SALEM, Ore. — Sage-grouse hunters are reminded they need to apply for a permit by Aug. 12 to hunt the fall season.
Overall, Oregon sage-grouse spring lek counts were up 9.9 percent from last year, the third year of increase since 2019.
Permits available for the 2022 season have been modified for four units compared to last year. The East Whitehorse, Trout Creek Mountains, and Steens WMUs will have modest increases of 5 to 10 permits. The Beatys Butte WMU will offer 20 fewer permits than last year due to a lower than expected population estimate that considers lek count data and hunter harvested wing data from last year. Units not listed have no available permits.
Beulah = 150
Malheur River = 100
Owyhee = 70
E. Whitehorse = 85
Trout Creek Mountains = 35
Steens Mountain = 40
Beatys Butte = 60
Silvies = 20
North Wagontire = 20
Warner = 60
Apply online or at a license sales agent. To apply online, login to https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login, go to Purchase from the Catalog / Bird Hunting and select Sage Grouse – Controlled Hunt Application. Proceed to checkout to make your hunt choices and purchase the application.
An annual hunting license is required.
Results of the draw will be available Aug. 23 and the season runs Sept. 10-18. The bag limit is two sage-grouse. Successful applicants much purchase a Sage-Grouse Permit prior to hunting. See more regulations here https://www.eregulations.com/oregon/hunting/game-bird/game-bird-seasons.
Overall, it appears Oregon’s fall sage-grouse population will be up for 2022 with most units open to hunting seeing either steady or increasing populations. ODFW biologists and volunteers survey sage-grouse leks (breeding grounds) to count the number of males that visit each year and improved numbers were observed this spring. Sage-grouse populations are known to cycle through peaks and troughs, and it appears Oregon’s sage-grouse populations are enjoying a third year of increase since the low counts of 2019.
“Overall, spring lek counts were better than expected, considering the poor habitat conditions from 2021. We are maintaining a cautious approach with permit numbers, particularly in units that aren’t tracking with the overall trends,” said Mikal Cline, ODFW upland game bird coordinator.
“While southeast Oregon is still in severe to exceptional drought, some well-timed precipitation in spring helped to provide more cover and better nutrients for growing broods this year,” Cline continued. “We remind hunters to be vigilant about keeping fire risk low while in sage-grouse country.”
ODFW carefully regulates the controlled sage-grouse season to keep harvest at less than 5 percent of the population, within the normal mortality rate of the birds. Hunters are an important source of population data about sage-grouse. By examining the wings of sage-grouse returned by successful hunters, ODFW is able to determine the age structure and sex ratio of the population.
For more about sage-grouse hunting visit https://myodfw.com/articles/sage-grouse-hunting-oregon-0.