SALEM Oregon's fall hunting season is fast approaching and the perennial question "Where can I go hunting?" will be much easier to answer this year.
ODFW has unveiled its new Oregon Hunting Access Map, a tool to find out where to hunt, especially for people new to hunting or new to the state. Even experienced Oregon hunters are likely to discover a new hunting location by exploring the comprehensive list of opportunities in a centralized place.
Currently, only bear and cougar hunting are open in Oregon. The general archery season for deer and elk opens Aug. 30 statewide and the first fall game bird seasons open Sept. 1.
The map features state wildlife areas, national wildlife refuges, private lands open to hunting through ODFW's Access & Habitat (A&H) and Upland Cooperative Access (UCAP) programs, Travel Management Areas on private timberlands open to hunting, and Willamette River Greenway properties that allow hunting.
Because the map is based within Google Maps, users can calculate distance and driving directions to the hunting area, switch between map, terrain and satellite views, zoom in and out of areas, and customize the map to their liking.
A descriptive bubble for each area provides further information about the principal species hunted, size of the area, access periods and special regulations. Big game and game bird icons will help hunters quickly determine if an area is right for them. In addition, many of these areas have links to further informationPDF maps, harvest reports and regional hunting reports. Users can also discover more about "by-permission-only" hunting on certain A&H and UCAP properties from the orange icons.
"This map makes it easy for those just getting started hunting in Oregon to figure out where to go," said Matthew Keenan, ODFW's Access and Habitat program coordinator. "Experienced hunters can explore their favorite and as-yet-undiscovered hunting locations from one centralized place."
Every hunter knows scouting is key to success, and these Google Maps make it easy to start scouting from home," Keenan added.
The interactive map lets users leave comments, too. "This map is a work-in-progress, and we want to hear from hunters about how to make it more useful and user-friendly," noted David Budeau, ODFW upland bird program coordinator. "In the future, we'll consider adding other opportunities such as popular hunting areas on BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands, and even creating additional maps for fishing, clamming/crabbing and wildlife viewing opportunities."
The maps should be used for reference only hunters are still responsible for knowing their particular hunt's boundaries and regulations.