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Campfire Collective Feb 7th, 2019

Hunting in Oregon

Endless trees and a distant road in an Oregon forest.

For exact dates, zones and bag limits check the Oregon Big Game Regulations. Oregon offers rifle, archery and muzzleloader hunts with some special hunts specifically for youth (age 17 and under).


White-tailed deer are protected in all Western Oregon units except controlled hunts in Southwest Oregon that specifically list white-tailed deer in the bag limit. The bag limit for bucks and antlerless deer differ for each zone. Check the Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife to ensure you understand the proper bag limits. The tag sale deadline is one day before you begin your hunt.

In order to increase the youth hunting opportunity, the western general buck deer firearm season is extended for two days for youth age 12-17. Specific guidelines must be obeyed such as carrying an unfilled Western Oregon general season deer tag, an unfilled W. High Cascade (119A), or an unfilled Hood-White River (141A) controlled hunt tag. If each of these requirements are met, youth hunters may hunt the area of the Western Oregon general deer season. This opportunity is not available to Mentored Youth Hunt Program participants as each youth hunter must have their own tag.


Elk are the second most popular game to hunt in Oregon after deer. In eastern Oregon the Rocky Mountain elk are found and the Roosevelt elk are found in western Oregon. The most concentrated areas of elk are in the Coast, Cascade and Blue Mountain ranges. Both controlled and over-the-counter hunting opportunities are available for elk in Oregon. Many hunters can access public and private lands in Oregon. Rifle hunting is general season in western Oregon for the most part, except for some coastal units where it’s controlled hunting.

All the general rifle elk seasons take place in October and November. Archery elk hunting is general season nearly statewide and coincides with general archery deer season. The bag limit is “one elk” in many units. It opens on a Saturday in late August and runs 30 days, ending on a Sunday in late September. Some controlled archery hunts are also available. A Premium Elk Hunt is available in almost all wildlife management units. Hunters who draw this tag can hunt September 1- November 3.


There is a spring and fall bear hunting season in Oregon. The fall season is completely general while the spring season is controlled in NW and Eastern Oregon. There are a limited number of spring bear tags for SW Oregon that are sold on a first come, first-serve basis and typically sell out in early February. To apply for your spring bear controlled hunt, apply online or at any license sales agent. If you purchase a SW Oregon tag before the draw, you will not be eligible to apply for a controlled hunt or get a Point Saver.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep are a once in a lifetime hunt in the state of Oregon. A person may draw only one bighorn sheep tag in their lifetime. If you are lucky enough to draw a tag, the bighorn sheep that you take must have one horn marked by ODFW personnel. Within 72 hours of completing the hunt, hunters must check out through the local ODFW office in the specific district where the hunt occured. The ODFW office is open Monday to Friday 8 am – 5 pm and the hunter must keep this in mind as these are the only times they can checkout unless prior arrangements have been made. The hunt area for these bighorn sheep are the entire Wildlife Management Unit unless indicated with an asterisk(*).

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn antelope are the fastest moving ungulates in North America. Oregon is home to around 25,000 pronghorn. They are deer-size with long, thin legs and feet with a small tail and two unique horns. Hunters can spot them easily in a field due to their contrasting white sides, underside and rear end. No more than two people may apply as a party for pronghorn antelope. You cannot shoot a pronghorn antelope from within 50 yards of a motor vehicle including aircraft, except persons that have an “Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit”. The hunting area is the entire Wildlife Management Unit unless indicated with an asterisk(*).


Oregon has around 6,000 cougars statewide with concentrations in the Cascade Range and Blue Mountains. There have been sightings lately of cougars in northwest Oregon including suburbs of Portland. Hunting is open statewide (between January 1 – December 31) under a general season all year, or until zone quotas are met. Hunters targeting cougars generally use predator calls and track them in the snow. The bag limit is one cougar per tag. It is unlawful to take spotted kittens or females with spotted kittens.

There is a mandatory check for all cougars taken. They must be presented (by appointment) to an ODFW office within 10 days of the kill to be checked and marked. The person responsible for taking the animal must present it. Hunters are required to check the unfrozen hide with skull and proof of sex attached. If a hunter has taken a female, they are required to submit the reproductive tract. Check the ODFW website for more information on what hunters must provide at check-in.

Small Game

Small game species are an ideal way to introduce new hunters to hunting. They can be found throughout the state and only the appropriate hunting license is required to hunt small game (no tags or permits). The three major categories of small game in Oregon are: Western Gray Squirrel, unprotected mammals, and furbearers.

Western Gray Squirrel

The western gray squirrel is a game mammal and a hunting license is required to hunt them. Refer to the ODFW website for seasons and bag limits.

Unprotected Mammals

Unprotected mammals are not covered under the game mammal, furbear or sensitive species rules. There are no closed seasons or bag limits however, a hunting license is still required and all general hunting regulations still apply. Commonly hunted unprotected mammals include: coyote, cottontail rabbits, black-tailed jackrabbit, opossum, nutria, California ground squirrel, and Belding’s ground squirrels.


Furbearers include beaver, bobcat, marten, mink, muskrat, otter, raccoon, red fox and gray fox. To hunt them a Furtaker’s License or a Hunting License for Furbearers is requires. To find out about the current seasons, bag limits etc refer to the “Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations”

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