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Home arrow Wallowa Life

Hunting Report for October 19, 2012

According to Brian Ratliff, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, chuckar populations in Northeast Oregon are similar to last year - with good hunting predicted. Hungarian partridge numbers seem to be increasing over the last few years. Chukars were first successfully released to Oregon habitats in 1951. The birds are native to many parts of Asia. Chukars are the national bird of Pakistan and, due to their pugnacious demeanor, are often used in that country for fighting in place of roosters. The chukar season will run through Jan. 31. JIM WARD photo


Summer on skis

Bern Anderes, a freshman at Union High School, has been a competitive alpine skier for about 10 years. DICK MASON - The Observer

15-year-old competitive alpine racer from La Grande strengthens his skiing skills with six-days-a- week workouts on Mount Hood’s Palmer Snowfield 

The summer of 2012 will be remembered by Bern Anderes of La Grande as one of the best winters of his life. 

Viewing Report for October 15, 2012


Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Note: Wildlife viewers and anglers need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. The $7 daily or $22 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s expanded Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program.

Tule Lake Public Access Area and the Auto Route are closed for the season. Tule Lake Public Access Area will be open to foot traffic only Sat., Sun., Wed. and holidays during the pheasant and waterfowl seasons.  

The Glass Hill Unit is open to public access for foot traffic only. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult game bird regulations before entering the wildlife area. 

Dogs are not permitted within the wildlife area, on or off leash except during authorized hunting seasons. There are numerous quality-viewing opportunities from county roads that pass through the area. Binoculars or a spotting scope will help as many animals are best viewed from a distance.

Hot, dry weather has reduced most wetlands and dried many up completely. As a consequence, waterfowl use of the area is minimal. Most shorebirds have left the area as they continue their migration south.

For more information on access rules for Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, please consult the Oregon Game Bird Regulations or call the wildlife area at 541-963-4954.



Herons are common and can be observed throughout the Wallowa Valley feeding along creeks and rivers.

Waterfowl species such as Canada geese and mallards can be observed on Wallowa Lake and throughout the Wallowa Valley feeding in agricultural fields.

Prairie falcon, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier and Swainson’s and Ferruginous hawks, as well as a variety of owls can be observed throughout Wallowa Valley and Zumwalt Prairie. Most raptors can be easily observed from county roads. A good pair of binoculars will improve viewing opportunities.

A wide variety of songbirds can be observed from now through the summer in forested areas north of Enterprise, and along rivers and streams throughout Wallowa County.

Mule and white-tailed deer are common in agricultural areas adjacent to Highway 82. Animals can be observed during early morning and late evening hours.

Persons willing to drive down the rough Imnaha River Road will often observe bighorn sheep north of Cow Creek near Cactus Mountain.

 Elk can often be observed along the Zumwalt Road near Findley Buttes. Another good location to observe elk during winter months is on the Wenaha Wildlife Area near Troy. A good place to look is along the Eden Bench Road during early morning or late afternoon hours. 

Fishing Report for October 12, 2012


Weekend fishing opportunities

Fishing for smallmouth bass and channel catfish is good on the John Day River.

Steelhead fishing is starting to pick up on the Grande Ronde River; trout fishing also has improved with the onset of cooler temperatures.

October is a great month to fish the Wallowa River for trout and whitefish

Peach (Ladd Marsh) and Roulet Ponds have been stocked with rainbows for a fall fishing opportunity.

Coho, jack fall chinook and summer steelhead fishing has been good in the lower Umatilla River.

Cooler mornings have revitalized the trout fishing on the Wallowa River.

 Morgan Lake has been stocked with 400 trophy rainbow trout for additional opportunity through Oct. 31.

Hunting Report for October 12, 2012




Be sure to check for any fire restrictions before you go afield. Oregon Dept of Forestry has a list of fire restrictions and closures online and InciWeb has information about current fires. Or check with USFS, BLM or the appropriate landowner.


RIFLE BUCK DEER:  Season ended Oct. 10.

GROUSE: Grouse season started September 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

COUGAR: 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.

BEAR: 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.

COYOTE: Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.


RIFLE DEER: Season ended Oct. 10.

BEAR: 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 huckleberry patches and old abandoned orchards. Successful hunters are reminded that check in of harvested bears is mandatory. 

COUGARS: 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 other 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. Remember 
to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.


Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is open Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and the following holidays, Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Day during pheasant, quail, partridge and waterfowl seasons. 

Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult game bird regulations before entering the wildlife area.  

Early season waterfowl hunting has been fair. Water levels arelow due to high temperatures and little precipitation. 

Conditions are improving with cooler temperatures. 

Waterfowl hunters are advised to call Ladd Marsh for water conditions. Upland hunting has been good for pheasants and quail. Nesting conditions were good for both. 

Access for upland hunting is excellent due to low water. However, hunters should be advised that vegetation in the dry wetlands is very thick and dogs are highly recommended. 

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. 


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

FOREST GROUSE: 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.

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 


Learning lessons outdoors

Powder Valley Elementary School sixth-graders, Samantha Fisher, left, and Darby LaHogg, examine a dragonfly with a magnifier. The dragonfly is one Powder Valley sixth-graders brought back to North Powder from an outdoor school at Phillips Park. DICK MASON - The Observer

From ‘Mountain Lion Etiquette’ to orienteering, students expand their knowledge at annual week-long South Baker 2012 Fall Sixth Grade Outdoor School 

Phillips Park in Baker County recently became a satellite classroom for Powder Valley Elementary School sixth-graders — a classroom that helped boost students’ knowledge of the outdoors into a higher orbit.

