Waterfowlers see 18th straight maximum duck season

    A record count of nearly 50 million breeding ducks means Oregon waterfowlers once again will enjoy their 18th straight season with the maximum number of hunting days available to them.

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service surveys found duck counts along the four flyways to be 51 percent above the long-term average dating back to 1955.

    High numbers within the Pacific Flyway mean Oregon hunters will have the full 107 days of duck hunting allocated to them, leaving a 105-day season after two days are shaved off for the youth waterfowl weekend this Saturday and Sunday.

    For southwest Oregon and the rest of Zone 1, duck and goose hunting opens Oct. 17, with duck hunting closing Nov. 1 and reopening Nov. 4 for the rest of the season, which runs through January. The zone's daily limit will be seven ducks.

    The Southwest Zone for geese runs until Nov. 1 just like the duck season, but goose hunting doesn't resume until Nov. 8 and also runs through January. The daily limits are six Canada geese, 10 white-fronted geese and six white geese.

    In Klamath County, Canada goose hunting will open Oct. 10 and run through Dec. 6 before reopening Dec. 20 until the Jan. 31 end. The daily limits are similar to the Southwest Zone, but they are broken into different seasons.

    Klamath County goose season also opens Oct. 10, with the first part of the season running through Dec. 6.

    Among the survey findings that led to this year's season frameworks, the mallard estimate was 11.6 million, which is similar to the 2014 estimate and 51 percent above the long-term average. Green-winged teals were estimated at 4.1 million, which is 19 percent above last year's estimate and almost double the long-term average.

    Northern pintails were estimated at 3 million birds, which is similar to last year's estimate and 24 percent below the long-term average. The canvasback population was estimated at 760,000 birds, which is similar to last year and 30 percent above the long-term average.


    Youth pheasant hunt at Denman called a success

    WHITE CITY — The Rogue Valley's young guns got in plenty of shots and, thanks to the help of volunteer hunting-dog handlers, were able to bring down plenty of birds during last weekend's annual Youth Pheasant Hunt at the Denman Wildlife Area in White City.

    A total of 172 kids hunted 426 hours over 500 freshly planted pheasants for the two-day event, and they shot 197 birds for a robust 1.15 birds per hunter success rate, Denman Manager Clayton Barber says. Of those, 79 percent of the birds were taken by kids hunting with volunteer upland game-bird dogs, Barber says.

    Barber called the two-day event "an astounding success."

    And the kids got their shots in. Statistics show that the kids fired 804 shots, averaging 4.67 shots per hunter and slightly more than four shots per bird, hunt statistics show.

    A host of volunteer organizations took part in the event, including Oregon Hunters Association and United Hunters and Sportsmen, Inc. running a trap range for the shooting clinic. OHA supplied 200 of the pen-raised birds released for the hunt, and food was provided by the Rogue Valley Shooting Sports Association and the local Delta Waterfowl chapter.

    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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