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Southeast Zone weekly hunting update, Sept. 5

SOUTHEAST ZONE HUNTING

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

Archery seasons continue

Remember errors in the regulations on Chesnimnus bag limit, traditional equipment only area: On page 51, the “Traditional Archery Equipment Only” restriction should not be in 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.

2013-14 Oregon Game Bird Regulations online

See the PDF on the Hunting page: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/index.asp Note error on pg 6, “What’s New” section of printed 2013-14 Oregon Game Bird Regulations. Canvasback limit within daily bag is 2 (not 3). This info is correct on pg 16 and in the online version of regulations.

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.

Wolves and coyotes can look alike

Most wolves in the state today are in northeast Oregon but a few have dispersed further west and south. Wolves are protected by state and/or federal law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters 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 appreciates hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; please report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to ODFW using the online reporting system.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

HARNEY COUNTY

Hunting maps for Harney County

Cougar - Hunting is open. Populations are healthy and distributed throughout the district in any area with a big game prey base. Successful hunters must check-in cougars no more than 10 days after harvest; please bring cougar in thawed and with mouth propped open for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging.

Coyote - populations are fairly high throughout Harney County. Pups have dispersed from the den. Standard predator calls will be effective from now through December. Be aware that bobcats and cougars may respond to predator calls, and separate licensing and open season limitations exist for these species.

Fall BEAR season opened August 1. Bear populations in Harney County are generally low. While no formal surveys are done for bear in this area, bear populations appear to be stable. Hunters are reminded that hunter harvested bear MUST be checked in at an ODFW field office within 10 days of harvest; please bring bear in thawed and with mouth propped open for easier tissue and tooth collection.

Youth antlerless ELK hunts also opened August 1. Several Antlerless ELK hunts also opened August 15th. Elk populations are stable in Harney County.

Archery season for ELK and MULE DEER opened on August 24th. The Steens unit is under limited entry regulations for deer hunting and elk hunters must have drawn the deer tag to hunt in the unit.

BIGHORN SHEEP second season opens on September 3rd.

SAGE GROUSE seasons were approved by the Commission. No permits will be issued in the Trout Creek subunit of the Whitehorse WMU due to the Holloway fire last summer. Season dates are September 7th – 15th.

Forest GROUSE season opens September 1st. Grouse can be found in the forested portions of the Silvies and Malheur Units, but population numbers are low.

MOURNING DOVE season starts on September 1st. Dove numbers remain high, but cooler night temperatures could soon force doves south. Best hunting usually takes place near water sources and roosting areas. Additionally Eurasian Collard Doves have been reclassified as unprotected and can be taken in addition to mourning doves.

KLAMATH COUNTY

MOURNING DOVE season opens September 1 and best prospects will be around agricultural areas or near water sources. Hunters are reminded that Eurasian-collared doves are now unprotected and can be taken year round.

GROUSE SEASON opens September 1 and includes both Blue and Ruffed Grouse w/ a daily baq limit of 3 of each species. For Blue Grouse, hunters should concentrate on semi-open ridge lines. Ruffed grouse are restricted primarily to creek drainages in the Cascades although birds can be found in eastern areas as well.

DEER AND ELK Archery seasons are now open. While weather conditions remain warm, hunting near water and good cover offer the best prospects. Buck and bull ratios are at or above management objective.

Fall BLACK BEAR seasons opened August 1. While no formal surveys are done for bear in this area, bear populations appear to be stable or increasing slightly. Highest concentrations of bears in Klamath County will be found along the eastern slope of the Cascade Mtns. In previous years, hunters have found success with stand hunting near water holes and by glassing open hillsides where bears commonly feed on berries and during morning and evening hours. Hunters are reminded that hunter harvested bear MUST be checked in at an ODFW field office for sample collection and measurement. Field office staff are frequently out of the office, so please call ahead to the nearest ODFW field office and make an appointment. Field office locations and contact information can be found on the ODFW website.

Cougar - Hunting is open year round. Populations are healthy and distributed throughout the district in any area with a big game prey base. Don’t forget successful hunters must check-in cougars no more than 10 days after harvest; please bring cougar in thawed and with mouth propped open so that field staff can quickly process the animal and get you on your way.

Coyote - Pups have left dens by now and using some calling can be a great way to call in some not so wary coyotes. Coyotes are distributed over the entire county in good numbers.

