Carnivorous Vegetarian: Black bears are well known for their fondness for fresh meat or carrion, but veggies, including grasses and forbs, actually make up the largest part of their diet. Good places for hunters to look for bears are open, grassy slopes in the early morning or late evening hours. Later in the season, bears will be looking for newborn elk or deer. Calls simulating young animals in distress can be very effective in luring bears at this time. Oregonís bear season began on April 15 and ends on May 31. JIM WARD photo
Find bears in spring green-up
SPRING BEAR: Controlled spring bear season is now open.
Successful hunters commonly find bears by glassing new “spring green-up” areas below snowline. Bear numbers and hunter access should increase throughout the season, translating to hunter success.
Remember, it is now mandatory to check in any harvested bear within 10 days of harvest (please refer to page 34 of the 2012 Big Game Regulations).
TURKEY: Spring turkey season is now open. Many birds will be found in lower elevations on both public and private lands. Locating birds in their roost before daylight will greatly increase success. Setting up near a known roost with a decoy and call can bring in that wary tom. Turkeys rely on their sight for survival, making camouflage and as little movement as possible essential to hunter success. Remember, always ask first to hunt on private land.
GROUND SQUIRRELS: Squirrels are now up and active. The best hunting is often on warm days after the rain and cold weather. Remember, always ask first to hunt on private land.
COUGARS: 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). You need to 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 your 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.
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. More information
TURKEY: Good numbers of birds are available throughout the district. Access is improving in the Minam, Sled Springs and Chesnimnus units. However, hunters are still having difficulty accessing higher elevations in the Wenaha, Minam, Imnaha, and Snake River units.
BLACK BEAR: Spring bear activity continues to improve with warmer temperatures. Hunter access remains difficult at higher elevations in the Wenaha, Minam, Imnaha, and Snake River units due to roads blocked by snow. 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. Calling with fawn bleat, or locating a cougar kill and waiting for a cat to return are often successful techniques.