Oregon's General Hunting Season Opens Oct. 2nd

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The peak of Oregon's hunting season begins next month, and ODFW reminds hunters that playing it safe is the first step to a successful hunt.

"Hunting is a very safe sport and enjoyable experience as long as hunters take some basic safety precautions," said James Reed, ODFW statewide hunter education coordinator.

"All hunting and firearm incidents can be avoided if some basic hunter safety rules are followed," Reed added.

  • Be sure of your target, and what is in front of it and beyond it.
  • Control the muzzle of your firearm at all times.
  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Wear blaze orange. It does make a difference!

Since mandatory hunter education for anyone under age 18 began in the 1960s, overall hunting incidents in the state have dropped dramatically – from 90 plus incidents per year to less than 9. Much of this decline can be credited to the 700 volunteer instructors who teach the basics of hunter safety an estimated 6,000 students each year.

ODFW offers several options for getting hunter education certification. Most students participate in one of the traditional hunter education classes that are held throughout the state. Students also may elect to take an online hunter education course, which includes $15 fee for the online class, and $10 fee for the required one-day certification class.

According to Reed, the on-line course also can be a good refresher for hunters who haven’t been in the field for a while and would benefit from a quick review of safe and ethical hunting practices, survival skills and other topics. The on-line class is free to those taking it as a review.

The peak of the hunting season is October through January but hunting is open all year for some wildlife in some areas. Please visit the ODFW Recreation Report for a list of which hunting seasons are open in specific areas.

Below are a few dates of some of the major fall hunting seasons in Oregon. Last year, more than 96,000 hunters participated in western Oregon general deer rifle hunts and almost 60,000 participated in eastern Oregon limited deer hunting.

  • Oct 2-15, Oct 23-Nov. 5: Western Oregon general deer rifle seasons in the Cascades.
  • Oct 2-Nov 5: Western Oregon general rifle deer season on the Coast.
  • Oct 2-13: The majority of controlled (limited-entry) rifle deer hunting in eastern Oregon occurs.
  • Oct 16-22: Cascade elk season.
  • Nov. 13-16 and 20-26: Coast elk seasons.

Upland and migratory bird seasons vary by species and location but generally start in September or October and extend through December or January. Whatever you're hunting for, be sure to check the appropriate hunting regulations before setting out.

"We want to encourage people to get out and hunt, and to keep it safe and legal," Reed said.