The sheer variety of hunting opportunities in Oregon embodies the idea of “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none”
Oregon isn’t typically considered a bird hunting destination, probably because you have to drive through many world-class bird hunting destinations before you arrive at this Pacific Northwest state. But for those willing to leave the beaten path and explore remote areas, Oregon offers vast hunting opportunities and, often, precious solitude.
Like its fellow PNW neighbor to the north, Oregon is divided into a cool, wet western region and a dry, sage-steppe, and desert eastern region. The temperate rainforest of the west side doesn’t see much in the way of bird hunting pressure, but those willing to tackle the nearly impenetrable covers and logged mountainsides can be rewarded with ruffed grouse and mountain quail. In contrast, the dry east side offers rugged, wide-open terrain stretching from the Owyhee Mountains in the south to the John Day River in the north, east to the Snake River, and the steep breaks of Hells Canyon. This is not terrain for the faint-hearted; hunters and their dogs must be properly conditioned and carry sufficient gear to safely pursue wild birds in this wild landscape.
Oregon boasts a long hunting season, and it’s not uncommon for residents of neighboring states to take advantage of the earlier and later hunting opportunities here.
Download: Oregon 2023 Hunting Regulations
|Daily / Possession Limit
|Grouse (Blue and Ruffed)
|Sept 1, 2023 – Jan 31, 2024
|3/9 of each species
|Partridge (Chukar and Hungarian)
|Oct. 14, 2023 – Jan 31, 2024
|Oct. 14 – Dec 31, 2023
|Quail (California and Mountain): Western Region
|Sept 1, 2023 – Jan 31, 2024
|Quail (California and Mountain): Eastern Region
|Oct. 14, 2023 – Jan 31, 2024
|10/30 (see note)
|No more than 2 mountain quail can be taken daily, possession limit of 6
|Sage Grouse** (see note)
|Sept. 9-17, 2023
|**Controlled season. Application period is July 1 to August 11
|Zone 1: Sept. 1-30 and Nov. 15 – Dec. 14, 2023
Zone 2: Sept. 1 – Oct. 30, 2023
|Sept. 15-23, 2023
|Band-tailed pigeon permit required
|Rabbits (Cottontail and Jackrabbit)
|Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife considers rabbits to be Unprotected Mammals which are not covered under game mammal rules. As such, there are no closed seasons or bag limits. A hunting license is required and all general hunting regulations apply.
*These season dates were last updated on August 22, 2023, and may not reflect any changes since that date. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Chukar and Hungarian Partridge
Given that half of the iconic Hells Canyon lies within Oregon’s borders, it’s no surprise that many hunters come to Oregon in pursuit of these wild birds in their rugged habitat. Even though Hells Canyon is usually the first place that comes to mind when thinking about chukar hunting, plenty of other areas within the state offer a similar experience with significantly less hunting pressure.
Chukar and Huns are combined in Oregon’s hunting regulations, so the daily bag limit of 8 birds (possession limit of 24) applies to the total number taken of both species.
Partridge hunting begins on October 14, 2023, and continues through the end of January.
Oregon was actually ground zero for the first successful introduction of the ring-necked pheasant into North America in 1882. It remains a popular bird to hunt in Oregon, especially in the agricultural and sage-steppe regions in the central and eastern parts of the state where wild populations thrive. There are also fee-based pheasant hunting opportunities in western Oregon with limited seasons and access—see the Oregon hunting regulations for more information.
Pheasant hunting is open from October 14 through December 31, 2023, with a daily bag limit of 2 roosters and a possession limit of 8.
California and Mountain Quail
Oregon enjoys healthy populations of both California (Valley) quail and mountain quail, both of which provide wonderful hunting opportunities across the state.
Mountain quail are typically found on the west side of the state, with the highest population in the southwest region. Their habitat is mountainous and often thickly forested, which makes pursuing them a challenge.
California quail are widely distributed across Oregon and can be found in agricultural areas, sage-steppe, and even in towns. They are often found in thick, brushy cover near water sources.
The hunting season and bag limits for both types of quail are combined, with special limits on mountain quail taken in eastern Oregon. Quail season in western Oregon runs from September 1, 2023, through January 31, 2024, and, in eastern Oregon, from October 14th, 2023, through the end of January. The daily bag limit is 10 birds, and only 2 of those can be mountain quail in the eastern region.
Other Species for Small Game and Bird Hunting in Oregon
Even though partridge, pheasants, and quail tend to get the most attention, Oregon offers plenty of hunting opportunities for other species, too.
Forest grouse hunting can be very productive, whether specifically targeting blue grouse in the mountains or running across ruffed grouse while looking for mountain quail. Oregon’s generous forest grouse season runs from September 1 through January 31, with a daily bag limit of 3 birds of each species (ruffed and blue).
Perhaps most surprising is the open season on cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits. Because rabbits are classified as Unprotected Mammals in Oregon, they are not managed with a hunting season or bag limits. A hunting license is required and all general hunting regulations apply. This is a vastly underutilized, year-round hunting opportunity.
Upland bird licensing fees for Oregon
Oregon manages hunting licenses through MyODFW, which is available as an app on your phone. It is very convenient to purchase and display your license through the app and look up your license history.
To hunt upland birds in Oregon, hunters need both a hunting license (either annual or three-day) along with an upland game bird validation permit.
|Hunting license (annual)
|Three-day hunting license
|Upland game bird validation
*These fees were last updated on August 22, 2023, and may not reflect any changes since that date. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife
Oregon Hunter Safety Course, Blaze Orange, and Dog Training
Oregon does not require hunter education for hunters 18 years of age or older; hunters under 18 years old must complete a course either online or in a classroom, plus a field day evaluation. Courses are open to hunters of all ages and are always recommended for safety and better hunting practices.
Hunter orange is not required when hunting upland birds or small game in Oregon, except for hunters under 18 years of age, who must wear an orange hat or outer garment that is visible from all directions. However, wearing blaze orange for safety is good practice, and Project Upland always recommends wearing orange while hunting.
Dogs may be trained using wild birds (a “pursuit season”) from September 1 through January 31. There are no specific restrictions on training or running dogs on public land throughout the year, but wildlife may not be harassed except during the established pursuit or hunting season. A permit is required to release captive-bred game birds for dog training; the permit is free and available online.
Related Conservation and Non-Profit Organizations for Oregon Bird Hunting
The bird hunting season dates, game bird species available, and other information are subject to change. The article may not reflect this. Please visit the ODFW for the most up-to-date information on bird hunting in Oregon.
Jennifer Wapenski is the Director of Operations and Managing Partner at Project Upland Media Group. She has a lifelong passion for the outdoors, dogs, and wildlife; as an adult, she discovered that upland bird and waterfowl hunting were natural extensions of these interests. What started as initial curiosity soon escalated into a life-changing pursuit of conservation, advocacy, and education. Jennifer serves in a variety of roles such as the Breed Warden for the Deutsch Langhaar—Gruppe Nordamerika breed club, on the board of the Minority Outdoor Alliance, and on an advisory committee for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.