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SPRING BLUES: A male blue grouse makes a show of things for a nearby female north of Elgin. Along with a display of feathers and a bit of a dance, blue grouse emit a very deep hoot ó one of the lowest-decibel sounds in nature. In truth, ornithologists have changed this birdís name to dusky grouse. Look for these birds on high, open ridges in the Blue Mountains. JIM WARD photo
Blue Grouse dance in the Blues
OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE
SPRING TURKEY opens Sunday statewide. Some spring bear hunts open Sunday.
TURKEY: Spring turkey season opens Sunday. Good numbers of birds will be available through out the district. Hunter access will be difficult until early May due to roads blocked by snow.
BLACK BEAR: Controlled spring bear season opens Sunday. Hunter access will be difficult until early May due to roads blocked by snow. Bear activity will increase toward later April and early May. Hunters should focus their efforts in canyon areas below snow line that have good green grass growth.
COYOTE: Good numbers of coyotes can be found throughout Wallowa County. Calling coyotes with rabbit distress-type calls has been effective for hunters. It is important to choose areas with abundant coyote sign and little human activity.
COUGAR: Cougar numbers are strong throughout Wallowa County. Most lions are taken incidental to other hunting. However, calling with fawn bleat, or locating a cougar kill and waiting for a cat to return are often successful techniques. Wolves and coyotes can look alike
Most wolves in the state today are in Northeast Oregon. 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. Report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to ODFW using the online reporting system.
COUGARS are common in Union County. Due to the mild winter, deer and elk can be found at higher elevations. Focus on game rich areas with long ridgelines or saddles that cats typically travel. Setting up downwind of a deer or elk killed by a cougar can be productive. A cougar kill is often covered with material that has been scraped up in about a 10-foot diameter circle around the carcass. Cougars will often drag their kill to the nearest cover next to the kill site (pay attention to drag marks). Be extremely patient and wear camo when calling cougars as they come in slowly and use every bit of cover as they approach. Using remote calls will focus the cat’s attention away from a blind.
Above all, do not move. Their eyesight is excellent. Finding tracks in the snow, determining direction of travel and setting up ahead of the cat may produce results.
Nonresident hunters can include a cougar tag with others tags for $14.50. All cougars taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest. Call for an appointment before coming in.
SPRING BEAR: Bear season opens April 15. See the hunting forecast for what to expect. Successful hunters, remember check-in of bear skull is mandatory; see the regulations for details. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring
TURKEY: General spring turkey season runs Sunday through May 31. Hunters should concentrate their efforts around lower elevation levels where there has been some early spring green up. Hunters can expect to encounter less snow than usual due to the mild winter. Public land hunting opportunities exist on BLM and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest as well as the ODFW managed Elkhorn Wildlife Area. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.
COUGARS: Cougars can be found throughout Baker County. Spring cougar hunting is most productive in areas with high densities of deer and elk. Due to less snow this winter, deer and elk are at higher elevations than usual. Setting up on a fresh kill, tracking after a new snow, or using distress calls can all be productive techniques. Hunters are required to check in the hide of any cougar taken, with skull and proof of sex attached.
COYOTE: Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Pup in distress as well as prey in distress sounds can be productive. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.
LADD MARSH WILDLIFE AREA
Bird hunting seasons are now closed.
New this year, a parking permit is needed for Ladd Marsh. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Display on car dash.