KLAMATH WILDLIFE AREA

Dove season opens Sunday, September 1. Dove hunting will be open on the Shoalwater Bay, Sesti Tgawaals, and Gorr Island Units without permit.

The Miller Island Unit requires a self-service permit available at the check station on Miller Island Road. Hunters must check in to hunt, and out prior to leaving the Miller Island Unit. Federally approved non-toxic shot is required for all game bird hunting on the Klamath Wildlife Area. Safety zones are closed to hunting.

The Miller Island Unit will be closed to all hunting on Sept 7 and 8 to allow for the annual Youth Upland Game Bird Hunt. To participate, register online at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/ or visit any Point of Sale license vendor.

Gorr Island Unit

Emergent vegetation on the larger Gorr Island may be burned either late fall of 2013 or early winter of 2014 to enhance green forage production for spring migrating geese.

Gorr Island is located four miles south of the Miller Island Unit in the Klamath River, accessible only by boat.

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.

Miller Island Unit

The Miller Island Unit is located 6 miles south and west of Klamath Falls.

Management programs on the Klamath Wildlife Area-Miller Island Unit will impact waterfowl hunter access during the 2013/14 waterfowl seasons. Efforts to rehabilitate portions of the marshlands around the Miller Island Unit, to improve long-term habitat benefits to a multitude of waterfowl species will require dewatering certain wetlands and actively controlling overgrown vegetation. While efforts will be to bring water back to all areas as soon as feasible, some portions of the unit may be dry and will not provide good hunting opportunities throughout the season.

About 120 acres in the southern portion of Subunit B, south of the boat ramp, will be dry for the duration of the month of October. Plans are to re-flood it in early November. Approximately 41 acres in the northern portion of Subunit C, on the west side of the slough, will be dry for the month of October. Plans are to re-flood it in early November. Over-water hunting will be impacted in the portion of the hunt units which have been dewatered. Field hunting activities will not be impacted. The vast majority of the Miller Island Unit will still provide adequate water habitats for attracting birds. Maps showing impacted areas are available at the wildlife area office or on the ODFW Web site, www.dfw.state.or.us. Additional activities may occur in 2013-14.

Rehabilitated marshes will provide important food sources for birds in coming years and will greatly benefit hunters in the long term.

A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is now required to park on the Wildlife Area. Cost is $7 daily or $22 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license. Buy online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent.

Klamath Basin waterfowl numbers are available on the US Fish and Wildlife website at http://www.fws.gov/klamathbasinrefuges/cenfindex.html

Running and training of dogs is allowed only in the Dog Training Area by the boat ramp on Klamath River from February 1 until August 1, 2013.

Overnight camping is not allowed on the Miller Island Unit. Discharge of firearms is prohibited except by permit. If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5734 or lanny.a.fujishin@state.or.us.

LAKE COUNTY

Fall Black Bear season opened on 1 August. Bear populations in the county are low compared to other areas of the state. With the hot dry conditions hunters should focus their efforts at the higher elevation forested habitats and north slopes. Hunters using calls are most effective after locating an area with fresh bear sign.

Cougar - Hunting is open. Populations are healthy due to good habitat and prey base. If hunters can find a fresh cougar kill, calling within a ½ mile of that kill can be very effective.

Coyote - Numbers appear to be increasing throughout the county. Pups have left the den and are starting to disperse. Prey distress sounds will be effective for the rest of the year.

Archery Mule Deer and Elk seasons opened 24 August. The Warner unit is divided into two hunt areas under limited entry regulations for Mule Deer and hunters must have the respective deer tag to hunt elk. Hunting conditions are hot and dry.

SAGE GROUSE seasons were approved by the Commission. The deadline for applications is August 26th. No permits will be issued in the Trout Creek subunit of the Whitehorse WMU due to the Holloway fire last summer. Tag numbers in Warner unit were reduced to 80. Season dates are September 7th – 15th.

September Canada Goose season is open from the 7th to the 11th. The commission increased the daily bag limit to 5. Summer Lake Wildlife Area is closed to hunting during this season, and hunters should refer to the 2013-14 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for other rules. Most hunting opportunity in the county is on private land and hunters must get permission prior to hunting.

SUMMER LAKE WILDLIFE AREA

This section was updated on September 3, 2013

Parking permits are now required on all vehicles. Hunters get the permit free with the purchase of their annual hunting license.

General deer bow season is open but hunting pressure remains light. Three archery hunters checked-in over the past week, reported the harvest of one buck and spent an average of 4.0 hours in the field.

