GENERAL: Recent cool temperatures and precipitation has improved hunting conditions for big game. Local federal land management agencies may be conducting fall burning which could impact hunters. Consult Prineville BLM (416-6700) or Ochoco National Forest (416-6500) for the latest on prescribed fires and access.
1ST BULL SEASON:
Elk appear scattered across public and private lands, at all elevations. Last years above average calf numbers should provide improved opportunities for yearling bulls, with a good carry over of mature bulls noted in the Maury and Ochoco units. Cooler weather, with snow, will improve chances for success. Hunters in the Ochoco Unit are reminded the motorized access restrictions are in effect in the Rager and South Boundary Travel Management Areas and are unchanged from 2005.
Cougar are reported regularly in the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units, at all elevations and habitat types. Early season rifle and archery hunters should look for sign, particularly on Ochoco National Forest lands in areas frequented by elk and deer.
Populations are limited with the better opportunities in the denser forested portions of the Ochoco National Forest in the Ochoco and Grizzly units. Suggested areas to consider include the northern portion of Ochoco unit in Bridge Creek, Pisgah Mountain, Keeton Creek, and Rock Creek; and Bear and Trout Creeks in the Grizzly unit.
Blue/Ruffed Grouse: Forest grouse will be at higher elevations in the denser forested portions of the Ochoco and Grizzly units.
Valley Quail and Chukar: Opportunities are limited for chukar, with the best chances on steeper canyon areas associated with the John Day, Crooked, and Deschutes Rivers. Valley quail are present in all three units, particularly in more agricultural areas around streams, ponds, and other wet areas. Concentrations of birds will generally be near or on private lands where permission from the landowner is necessary.
At this time most birds present are resident birds using local reservoirs, ponds, and water bodies. The larger concentrations of birds are around private land where permission from the owner is needed. Goose hunters are reminded the season closes Oct. 23 and reopens Oct. 31 in this zone.