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Hunting in Oregon
Hunter Safety


Every hunter has the responsibility to enter the field well-prepared to hunt in a safe, ethical manner; the future of our hunting heritage depends on it.

ODFW’s Hunter Education Program has outlined the following information to ensure that hunters are aware of the primary firearm safety rules and the most common causes of hunting incidents.

The four primary rules of firearm safety:

  • MUZZLE – Control the direction of your muzzle at all times.
  • TRIGGER – Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
  • ACTION – Treat every firearm as though it were loaded – Open the action and visually check if it is loaded. Firearms should be unloaded with actions open when not actually in use.
  • TARGET – Be sure of your target, and what is in front of it and beyond it.

To help avoid being mistaken for game, ODFW strongly advises hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts to wear blaze orange. Blaze orange clothing makes it much easier for one hunter to spot and recognize another hunter or outdoors enthusiast because nothing in nature matches this color.  Because deer and elk see blaze orange as grey your hunting will not be affected. Consider wearing both a blaze orange vest or jacket and a hat so you will be visible from all directions.

The most common causes of hunting incidents are:

  • Hunter judgment mistakes, such as mistaking another person for game or not checking the foreground or background before firing.
  • Safety rule violations, including pointing the muzzle in an unsafe direction and ignoring proper procedures for crossing a fence, obstacle, or difficult terrain.

Other causes of hunting incidents:

  • Lack of control and practice, which can lead to accidental discharges and stray shots.
  • Mechanical failure, such as an obstructed barrel, improper ammunition, or malfunctioning safety.
No hunter enters the field expecting to be the cause of, or victim of, a hunting incident. The vast majority of incidents can be avoided by proper preparation and awareness.

Hunter Safety Alerts

Marijuana Grows on the Increase

With the increase of unlawful marijuana grows being located on State and National land hunters should be aware of their surroundings while recreating.

If you observe camp sites away from main roads, irrigation equipment, cultivated areas or marijuana plants, leave the area immediately from the same direction you entered. Note the location of the suspicious activities and report that information to your local law enforcement agency or the Oregon State Police TIP line, 1-800-472-7888.

Oregon is Black Bear Country

Follow these guidelines to avoid conflicts:

  • Keep food in bear-proof containers or store in trunk vehicle.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Know that by calling in an animal, you may attract bear.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Watch for fresh bear signs such as tracks, droppings or diggings.
  • Be careful when field-dressing a deer or elk. Make noise; talk and laugh so bears know you are there.
  • If you have to leave the carcass overnight, hang it at least 10-12 feet off the ground and 5-6 feet from nearby trees in an open area.

Bonneville Power Administration’s Crime Witness Program

Damaging the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission lines and property is a crime, and can result in serious injury and public access closures. Anyone who sees or suspects a crime to a BPA transmission system or BPA property can be a Crime Witness by calling the 24-hour toll-free, confidential Crime Witness hotline at (800) 437-2744. You could earn a cash reward of up to $25,000!


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