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Kids get their shot at pheasants

By Tyler Dungannon
08/14/14 -- [Story printed with permission from OHA] Young Oregon hunters can take advantage of extraordinary opportunities to enjoy a day or two of pheasant hunting in September, perhaps even with a guide and a bird dog as part of the deal. Some of the youth pheasant hunts also offer breakfast, lunch and trapshooting. A weekend pheasant-hunting package like that could cost a few hundred dollars at private preserves, but for Oregon’s youngest wingshots, it’s all free. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host youth pheasant hunts at many different areas across the state.

ODFW youth pheasant hunts helped spark my interest in upland bird hunting while I was still in middle school, and that interest has grown into a passion that leads me across the state each September. These hunts provide prime opportunity like no other hunt could offer, and opportunity is vital to a young hunter’s attitude toward hunting. A successful youth pheasant hunt could make the difference between a passionate hunter and a kid who spends all day in the living room in front of the television.

Duanne Dungannon photo, bow with shotgun and retriever with duck
Youth pheasant hunts are a great way to get kids hooked on hunting for life. (Photo by Duane Dungannon)

OHA members volunteer their time at many of these events to help provide youth hunters a great hunting experience; they cook food, operate trap machines, accompany kids in the field, and some even help field dress the birds. Some OHA chapters even purchase extra pheasants to make sure kids get their best shot at bagging a bird.

Young hunters can hunt quail and doves to supplement the stocked pheasants unless otherwise indicated under specific area game bird regulations. All young hunters under the age of 17 must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 21 years or older. One adult must accompany only one youth hunter. A mandatory safety meeting will be held at every youth pheasant hunt. All youth hunters must have completed a hunter education course and have a valid hunting license with an upland game bird validation if over the age of 14. Also, a HIP validation is required. A blaze orange hat, eye protection and an orange vest must be worn by all hunters and adults in the field.

 Boy kneeling with shotgun in right hand holding dead duck in right hand with a white dog by his side. (Photo by Duane Dungannon)
Elliott Jonasson and his dog Leap after a successful youth pheasant hunt. Photo courtesy of ODFW

These hunts are for properly licensed youth and do not qualify under the Mentored Youth Hunter Program (except for the Mentored Youth hunt on Sept. 21 at E.E. Wilson). Hunting is available by reservation unless otherwise noted in the game bird regulations. Each hunter may reserve his or her spot for one day. However, a standby list is available for those looking to get an extra day of action after other hunters check out, or the reservations for the second day are unfilled.

Reservations must be made online, or at a license sales agent. There is no cost to reserve your spot! Checking in and out is mandatory for hunters and accompanying adults. At check-in on the day of the hunt, you will receive your permit.

Location Hunt Dates Phone Number

Fern Ridge Sept. 13-14 (541) 935-2591

Klamath Wildlife Area Sept. 13-14 (541) 883-5732

John Day Area Sept. 13-14 (541) 575-1167

Sauvie Island Sept. 20-21 (503) 621-3488

Ladd Marsh Sept. 20-21 (541) 963-4954

Willow Creek (Madras) Sept. 20-21 (541) 447-5111

Irrigon Wildlife Area Sept. 20-21 (541) 276-2344

Denman Wildlife Area Sept. 20-21 (541) 826-8774

E.E. Wilson Sept. 20-21*, 27-28 (541) 745-5334

Baker City Sept. 27-28 (541) 963-2138

White River Sept. 27-28 (541) 296-4628

* Mentored Youth Workshop on Sept. 21 at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area.

For reservations or more information regarding these hunts, call the

local hunt organizers at the telephone number listed, or go online.

Tyler Dungannon is an outdoor writer in southern Oregon who has contributed articles and photographs to regional outdoor publications such as Oregon Hunter, Northwest Sportsman and Washington-Oregon Game & Fish.

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