By Tom Carpenter
“It should be a good year for Oregon pheasants, at least on the east side,” says Mikal Cline, Upland Game Bird Coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Here are the details.
WEATHER AND CONDITIONS
“Oregon had a mild winter, decent spring precipitation, and a very dry summer in wild pheasant range,” reports Cline. “These factors produced generally excellent conditions for pheasant hatch and brood rearing.”
HATCH AND BROODS
“Pheasant detections in our surveys were notably up in the Columbia Basin and Mid-Columbia Districts,” says Cline. “While the Malheur County overall counts were down, production looked quite good.”
HABITAT AND PROGRAMS
“Pheasant habitat continues to be marginal in some places, limited to those irrigation drainages that haven’t been sealed, wetland edges, and cereal grain edges that still have some weedy over,” says Cline.
“Although Oregon’s pheasant populations have fallen off over the past half century, compared to recent years, there should be a bumper crop of birds,” says Cline.
“The Columbia Basin, Mid-Columbia Basin and Malheur County should be prime spots,” she adds.
“A lot of eastern Oregon’s wild pheasants are on private ground,” says Cline. “However, there are public opportunities on the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge complexes, as well as ODFW’s Ladd Marsh wildlife area.”
“Check the regulations before you go,” she advises, “as hunting is not allowed every day on the refuges. ODFW also has several public access programs in pheasant range including Open Fields, Upland Cooperative Access Program, and the Heppner Regulated Hunt Area.”