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Hunting Report for November 9, 2012

Hunting Report for November 9, 2012

NORTHEAST ZONE

OPEN: COUGAR, BEAR, ROCKY MTN ELK (General 2nd Season open through Nov. 11 in some units), UPLAND BIRDS (see regs), WATERFOWL

Avoid $25 penalty fee — report your deer and elk tags! 

You need to complete a hunter harvest survey for each deer, elk, pronghorn, cougar, bear and turkey tag purchased—even if you weren’t successful or didn’t go hunting. Report online at www.reportmyhunt.com (or at ODFW’s website under Hunting) or call 1-866-947-6339. Hunters that fail to report 2012 deer and elk tags by the deadline (Jan. 31, 2013 for most hunts) will be fined $25 when they purchase a 2014 hunting license.

This penalty was put in place because after several years of “mandatory” reporting with no penalty, just 41 percent of tags were reported on time last year. The information provided is critical for setting tag numbers and seasons—information that’s become more and more difficult to get through traditional phone surveys because hunters have moved, screened their calls, or don’t provide phone numbers.

BAKER COUNTY

OPENING WEEKEND ELK: Snowy conditions throughout the season in mid and high elevations

made hunting conditions exceptional. Overall district success rate averaged 11 percent.

Grouse season started Sept. 1. Blue grouse can be found in the higher elevations while ruffed grouse are more common in wetter areas. Hunters should expect an average year for grouse, many birds renested, so there are some young birds that are still fairly small. Successful hunters are asked to place the tails and wings from harvested birds in the collection barrels

Cougars can be found throughout Baker County, but hunters should target areas with high concentrations of deer and elk. Setting up on a fresh kill 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.

Fall bear hunters should focus their efforts on areas made hunting conditions exceptional. Overall district success rate averaged 11 percent.

Grouse season started Sept. 1. Blue grouse can be found in the higher elevations while ruffed grouse are more common in wetter areas. Hunters should expect an average year for grouse, many birds renested, so there are some young birds that are still fairly small. Successful hunters are asked to place the tails and wings from harvested birds in the collection barrels

Fall bear hunters should focus their efforts on areas with a good food source.  Hawthorn, huckleberries and plums are favored by bears in the early fall.  All successful hunters are required to check in the skull at an ODFW office. See page 36 in the synopsis for details.

UNION COUNTY

General Rocky Mountain Bull Elk season runs Nov. 3-11.  Unusually warm and dry conditions opening weekend produced low hunter success at 3 percent district wide. Hunting conditions should improve with colder temperatures and snow in the forecast.

1ST ROCKY MTN ELK SEASON REPORT: Cool temperatures and fresh snowfall made hunting conditions excellent. Most hunters were seeing elk and generally very optimistic about their opportunities.  Hunter numbers were down in some areas and normal in other areas. 

Overall hunter success rate for district was 10 percent among checked hunters.

Based on grouse wing collection barrels, Union County is above the five-year average. Blue grouse can be found at higher elevations on ridgelines and canyon rims. 

For ruffed grouse, focus on creek bottoms and moist areas in timbered draws. Blue and ruffed grouse season continues through the end of the year.

The fall bear season is open. Hunters should focus their efforts in areas with high concentrations of berries or fruit trees. As we move into the fall, pay special attention to old abandoned orchards. Successful hunters are reminded that check in of harvested bears is mandatory. Refer to page 34 and 36 of the 2012 Big Game Regulations for more information.

Cougars are common in Union county. 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. 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.

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.

LADD MARSH WILDLIFE AREA

Early season waterfowl hunting has been fair to good. Water levels continue to improve with cooler temperatures and some precipitation. All wetlands west of State Highway 203 have water. Hunters should watch local weather reports for high winds near Ladd and Pyles canyons. This generally means good hunting conditions at Ladd Marsh.  

WALLOWA COUNTY

1ST SEASON ROCKY MTN ELK REPORT: The opening two days had occasional snow with depths to 8 inches at higher elevations.  Snow fall was heavy the morning of Oct. 25. Hunting conditions were good and hunting success was good. Overall district-wide success rate was 10 percent.

Some elk in the Imnaha and Minam units have moved to lower elevations, but many animals are still in the wilderness.  Hunter success has been good in the Chesnimnus and Snake River units.  Opening weekend success in the Sled Springs and Imnaha units was lower than expected.

Hunting for bear early and late in the day will provide hunters the best opportunity to observe bears. Bears are using draw bottoms feeding on hawthorn and service berries. Spot and stalk hunting will likely
provide the best opportunity for harvest.

Upland game bird brood counts indicate blue grouse numbers are low with fewer than normal number of broods. Ruffed grouse numbers appear to be down as well, although hunters should have better luck finding ruffed grouse than blues. Riparian areas along creek bottoms are good bets for ruffed grouse.

Local goose numbers are good and geese can be effectively hunted with decoys in agricultural fields. Ducks numbers are beginning to increase and are scattered with open water throughout the valley.

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