Highlights from this week’s Recreation Report:
Cold, wet forecasts brighten duck hunting prospects
Several wildlife areas report good habitat conditions with plenty of water, and increasing numbers of migrant birds arriving. Add a little blustery weather and hunters have a good recipe for duck hunting success. Check out the waterfowl and upland bird harvest statistics at ODFW wildlife areas.
Winter steelhead have arrived
Some early returning hatchery fish already have been caught in coastal rivers. Fishing should improve through November and December. Keep an eye on water levels, and be ready to hit the water when levels start to fall after rain events.
Can’t get enough turkey?
Was your Thanksgiving turkey not enough? Don’t worry, there are still western Oregon general fall season tags available. You can pick yours up at any ODFW license agent. (Sorry, eastern Oregon tags are sold out.)
There’s still time to take a friend hunting
Hunters have until the end of the year to enter the “Take a Friend Hunting” contest. For veteran hunters who want to pass on their passion for the outdoors, this is the year to take that friend hunting—and enter to win a prize for your efforts. Find more details about how to participate.
South Central Oregon Bird Hunting Report
OPEN: FOREST GROUSE, CROW, PHEASANT/CHUKAR/QUAIL, WATERFOWL
Waterfowl: The season opened Oct. 7 and will continue with some short breaks through March 8, 2018. Significant variation exists in season dates and bag limits for various species of ducks and geese. Hunters need to be familiar with the regulations in the area before attempting to harvest waterfowl species. Upper Klamath Lake water levels are at or above normal giving hunters increased opportunity to access areas compared to last season. Additional opportunities may exist in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex including Lower Klamath Lake, contact HQ at (530)667-2231 for more information. Changes in weather patterns in coming weeks should alter and potentially improve hunting conditions.
Forest Grouse season continues through Jan. 31. Best prospects are in the Cascade Mountains for both blue and ruffed grouse, although fair numbers of blue grouse can be found in forested habitat in eastern Klamath County
KLAMATH WILDLIFE AREA
Updated Nov. 28, 2017
The Miller Island Unit is open to public use Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. All other days are closed to all entry, except public Rds., parking areas, boat ramp, designated birding trail and designated dog training area.
Hunters must obtain a self-serve permit available at the check station on Miller Island Road if hunting on the Miller Island Unit. The “B” half of the permit must be filled out completely and returned when done hunting for the day.
Miller Island Unit
The Miller Island Unit is located 6 miles south and west of Klamath Falls. Miller Island Unit is closed to all access from 10:00pm until 4:00am.
Posted safety zones are closed to all hunting.
Gorr Island Unit
Gorr Island is located four miles south of the Miller Island Unit in the Klamath River, accessible only by boat. Gorr Island is open daily with no permit required during authorized seasons.
Shoalwater Bay Unit and Sesti Tgawaals Unit
Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals are both located on the west side of Upper Klamath Lake approximately 10 miles to the north and west of Klamath Falls. Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals Units are both open for hunting daily with no permit required during authorized seasons.
Waterfowl and Upland Hunting Information
Mourning dove season is closed.
Waterfowl hunting continues to slow. Cold morning temperatures could produce some ice, which should be melted by the afternoon. Canada goose is closed Nov. 27-Dec. 10, white-fronted and white geese is closed Nov. 27, 2017 through Jan. 15, 2018. Habitat and water conditions remain excellent.
Upland hunting has slowed. There are no more pheasant releases.
Weekly and summarized harvest statistics can be found at: Hunting Statistics
Upland game bird hunting starts at 10:00 a.m.
Non-toxic shot is required for all game bird hunting.
A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is now required to park on the Wildlife Area. Cost is $10 daily or $30 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license; just be sure to put it on your dashboard. Buy online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent.
Overnight camping is not allowed on the Miller Island Unit.
If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5732.
Forest Grouse season continues through Jan. 31. Best prospects for blue grouse are in the forested portions of the Winter Rim, Gearhart and Warner mountains along ridge lines with adequate roost trees and low ground forage. Very few ruffed grouse exist in the county.
