SALEM, Ore. — Sage-grouse hunters are reminded they need to apply for a permit by Aug. 13 to hunt the fall season.
Overall, Oregon sage-grouse spring lek counts were up 10.4% from last year, the second year of increase since 2019.
Permits available for the 2021 season are about the same as last year. Only East Whitehorse Unit has changed with five more permits available after the discovery of several previously unknown leks using aerial surveys. Units not listed have no available permits.
Beulah = 150
Malheur River = 100
Owyhee = 70
E. Whitehorse = 75
Trout Creek Mountains = 30
Steens Mountain = 30
Beatys Butte = 80
Silvies = 20
North Wagontire = 20
Warner = 60
Apply online or at a license sales agent. To apply online, login to the 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 game bird hunting license is required.
Results of the draw will be available Aug. 24 and the season runs Sept. 11-19. 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 2021 with those units open to hunting either steady or increasing. 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. The largest increases were seen in the Whitehorse, Owyhee, and Warner units. Sage-grouse populations are known to cycle through peaks and troughs, and it appears Oregon’s sage-grouse populations are on the increase from the low counts in 2019.
“With the exceptionally dry conditions in sage-grouse range, we are taking a cautionary approach and keeping permit numbers virtually the same as last year. It was nice to see a strong turnout at the leks, but we expect some impact to brood survival with the lack of water and cover in this year’s drought. We encourage hunters to be vigilant about keeping fire risk low while in sage-grouse country” said Mikal Cline, ODFW upland game bird coordinator
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.