Youth hunters on the prowl

September 13, 2013 01:21 pm

Youth hunters will have the chance to hunt pheasants, quail and dove Saturday and Sunday at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area. The event is free and is open to hunters 17 years old and younger. (Observer file)
Youth hunters will have the chance to hunt pheasants, quail and dove Saturday and Sunday at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area. The event is free and is open to hunters 17 years old and younger. (Observer file)

Young hunters will be all over Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area this weekend for free pheasant hunts 

Youth hunters will be flocking to Ladd Marsh Wildlife area Saturday and Sunday for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual free Youth Pheasant Hunt.

The event is for hunters ages 17 and younger and provides them a chance to take rooster pheasants, quail and doves before the actual season starts.

According to Dave Larson, the manager of Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, the event is similar to previous years it’s been held.

The ODFW will release 173 pheasants today at 5 p.m. at Ladd Marsh. Anyone interested in helping with the release may attend.

The pheasants were purchased by ODFW, the Oregon Hunters Association and Oregon Trail Trader.

The ODFW bought 100, OHA purchased 50 and Oregon Trail Trader bought 23.

The pheasants were raised by Mortensen’s Purple Sage Game Farm in Caldwell, Idaho.

Larson said that the ODFW purchases 5,000 pheasants state-wide and the majority of them are used on the western side of the state.

“We have a pretty healthy number of birds out here,” Larson said.

Hunters who participate in this weekend’s event must be accompanied by an adult 21 years old or older. Hunters must have proof of completion of a hunters safety course.

Larson said he expects another good turnout this year.

“Generally speaking a lot of hunters come out and participate both days,” Larson said. “I’d say we’ll have 80 to 100 people for the two days combined.”

The wildlife area is limited to 35 hunters at one time, but Larson said that shouldn’t be problematic.

“We don’t usually have any problems with that,” he said. 

And there will also be an added bonus for young hunters.

For those who don’t own a hunting dog, there will be local hunters available at the wildlife area who will provide their dogs for a hunt.

The area is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

Registration can be done on site and starts at 7 a.m.

For more information, call Larson at 541-963-4954.

Baker City hunts coming up

BAKER CITY — The annual Baker County youth pheasant hunts are scheduled for Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 at the Baldock Slough wetlands near the Baker City Airport.

The free event, sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, will take place from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days.

The hunts are open to anyone 17 or younger. Each hunter must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older.

Advance registration is recommended, as there is a limit of 50 hunters each day. To register, visit any ODFW license dealer or go to the ODFW website,

Hunters can also register on the morning of either day, if space allows.

Although the event is free, participants must have completed a hunter education course. Hunters 13 and younger should also acquire a youth hunting license, which is free. 

Hunters ages 14-17 will need to buy a juvenile hunting license and an upland bird validation.

The Baker City event requires nontoxic shot. Steel shot
ammunition will be available, for free, for both 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotguns.

Participants should ensure their shotguns are in safe working order and capable of shooting steel shot. 

This commonly includes an open choke constriction and a barrel
capable of accommodating steel shot.

ODFW will release rooster pheasants prior to the hunt. A combination of bird numbers, quality habitat that holds birds and onsite shooting instruction has yielded very high success rates the past few years for the Baker City event, according to reports.

To get to the Baldock Slough wetlands, take Exit 298 (Medical Springs/Baker City Airport) from Interstate 84. 

Drive east a short distance toward Medical Springs, then turn north on Stall Road and follow it to the check-in site. Trained hunting dogs are encouraged. Caution is urged in working dogs in what could be hot, dry weather. 

More information is available by calling ODFW at 541-963-2138 or Dick Haines at 541-523-3554.