Fall Season Sage-Grouse Permit Application Deadline is Aug. 11

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Sage-grouse hunters are reminded they need to apply for a permit by Aug. 11 to hunt the fall season (Sept. 9-17, 2023).

Permits available for the 2023 season have been modified for two units compared to last year. The permits available for the Beatys Butte Unit will be increased by 10 permits due to improved lek counts and the discovery of several new leks by aerial surveys. The Owyhee Unit will see a decrease of 10 permits due to concerns about several years of declining populations, primarily due to habitat conditions.

Units not listed have no available permits.

  • Beulah = 150
  • Malheur River = 100
  • Owyhee = 60
  • E. Whitehorse = 85
  • Trout Creek Mountains = 35
  • Steens Mountain = 40
  • Beatys Butte = 70
  • Silvies = 20
  • North Wagontire = 20
  • Warner = 60

Apply online or at a license sales agent; an annual hunting license is required. To apply online, login to https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login, go to Purchase from the Catalog / Bird Hunting and select Sage Grouse – Controlled Hunt Application. Proceed to checkout to make your hunt choices and purchase the application.

Results of the draw will be available Aug. 22 and the season runs Sept. 9-17. The bag limit is two sage-grouse. Successful applicants much purchase a Sage-Grouse Permit prior to hunting. See more regulations here.

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife biologists and volunteers survey sage-grouse leks (breeding grounds) to count the number of males that visit each year, but wet spring conditions prevented access to many leks. Sage-grouse populations are known to cycle through peaks and troughs, and Oregon’s sage-grouse populations had been on the increase since 2019.

“Spring lek counts were down this year, but we believe this may be related to a decreased survey sample size rather than an overall decline in population. Habitat conditions are much improved across sage-grouse range thanks to our wet spring, though it will take some more wet years to make up for a long stretch of hot and dry conditions,” said Mikal Cline, ODFW upland game bird coordinator. “We still maintain a cautious approach on the controlled hunt until we have some more perspective on our population trends.”

ODFW carefully regulates the controlled sage-grouse hunting season to keep harvest at less than 5 percent of the population, within the normal mortality rate of the birds. Hunters are an important source of population data about sage-grouse. By examining the wings of sage-grouse returned by successful hunters, ODFW is able to determine the age structure and sex ratio of the population.

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