH WILDLIFE AREA

With the close of authorized hunting seasons on the area, Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is closed to hunting and to all entry. This includes all portions of the wildlife area both west and east of Foothill Rd. The Glass Hill Unit will re-open April 1.

A parking permit is needed for Ladd Marsh. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Display on car dash. More information

WALLOWA COUNTY

Chesnimnus Error in 2013 Big Game Regulations: On page 79, the Chesnimnus archery hunt bag limit of “one bull elk” (hunt #258R) should be “one elk.” These errors were corrected by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in June.

BLACK BEAR: A good density of black bear exists throughout the district. Hunters should focus efforts in cool timbered areas where bears will begin feeding on berries. Old fruit orchards will be good spots to find bears later in August.

ARCHERY: Archery season has been slow, but recent rains will help improve hunting conditions for deer and elk. Hunters are reminded that travel management areas are in effect in the Sled Springs and Snake River units. Hunters should also check with the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and Oregon State Forestry for fire restriction updates.

FOREST GROUSE: Forest grouse hunting is expected to be fair. Blue grouse numbers are below the long term average, but hunters can still find a few birds along open grassy ridges adjacent to timber. Ruffed grouse populations will be similar to recent years with good hunting opportunities along riparian areas.

COYOTE: Good numbers of coyotes can be found throughout Wallowa County. Calling coyotes with rabbit distress type calls has been effective for hunters. It is important to choose areas with abundant coyote sign and little human activity.

COUGAR: Cougar numbers are strong throughout Wallowa County. Most lions are taken incidental to other hunting; however, calling with fawn bleat, or locating a cougar kill and waiting for a cat to return are often successful techniques.

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