SALEM, Ore. – State wildlife managers remind bow hunters to check with land managers for any fire closures or restrictions that could affect access before heading out for the opening of archery season Saturday, Aug. 25.
Recent rains have improved hunting conditions for the archery season opener. Besides dampening fire activity, rains and cooler weather should make deer and elk more active during the day and reduce the noise of hunter movements.
Still, hunters need to be aware of access restrictions due to active fires and high fire danger in other areas. For example, public access and motor vehicle use are restricted in areas within the perimeter of the Egley Fire Complex in Harney County.
Hunters and others planning trips into Oregon’s wild areas should be prepared to be flexible with their plans if they encounter access restrictions. Land managers are continuously re-evaluating the situation and will restore access as soon as they are able. “Forest managers are aware of archery season and know it’s important to open areas as soon as it safe,” noted Joani Bosworth with the Umatilla National Forest, where the Ukiah Complex and Otter Creek fires have been burning.
ODFW does not close hunting seasons due to fire danger. However, hunters may need to hunt in a different area if their favorite hunting spot is the site of an active fire or if a private landowner has closed access due to fire danger.
Hunters should also be prepared to comply with fire-related restrictions by walking on roads that have been closed to vehicle traffic, carrying fire safety equipment such as shovels, axes and water into camp, and cooking on a gas stove not an open fire.
Specific information about restrictions can be found at the Oregon Department of Forestry’s website. Restrictions commonly put in place include:
- Prohibition of smoking while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, and at designated locations.
- Open fires such as campfires, charcoal fires, and cooking fires are allowed only in designated locations. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
- The use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, may be prohibited, except on improved roads.
- Possessing the following fire equipment while traveling in timber, brush or grass areas may be required: one axe at least 26 inches in length, with a head weighing at least 2 pounds; one shovel at least 26 inches in length, with a blade at least 8 inches wide; and one gallon of water or one fully charged and an operational 2.5 lb or larger fire extinguisher.
Below are websites that can provide information about closures and restrictions.
Oregon Department of Forestry
Contact the nearest ODF office or call 503 945 7200 to be directed to a local office.
Oregon fire incidents
U.S. Forest Service
Bureau of Land Management