Buck mule deer can be found throughout the wildlife area. Posted refuges are closed to all hunting.

Mourning dove season opened on Sunday of the Holiday weekend. Ten hunters checked in on opening day and 13 were present on Monday. Reported harvest was 69 mourning doves and hunters averaged about 2.3 hours in the field.

Fair numbers of doves can still be found scattered across the wildlife area, especially around old homesteads and agricultural areas on the north end.

Archery and dove hunters are required to obtain a daily hunting permit and check-out at the end of the day. Self-serve permits are available at Headquarters in the lobby area.

Please remember Summer Lake Wildlife Area remains closed to the Statewide September Canada Goose hunting that will be opening soon.

Please contact Summer Lake Wildlife Area at (541) 943-3152 or email martin.j.stlouis@state.or.us for additional information.

MALHEUR COUNTY

Drought Conditions- Drought conditions persist throughout Malheur County and restrictions are in place on all public lands. Please check with the land management agency for current restrictions. Please follow all fire restrictions and use extreme caution and discretion to avoid starting a fire. In addition please do not camp at desert water sources. These water sources are very important to wildlife

Cougar - Hunting is open. Populations are healthy and distributed throughout the district in any area with a big game prey base. Successful hunters must check-in cougars no more than 10 days after harvest; please bring cougar in thawed and with mouth propped open for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging.

Coyote – Coyote pups have started to disperse and tend to respond well to calling this time of year. Coyotes are well distributed throughout the area. Calling in forested areas can be very effective as these coyotes experience less calling pressure than coyotes in open country.

Black Bear- Season opened August 1. Early season hunting over water holes can be effective. Bears occur primarily in the forested pares in the NW corner of the district and are less common than some other areas of the state. However the early opener provides the opportunity to combine some bear hunting with scouting for deer or elk.

Hunters are reminded that hunter harvested bear MUST be checked in at an ODFW field office for sample collection and measurement. Check in is by appointment only. Please bring bear in thawed and with mouth propped open for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging.

General Archery Season

Deer – The Beulah Unit is the most popular of the local units for archery deer hunting. Deer densities are highest in the forested areas in the northwest portion but deer can be found anywhere in the unit. The eastern portion of the Beulah and the Owyhee and Whitehorse Units are have lower deer densities and are difficult to hunt.

Elk The Beulah Units is the most popular of the local units for archery elk hunting. Elk can be found in all areas of the Beulah Unit but most hunters choose the forested portion of the unit. Hunters are reminded that the East Beulah subunit is an elk de-emphasis area with a rifle cow hunt overlapping the general archery season. The Owyhee unit has an increasing elk herd but they can be extremely difficult to hunt.

Upland Game Bird

The combination of ongoing drought conditions and a January cold snap that reduced overwinter survival, has negatively affected upland bird populations.

Chukar

Chukar surveys on established routes yielded 22 chukar per 10 miles and production of 7.7 chicks per brood. This is a 42% decrease from last year when 38.7 birds per 10 miles were measured and is 63% below the 10-year average of 60.2 birds per 10 miles.

The Succor Creek/Leslie Gulch area has only experienced limited recovery. The poor range conditions caused by ongoing invasion of medusahead likely limits the ability of birds in this area to successfully raise broods. The most productive routes were South of Harper in the Cottonwood Canyon, Freezout/Dry Creek (west side of the Owyhee Reservoir) and North of Hwy 20.

Pheasant

The surveys along established routes yielded 6.1 birds per 10 miles which is a 44% decrease in number of birds observed from last year’s survey and 30%% below the 10-year average. Chick production averaged 3.9 chicks per brood. Hunting prospects will vary depending on the farming practices in the area you have permission to hunt. The outlying areas around Willow Creek and Vale have higher bird numbers than areas closer to Ontario and Nyssa.

There is very little public land pheasant hunting opportunity in the area and the few parcels that are available tend to get hunted daily. One option for private lands access is the Cow Hollow fundraiser https://www.facebook.com/events/486215664739594/ to benefit the Cow Hollow Park.

California Quail

Quail production was down in agricultural areas and very poor in rangelands. Surveys on established routes showed 34 quail per 10 miles, down 31% over last year and 16% below the 10-year average. Production was 8.5 chicks per brood with decreased production observed primarily in rangelands.

Waterfowl

September Canada goose hunting should be good on private agricultural lands in the Jordan Valley, Arock and Rome area for those hunters willing to scout fields for geese and secure permission.

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