Fishing Report for October 5, 2012

Hunting Report for October 5, 2012

From Shanghai to Oregon - The start of something beautiful

Ken Mortensen, manager of the Purple Sage Game Farm near Caldwell, Idaho, inspects one of his incubators on hatch day. Each of his four incubators can hold more than 21,000 olive-colored pheasant eggs. The pheasantry supplies more than 40,000 rooster pheasants a year for release in several states, including birds for release at Ladd Marsh. JIM WARD photo

A dense blanket of fog greeted the ship, Otago, as it pulled into the Portland dock – March 13, 1881. Amidst the usual cargo of spices and fine silks were several crates of rather weird-looking birds. Each bird had a green head, a red chest and a striking white ring around his neck. The birds were pheasants from Shanghai, China, and this would be the first time such fowl would set feet on American soil. 

The spawn is on

While most Walllowa Lake kokanee spawn in the Wallowa River, some spawn along the lakeís shoreline. JEFF PETERSEN - The Observer

Visual treat awaits visitors to Wallowa Lake as colorful kokanee lay eggs in river 

Kokanee fishing is one of the biggest, year-round draws to Wallowa Lake. The landlocked sockeye are now spawning in and around Wallowa Lake State Park, providing a unique wildlife viewing opportunity.

“Not many people connect with wildlife without a bullet or a hook,” said Jeff Yanke, Enterprise district fish biologist.

The 12,000-mile man: Bicyclist rides equivalent of halfway around world each year

By Dick Mason
The Observer

La Grande bicyclist Steve Malone easily saw the large dump truck near the Flying J Travel Plaza in June 2011.

Unfortunately, the truck driver did not see him.

 An instant  later Malone’s life momentarily went topsy turvy. The dump truck hit Malone, destroying his bicycle and knocking him to the pavement.  

An ambulance was called to the scene, but Malone declined the ride. Later that day he went to Grande Ronde Hospital where doctors found he had a broken tailbone. Still, the bicyclist was undaunted. The next day a badly bruised Malone was cycling again, covering between 30 and 40 miles on a Union County ride. 

“It hurt to sit in a couch but not to sit on my bike seat,’’ Malone said.

It was telling ride, one revealing uncommon perseverance and a love for cycling, both of which help him do what few people in Northeast Oregon have — cycle enough miles to cross the United States four times a year.

Malone has cycled an average of about 1,000 miles a month for the past three years, and in the last two months he has pedaled 2,400 miles. Bicycling for Malone, on almost all days, is a joy. 



Endurance riding ĎTo finish is to winí

Tour gives natural resource professionals look at the Starkey Projectís unique elk

Day trip: Destination Lostine Canyon

The trail along Maxwell Creek ends at Maxwell Lake, a short hike from Shady Campground on the Lostine River. Thereís a leash law in the wilderness, so be sure your dogs are tethered. KATY NESBITT / The Observer

• What: Lostine is just more than two hours from Baker City, one hour and 20 minutes from La Grande and 17 minutes from Enterprise. There are many lodging options nearby in Wallowa County.

Hunting, Fishing and Viewing Reports for June 8, 2012

Hunting, Fishing and Viewing Reports for June 8, 2012

Itís time to take a hike

A paved, wheelchair-accessible trail follows the Powder River for about one mile at the Powder River Recreation Area along Highway 7, about 15 miles southwest of Baker City. A wide, well-graded gravel trail parallels the river on the opposite bank. The Recreation Area also includes wooden fishing platforms accessible to anglers in wheelchairs. S. JOHN COLLINS / Baker City Herald

Lower-elevation trails beckon trekkers 

The lingering snow that mantles the high peaks of the Wallowa and Elkhorn mountain ranges presents a pretty scene in these waning days of spring.

Unless you want to go hiking up there.

In which case those comely drifts are a plain old nuisance.

La Grande archer among nationís elite

Clayton Lowe of La Grande placed second in the bowhunter freestyle division at the recent National Field Archery Association championships in Redding, Calif.

Newcomer to archery places second in freestyle at national meet  

Limited experience is not limiting Clayton Lowe of La Grande when he takes on some of the best field archers in the nation.

Living with penguins


Researcher shares his Antarctica experience, where he studied penguins eight hours a day, with Ladd Marsh Birdathon audience 

A striking and uncommon image is painted when Noah Strycker speaks of standing out in a crowd.   

Strycker traveled to Antarctica four years ago for  the chance of a lifetime — to be among 250,000 Adelie penguins for four months with two other people. 

Viewing Report for June 1, 2012 / ODFW

Marsh Denizens: The sora and Virginia rails are quite common at Ladd Marsh, but seldom seen. The birds are very shy about coming out in the open and prefer to lurk in the dense cattails and sedges. Their calls are quite distinctive. If viewers can be still and patient, the birds do sneak out along the edges at times ó especially when they are looking to feed their young. JIM WARD photos

Waterfowl congregate at marsh

Outdoor School

Stella Mayfield sixth-graders set up a stream table provided by the Grande Ronde Model Watershed. DICK MASON / The Observer

Students learn plant identification and survival skills, animal tracking and much more

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Leonard Erickson was not revealing his secret to these Stella Mayfield School sixth-graders.

What Erickson was revealing were the keys to an art that most adults have never practiced, one that sheds light on nature’s mysteries.  

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