SALEM — Youth hunters (age 17 and under) can sign up now for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s free pheasant hunts happening around the state in September.
An event is being planned in Ontario, as well as Central Point, Corvallis, Eugene, Irrigon/Umatilla, John Day, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Madras, Portland/Sauvie Island and The Dalles (Tygh Valley). New this year, ODFW has also added a youth pheasant hunt at the new Coquille Valley Wildlife Area in Coquille.
Registration can be completed online (see Register for a Class/Youth Upland Hunts) or at an ODFW office that sells licenses.(Registration is not available at license sale agents.) The youth hunter or their parent will need to be logged in to the youth’s account to register online. The deadline to register is the Thursday before the hunt.
ODFW and partners stock pheasants at these special hunts that give youth a head start on regular pheasant seasons, which don’t begin until October. Quail and dove also can be hunted. Volunteers often bring their trained hunting dogs to some events and hunt with participants. Some events begin with a shotgun skills clinic, so participants can practice clay target shooting before hunting.
These events are open only to youth who have passed hunter education. (ODFW has hunter education classes and field days available before the events.) An adult 21 years of age or older must accompany the youth to supervise but may not hunt.
“Youth pheasant hunts are a great chance for young hunters to find early success and put the lessons learned in hunter education classes to work in the field,” says Brandon Harper, ODFW hunter education coordinator.
ODFW stresses safety during the hunts. Both hunter and supervisor must wear a hunter orange hat, eye protection and a hunter orange vest — equipment provided at the clinics by ODFW to anyone who doesn’t have it. Hunters also need to check in and out of the hunt.
The hunts are free, though participants need a valid hunting license ($10 for youth 12 and older, free for age 11 and under) to hunt. Youth hunters age 12-17 also need an upland game bird validation ($4). Purchase on ODFW’s website or at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses. Licenses and validations will not be sold at the events.
While most areas have a hunt both Saturday and Sunday, youth hunters may sign up for only one hunt. They are welcome to hunt stand by on the other day.