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RECREATION / HUNTING INFORMATION -
Get all the latest information about outdoor activities in Southwestern Oregon. You will find useful information about both general recreation in the outdoors, and also information about hunting. It is a big world out there. We help you explore it.
RECREATION INFORMATION -
Any Legal Weapon (formerly rifle) deer is open through Nov. 5. Remember that deer in the Dixon, Rogue and Evans Creek units typically are at high elevations during the early fall and migrate to lower elevations as year progresses and temperatures cool and weather events increase. However, there are resident deer on the valley floor year-round.
In the Applegate and Chetco units deer at higher elevations usually move only when pushed out by severe weather. A good strategy is to find well used trails at mid-elevations and sit on them to catch deer migrating. The best times for bucks to move is early morning and late evening. This will be the first year in over a decade that deer season will continue uninterrupted through the entire month of October, due to the Cascade Elk season being moved to after deer season in November.
Cascade elk is opens November 6 - 12. This is the first year in a long time that this season will be taking place in November. Hunters should see more success during this later timeframe as larger weather events are more likely to occur and push the elk herds lower.
The season will be open in the Dixon, Evans Creek and Rogue units with a bag limit of one bull elk. Be aware that there is the Upper Rogue Travel Management Area in effect during this time. In the Rogue-Siskiyou National forest motorized vehicle travel with be restricted to green dot roads, all other roads are open to walk-in access only.
We expect an average harvest this year. Numbers from our herd composition surveys earlier this year showed good bull to cow ratios in all units.
General Antlerless Elk Damage: This is the second year for the new over the counter General Season Antlerless Elk Damage tag. This tag is designed to address chronic elk damage in specific portions of the state. The tag is valid for one antlerless elk and will your only elk opportunity if purchased. There is no tag sale deadline, which means it can be purchased at any time during the season which runs from Aug. 1 to March 31 of the following year in our area. These tags are almost exclusively on private property. Please do not purchase the tag unless you have a place with permission to hunt within the hunt zone. Learn more about this program and find hunt area maps.
Fall black bear season is open. Hunters can expect a great year for pursuing bears. The Applegate unit has historically had some of the highest harvest in the state during the fall hunt, so focus your efforts there; however, the Rogue and Evans Creek units can also be very productive.
Oak groves with lots of acorns seem to be a good place to start your search for bears feeding throughout the day. Fawn calls can also be a useful tool when trying to harvest a bear. It is a good idea to have a bear tag in your pocket when while pursuing other species.
Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met (see zone quota page). The majority of cougars are now harvested by hunters pursuing other game. So, consider picking up a cougar tag before you head in the field, so that you can capitalize on any opportunities that present themselves. Some hunters are also having success with a predator call and a lot of patience. If using a call, please do so safely.
Cougar and Bear Check In: Hunters need to report their harvest to an ODFW office within 10 days of killing the animal. Hunters can call the office in the district where they harvested their cougar or bear and report their name, ODFW ID number, date of harvest, location of harvest, sex of animal and confirmation number for electronic tags. If you would like to voluntarily come into the Central Point or Gold Beach offices to have a biologist check in you animal in person, please call ahead to make an appointment. Social distancing guidelines will be followed.
Western gray squirrel: Western gray squirrel hunting is open in all SW Oregon WMUs. See page 64 of the 2021 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations for more information.
Coyotes are abundant in our area but remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. Hunters can find coyotes around meadows and brush piles where mice and rabbits are found. Predator calls are very useful when used in conjunction to known prey base. Remember to identify your target. Wolves are still known to be present in Jackson County, especially southeastern Jackson County from Highway 140 south.
Mourning dove: The season reopens Nov. 15.
Grouse season opened Sept. 1 statewide. The daily bag limit is three birds of each species (blue and ruffed). More grouse were observed this year on upland brood surveys in the Rogue Watershed. Driving less used dirt roads in the late evening can be an effective way to find grouse.
Quail season opens Sept. 1 in western Oregon. The daily bag limit is 10 quail (in aggregate with both mountain and California quail). Quail numbers increased again this year on ODFW upland brood surveys. Driving old dirt roads in the late afternoon and evening is usually a good way to locate groups. For more information refer to the Oregon Game Bird Regulations.
Ring-necked pheasants: Opens Oct. 9. The Denman Wildlife Area will have stocked 1,200 birds of the prior three weeks for the youth hunt as well as the fee hunt. Many of these birds have not been harvested and will be available to shoot starting Oct. 9.
Fall turkey season opens Oct. 9. The fall turkey season allows hunters with a fall turkey tag to harvest one bird of either sex in WMUs within Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties. Turkey numbers are extremely high in southern Oregon which should make for a good fall hunting season. Successful hunters can purchase an additional fall turkey tag for a chance at a second bird.