Waterfowl: Increased abundance of flooded wetlands and associated habitats over recent years as a result of favorable winter and spring precipitation has improved hunting prospects in both the Goose Lake Valley and in the Warner wetlands. Look for a majority of those birds present in those valleys now to continue their migration to points southward as the ponds begin to freeze hard with cooling overnight temperatures.
The duck, merganser, snipe and coot hunting season is closed on Nov. 27-28. The Canada goose season also closes on Nov. 27 and remains closed through Dec. 10. White-fronted and snow goose season will close on Nov. 27 and will not reopen until Jan. 15, 2018.
SUMMER LAKE WILDLIFE AREA
Updated Nov. 28, 2017
Mourning dove hunting season ended on Oct. 30.
General migratory game (ducks, geese, American coots and Wilson’s snipe) and upland gamebird hunting seasons continue. The duck, merganser, snipe and coot hunting season will reopen on November 29. The Canada goose season remains closed through December 10. White-fronted and snow goose season will not reopen until January 15, 2018.
Hunting conditions were variable during the 7th week of the season, but overall favorable due to cooler temperatures, cloudy skies and sometimes moderate to strong wind conditions. The weather conditions resulted in slightly above average hunter success, and nearly the same participation compared to the same week last season. Harvest was up for ducks, but the total geese and upland species harvested were down.
Seventh week hunters checking-in totaled 212, nearly the same compared to last year and up 19 percent compared to last week. Hunters (94.8 percent check-out) reported the total harvest of 351 birds (314 ducks, 22 geese, 9 American Coots, 3 ring-necked pheasants and 3 California quail. This total harvest was down slightly (-2.5 percent) from the same week last year and down (-11.8 percent) from the previous week.
Duck harvest consisted of 102 mallards, 59 gadwall, 56 American wigeon, 33 northern shoveler, 32 bufflehead, 13 northern pintail, 5 American green-winged teal, 5 goldeneye, and 9 other ducks of 4 species for an average of 1.73 ducks per hunter, which was up 25.5 percent from the same week last year.
Goose harvest consisted of 14 Canada 7 snow, and 1 white-fronted geese for a goose per hunter average of 0.12 which was down considerably (-62.6 percent) from last year.
American coot harvest was up by 50 percent compared to the same week last year.
Upland game bird harvest was up for pheasants (3 vs. 1), but down considerably for quail (3 vs. 27) compared to last year’s harvest.
Prospects for the eighth week are good as far as habitat conditions and weather conditions throughout the week and leading into the weekend. However, goose hunting will remain closed for another 2 weeks. Bird numbers remain fairly good due to generally moderate temperatures and weather conditions, but no weekly count was conducted last week.
Predicted weather for the week shows cloudy skies, likely snow and rain showers but with light and variable wind. Overnight low temperatures are expected to be below freezing, which could result in increased feeding activity compared to last week.
Nearly all wetland units are well-flooded and recently flooded areas are providing abundant food for waterfowl. The entire area remains open and ice-free at this time, but temperatures below freezing have been forming sheet ice that remains until mid-morning.
The last weekly bird count (Nov. 17) found 29,234 ducks and 3,029 geese on the wildlife area. About 2,000 snow geese were observed and 2,756 swans, a noticeable increase due to the arrival of migrant tundra and trumpeter swans. A few great egrets remain on the wildlife area at this time and with the influx of tundra swans hunters will have to carefully identify birds before they shoot. Due to the holiday week, the next weekly count will not occur until Nov. 29. The results will be posted on the ODFW website and telephone answering machine.
All hunters are required to obtain and have a daily hunting permit in their possession while in the field. Free daily hunting permits can be obtained via self-service in the Headquarters Office Lobby, 24 hours a day. Please carefully read and follow the instruction when obtaining permits.
Check-out is mandatory and can be accomplished by filling out and dropping the permit off in check-out boxes found at major access areas.
Hunter need to make sure licenses and validations are up to date. Sports-pac license holders will have had to return to a Point-of-Sale agent to obtain current year validations and migratory bird HIP. Federal Duck Stamps are required of hunters 16 years or older and can be purchased at U.S. Post Offices and some POS agents.
Non-toxic shot is required for all Game Bird hunting.
Please contact Summer Lake Wildlife Area at (541) 943-3152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.