Ochoco Wildlife District
Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Management Area:
Remember that on November 15 the gates on the North Side Access Road closed between Jasper Point and Old Field to protect wintering mule deer and elk, and to prevent soil damage. The closure only restricts motorized access. Non-motorized access from hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts is welcome. The closure is seasonal, has been occurring for many years with the road reopening for motorized travel in the spring.
Late November Antlerless elk hunts open in the Ochoco unit, and portions of the Maury unit November 17. Hunters should come prepared for cold winter weather conditions. The recent bull seasons have scattered herds, and hunters may have to spend considerable time scouting to find elk.
Mule Deer Buck - Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Cougar - Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Black Bear - Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Hunters are reminded the South Boundary and Rager Green Dot Travel Management Areas (TMA) with restrictions on motorized vehicles are in effect in the Ochoco unit. Maps are available at portal signs as you enter the TMA’s, or from local ODFW and forest service offices.
Cougar are scattered at all elevations across both public and private lands. With deer numbers are greatest at higher elevations on the Ochoco National Forest; hunters can expect cougar to be present as well. Areas to consider include Lookout and Pisgah Mountains and Sunflower Creek (Ochoco unit) and Green Mountain and Mill Creek (Grizzly unit).
Valley quail numbers appear strong, with the best opportunities on agricultural private lands throughout Crook and Jefferson Counties. Springs, stream areas, and other rangelands with cover and water on the Crooked River National Grasslands and BLM lands would also be good area to check.
Chukar are more limited in distribution, with areas along the Crooked, Deschutes, and John Day Rivers offering the best opportunities. Much of this involves private lands where permission from the landowner is needed.
The best opportunities for blue and ruffed grouse will be on the higher elevations on the Ochoco National Forest. The better areas will be on the heavier forested north slopes across the Paulina and Lookout Mountain Ranger Districts. Hunters are reminded the season closes Nov. 25 in eastern Oregon.
Duck and goose hunters will find most birds present are residents, with migrating birds yet to arrive in any numbers. This area is challenging as most of the better hunting is on private lands. There are limited opportunities on public land around Prineville Res., and along the Crooked River.
The Dalles Wildlife District
The Hood unit and the forested portion of White River Wildlife Area can provide excellent opportunity for bear hunters, especially in clear cuts and huckleberry fields. Hunters should focus on still hunting in clearings, spending a good deal of time glassing.
With the onset of winter weather conditions, deer and elk have begun their annual migration into lower elevations. For hunters wishing to pursue mountain lions, this means that hunting effort should be focused on areas where big game winter. Blinding up over a fresh lion kill is a productive strategy to hunting cats.
Waterfowl season is open within the district. The majority of waterfowl hunting opportunities are present on private lands, with a few exceptions along the Columbia and Deschutes rivers.
Upland game birds are found throughout the district. Bird production was fair in the area this year, with populations being at or near the ten year average. Hunters wishing to target pheasant and quail should focus on areas in and around streams or near agricultural areas. Public access can be found on the Lower Deschutes and White River Wildlife areas, as well as BLM property in the Deschutes and John Day canyons. Hunters should be aware that bird hunting is prohibited within ¼ mile of the John Day River from the Columbia upstream to Thirtymile Creek.
Open: Pheasant, chukar, duck, forest grouse (closes Nov. 25), California quail, mt quail (open in Wheeler, Hood Rvr and Wasco counties) cougar, bear, crow