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Bowhunting starts Aug. 29 – Know before you go!

Hunting season and many public forests are open, but respect fire restrictions, closures

August 25, 2015

SALEM, Ore.— Despite a flurry of internet rumors claiming otherwise, statewide deer and elk archery seasons will open as scheduled on Saturday, Aug. 29.

“The archery season is starting soon and we hope bowhunters have a fun, safe and successful experience,” says Ron Anglin, ODFW wildlife division administrator. “Because of the extreme fire danger, hunters should be aware that there are fire restrictions throughout Oregon and some local closures of public land associated with active fires and firefighting.”

Hunters need to know what those fire restrictions and closures are before they go afield. The InciWeb website has information on fires and closures due to firefighting, plus maps of closure areas in some cases. Currently, there are active fires and related closures on the Malheur, Rogue-River-Siskiyou, Umatilla, Umpqua, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Closures are also in effect on some BLM lands where there is fire activity.

All state, federal and industrial forests are also under public use restrictions to prevent more fires. Restrictions vary by area but some key rules to follow are:

  • No smoking except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats or at designated locations.
  • No open fires such as campfires, charcoal fires or cooking fires except in designated locations. (Currently campfires are prohibited, even in designated fire pits, in all Oregon state parks, Tillamook County and in some national forests, too.) Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed. 
  • No off-roading by motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Vehicles are only allowed on improved roads. Keep your vehicle off vegetation, it could start a fire!
  • No exploding targets or tracer ammunition.
  • Carry firefighting tools (one gallon of water or 2.5 pound fire extinguisher and one shovel at least 26 inches long with an 8-inch blade) when travelling in a motor vehicle in timber, brush or grass.

See this ODF map to understand the precaution level in various areas and/or check with the national forest or other public land manager where you plan to hunt. ODFW’s recreation report (updated Wednesdays) will also provide some information but hunters need to confirm closures and restrictions with land managers.

“We currently have no plans to close access to Oregon state forestlands,” says Oregon Department of Forestry’s Tony Andersen. “But we ask that hunters and everyone in the outdoors this time of year follow fire restrictions and be vigilant about preventing any new fires.”

“Anyone visiting a national forest, grassland, or BLM land should take every precaution to prevent human-caused fires,” says Patrick Lair with the Ochoco National Forest. “This includes taking care not to discharge firearms into dry duff and pine needles or driving over vegetation. Also, always maintain a fire watch for several hours if you think there could be a potential spark.”    

Private land closures

Due to extreme fire danger and few firefighting resources left, many private forestlands are currently closed to public access, including hunting.

For a partial list of these closures, visit ODF’s web site at Oregon.gov/odf under Wildfires /Forest Restrictions & Closures / Landowner / Corporate Closure Chart. This chart is updated frequently and also contains a phone number to get the latest information about restrictions directly from the timber company. If the land where you hunt is not represented, call the landowner directly for access information.

“Private landowners will reopen their land when conditions significantly improve and it is safe to do so,” says Mike Dykzeul, director of forest protection at the Oregon Forest Industries Council.

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(503) 947-6022
Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us

 
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