Waterfowl: Canada geese are abundant in the Rogue Valley which can make for good hunting. Focus hunting efforts during nasty weather events for your best chance at taking home some waterfowl. Windy and rainy mornings seem to be the best.
Archery deer and elk: With good over-winter survival of both deer and elk, hunter should expect deer hunting to be good in the Cascades and Umpqua Valley. Elk hunting in the Cascade Units should be about the same as the past few years.
Some of the better wildlife openings are created by clear-cuts, thinnings, or a few years after wildfires. Recent fire activity in the Dixon and Evans Creek units are already producing great forage and cover for deer populations.
Fall black bear: There was enough rain this spring that berry crops are good. Locating these berry crops and looking for bear sign should be productive.
Cougar: Look in areas adjacent to agriculture and within areas of higher concentrations of deer. When fresh tracks are found, set up and call with either mouth or electronic predator calls.
Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.
Coyote: Numbers are strong throughout Douglas County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.
The Coos Mountain Access Area has been extended through December 2023, providing year-round access to about 63,000 acres in the heart of the Tioga Unit. Learn more about the Coos Mountain Access Area on MyODFW.com or call the Charleston Field Office at (541)888-5515. Maps are available.
Deer: Deer populations in the district appear to have increased over the past several years. Survey and research work by ODFW and partners indicates deer populations in many parts of the Tioga, Sixes and Powers Units are fairly high in comparison to population levels of the early 2000s.
Most of us have noticed this was a dry summer and spring before that. Deer need to have access to water daily so with the dry conditions on the Oregon coast this year, look for them near water. Deer generally feed most heavily on browse. So look for early season deer in brushy and grassy clear-cuts and meadows.
As the Any Legal Weapon season wears on and fall rains continue, vegetation will green up. This will have an impact on where deer will spend their time. As grass becomes a more important part of their diet, clear-cuts with lots of grass will be the places to look for bucks. They will be most active in early morning and late afternoon.
Fall black bear: Fall season will continue through the end of December with increasing opportunity as forage becomes more available.
Bear numbers appear to be healthy and the animals are well distributed across the district. Generally, populations appear to be more concentrated closer to the coast. Bear hunters should concentrate on areas with wild berry production. In normal years bears will concentrate on blackberries in the summer and early fall. Soon after the blackberries ripen and fall off the plants, evergreen huckleberries ripen and bears should turn their attention to them.
Cougar: Cougars are difficult to locate in Coos County. The majority of cougars are taken incidentally during deer and elk seasons by hunters who have also purchased a cougar tag.
The most productive way to hunt cougar is to use a predator call.
Coyote: Numbers are strong throughout Coos County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.
Mourning dove: The season reopens Nov. 15.
Grouse: Grouse populations are relatively abundant in Coos County presently. Over the past few years conditions have been good for grouse to survive the winter and pull off successful nests. Brood surveys done by OLDFW staff indicate grouse nesting was successful so birds will be available for good hunting. Grouse hunters on the coast are often frustrated by the fact that birds don’t seem to concentrate in specific habitats like they do in dryer parts of the state. Generally Western Oregon hunters find their best success hunting along roads where clover and other green forage grows. For legal and safety reasons, hunting roads that are closed to motor vehicle access are best.
Quail: Quail populations Coastal Oregon are faring quite well these days, as are grouse. There are two species of quail available in Oregon for harvest, California quail and mountain quail. Both are available for harvest in Coos County. California Quail are usually found in lower elevation and near agricultural fields while mountain quail are generally found above 1000 ft. elevation. Mountain quail generally prefer young clear cuts, particularly those with rocky outcroppings nearby. Hunters find both of these species are enjoyable to hunt. Mountain quail in particular are often found on public land or timber company land open to public access. Hunting these birds will beat a hunter and dog up as much as any chukar hunt, if you’re into that.
Turkey, fall season: Turkey numbers have been increasing in Coos County for the past several years. Birds are now well distributed around most agricultural lands in the county and due to their increasing numbers they seem to be increasing their range. Occasionally they can now be found near clear cuts some distance from agricultural lands. Hunters should walk roads looking for tracks and feathers to locate flocks of birds. When birds are located using techniques like busting up flocks with a bird dog then sitting and calling them back in for a shot works well in the fall.
Waterfowl: Duck and goose abundance in Coos County is relatively low at this writing but migrants are beginning to arrive. As is normally the case, early arriving migratory ducks and geese are generally found in the lower portions of bays and estuaries. These birds tend to congregate in October and early November in the saltwater portion of bays and estuaries to feed on eel grass and other saltwater vegetation prior to the arrival of fall rains. Once rain begins and inundation of inland valleys occurs later in the fall these birds will redistribute inland. Often some of the best hunting takes place in this early part of the fall because many coastal bays and estuaries offer areas to hunt that are publicly accessible.