Several of Oregon’s major bird hunting seasons open in October, including duck (Oct. 5 for Zone 2 eastern Oregon, Oct. 12 for Zone 1 Western Oregon and the Columbia Basin) and chukar, gray partridge and pheasant plus remaining quail seasons (opening on Oct. 5).
Bird hunters will be using the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s new electronic licensing system and have the choice of using either paper or electronic licenses and validations. SportsPac holders are reminded to redeem your 2019-20 Upland Game Bird and Waterfowl Validations by logging in and “purchasing” (at zero cost) these documents before hunting. The free Migratory Game Bird HIP Validation survey can also be completed online in your account. Bird hunters can also purchase or redeem all these documents at license sale agents.
Federal duck stamps (required for duck, goose, merganser, brant hunting) are not sold through ODFW’s licensing system and will not appear on the MyODFW app or in your online account. Hunters need to carry their federal duck stamp in addition to their ODFW licenses. Purchase your stamp at a post office or another location that sells them (such as an outdoor retailer or national wildlife refuge). Electronic Federal duck stamps can also be purchased from several vendors online. Go to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife website for more information.
More fall turkey tags are available for eastern Oregon this year. Fall turkey hunters who choose e-tagging need to use the same method as big game hunters: Validate your turkey tag on the MyODFW app after you harvest it, and then attach flagging tape or some other material to the turkey with Confirmation number, ODFW ID and other information. See page 18 of the Game Bird Regulations for details.
Below are some highlights on what bird hunters should expect this season.
Duck: North American duck populations are down from recent highs but still 10 percent above the long-term average. ;Closer to home, breeding mallard numbers in California, Oregon and Washington were down slightly from last year, though wetland conditions, especially in eastern Oregon, were excellent this spring. The only regulation change hunters should be aware of this season is that the bag limit for pintail has decreased to one per day.
Pheasant: Eastern Oregon’s pheasant numbers have declined after last year’s peak. Production was positive, but overall hunters will find fewer birds on the ground. The highest densities were found in the Malheur, Umatilla, Heppner and Mid-Columbia, districts, respectively. Pheasant brood production was highest in the Heppner, Malheur, Umatilla and Mid-Columbia, districts, respectively.
California quail: Statewide California (valley) quail populations continue on their upward trend, particularly in the high desert. Of the areas surveyed, the highest production effort by California quail was in the Harney, Wallowa, and Mid-Columbia districts, respectively. Biologists found the highest overall densities in the Harney, Malheur and Umatilla districts.
Chukar: Known for their large annual population fluctuations, chukar are down slightly statewide, but are on the increase in southeast Oregon. Overall, Malheur and Harney districts found the highest densities of chukar, followed by the Heppner District. The Malheur and Grant districts had the highest chukar production with an average of 4.5 chicks/adult, followed by Harney (3.6 chicks/adult).