Bird Hunting in Oregon
A crew of bird hunters methodically preps their gear. They are on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. A German wirehaired pointer, Sky, is guiding them through the steep and rugged terrain.
The birds are near. Sky pauses and points in a direction. This tells the hunters that chukars are close by.
The ruffed grouse is a forest bird that lives in a variety of habitats, from deciduous forests to mountain ridges. It eats leaves, berries, seeds, and shrubs, and can even take insects. Male grouse use a drumming display to attract females and proclaim their territory. The drumming is caused by beating their wings against the air to create a sound that imitates thunder, similar to the way lightning works.
A successful grouse hunt requires the right equipment and knowledge of the habitat where you are hunting. A reliable shotgun is a must, as well as a pair of boots and camouflage clothing. You can also purchase game calls and decoys to improve your chances of a successful hunt.
This year mountain quail and ruffed grouse hunting could be more difficult than in past years. However, as fire conditions wane more private timberland and National Forest will become available for public access.
The Blue grouse, formerly known as the sooty grouse, is a large forest bird found in inland regions of the western United States and Canada. They are slow-moving and can be difficult to spot in dense forest cover. Males can be identified by a deep hoot and a swollen comb over their eyes. They also strut with their tails fanned and spread neck sacs to attract females.
When hunting grouse, it is important to keep in mind the state’s game bird regulations and bag limits. Always carry a valid license and bird validation. It is also a good idea to bring water, snacks, and first-aid supplies.
Some of the best grouse habitats in Oregon include the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and Umpqua National Forest. The grouse season runs from September to January.
The Band-tailed pigeon is a large, stocky pigeon that lives in forests and mountain areas of the West Coast. Its wings are soft blue-gray and it is marked with a white crescent on the back of the neck. Its tail is long and rounded. Its call is a slow, one- or two-syllable coo that sounds owl-like.
They are part of the Columbidae family that includes mourning doves and rock pigeons. These pigeons typically hunt in groups of dozens or hundreds and visit backyard bird feeders to scavenge for food.
As a result of over-hunting, their populations have declined. ODFW has reduced bag limits and seasons in order to protect these birds. It is important to avoid hunting at their mineral sites, as this can discourage them from returning in the future.
Chukars, native to Eurasia, are introduced as a game bird to North America where they thrive in rocky semi-desert habitats. They are a challenge to hunt, rewarding for those who persevere, and are known for their delicious meat.
As the group reaches the bottom of a canyon ridge, Eric spots a small covey. He pauses and lets Sky sweep the landscape, sniffing the air intently. She catches a distinct scent and begins tracking it, circling around the rocky terrain.
This fall and winter, hunters in western Oregon will have the opportunity to pursue pheasants, chukar, valley quail and bobwhite quail. Those dedicated enough to bag all four species will have the unique experience of a forest grand slam.
Eurasian collared dove
Eurasian collared doves aren’t native to Oregon, but they thrive in urban and suburban settings where they can access bird feeders. They can also be found in agricultural areas and wooded edges. They feed mainly on seed and cereal grain, but also eat some berries and plant material.
They are much larger and chunkier than mourning doves, and have a longer tail that’s square-tipped rather than pointed. They are distinguished by a black crescent on the nape of the neck and broad white patches in their wings.
In Oregon, anyone who wants to hunt doves must have a hunting license and follow all state laws and regulations. It’s important to note that even if you hunt on private property, you may still be subject to city or town ordinances or trespass laws.