Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region
 

Hunting Program


Travel Advisor

The Center Patrol Road has had rock and gravel added to the surface to improve road stability and improve year-round road conditions.

Unfortunately this has resulted in an increased number of flat tires for visitors and staff. Please be advised that your tires should have good tread on them and be in good condition before travelling on portions of the northern section of the Center Patrol Road.

We are sorry for any inconvenience.


The refuge offers both upland bird hunting and waterfowl hunting opportunities. Each of these hunts are in designated areas on the refuge, see below. All other areas on the refuge are closed to all hunting. see our Hunting brochure (1.5 MB PDF)

Upland Bird Hunting

Upland bird hunting in the North Malheur Lake Hunt Area and west of Highway 205 are open during the regular State of Oregon seasons.

Update on Upland Game Bird Numbers: Observations by refuge staff, hunters on the Malheur Lake Unit, as well as by the State Game Wardens indicate that California quail numbers are slightly down, pheasant and chukar numbers appear to be very low - below previous years. The general hypothesis is thattwo consecutive wet springs during the hatch followed by dry summers have been detrimental to upland game bird populations,

Non-toxic shot is required for upland bird hunting on the Refuge.

There is no waterfowl or predator hunting allowed in the Buena Vista Unit

Youth 17 and under must wear hunter orange

Upland game bird hunts are available in two areas on the refuge:

Malheur Lake Hunt Area, West of Highway 205 and Krumbo Creek

Rooster Pheasant - October 5 - December 31, 2013 - 2 daily, 8 possession

California Quail - October 5 - January 31, 2013 - 10 daily, 30 possession

Chukar - October 5 – Jan 31, 2013 - 8 daily, 24 possession

Blue/Ruff Grouse - September 1 – December 31, 2013 - 3 each species daily, 9 possession

Sage Grouse - September 7 - 15, 2013 - 2 daily, 2 per season

Mourning Dove - September 1 - September 30, 2013 - 10 daily, 30 possession

Band tailed Pigeon - September 15 – 23, 2013 - 2 daily, 6 possession

Buena Vista Area Upland Game Hunt - November 16 - December 31, 2013

A late season rooster pheasant, California Quail, Chukar, Hungarian Partridge and rabbit hunt is held each year in the refuge's Buena Vista Area. Waterfowl hunting is not permitted within this unit. This 22,000 acre unit is located east of State Highway 205, north of Diamond Lane and south of Sodhouse Lane.

Rooster Pheasant - November 16 - December 31, 2013 - 2 daily, 8 possession

Chukar - November 16 - December 31, 2013  - 8 daily, 24 possession

California Quail - November 16 - December 31, 2013 - 10 daily, 30 possession

Special Regulations:

  • Only federally approved nontoxic shot may be used or be in possession while hunting on the refuge.
  • All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are not permitted off refuge roads. Oregon ATV regulations are in effect. Properly state licensed (tagged) and equipped ATVs operated by users that meet state training requirements are permitted only on roads open to public automobiles - the Center Patrol Road and Krumbo Lane.
  • Please observe No Hunting Closures near Residential Areas at Refuge Headquarters, Buena Vista Station and the Malheur Field Station.
  • Boundaries may not be clear, contact private landowners for permission to cross or hunt private lands adjacent to the refuge.
  • Vehicles are allowed only on maintained public roadways. Parking is allowed only within one vehicle length of the roadway. Do not block dike and field accesses.
  • Overnight parking, camping and campfires are not permitted on the refuge.
  • Youth 17 and under must wear hunter orange

Consult the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for bag limits.

For more information contact Malheur Refuge at (541) 493-2612 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 3:30 PM.

 

Waterfowl Hunting

There are numerous tracts of private property that surround the Hunt Area, please respect private property. Non toxic shot is required for hunting waterfowl and upland game in the Malheur Lake Hunt Area.

Update on Hunting Conditions and Waterfowl Numbers: Waterfowl hunt has been very poor with low numbers seen or harvested. The lake has retreated and the cover for hunter concealment is adjacent to the water is poor unless a hunter puts in a high level of effort to slog through the mud to reach deeper water. It appears that the majority of the local birds have left and there have not been high numbers of migrants utilizing Malheur Lake.

Species available in the Malheur Lake Hunt Area:

  • Goose
  • Duck
  • Coot
  • Merganser
  • Common Snipe
  • California Quail
  • Rooster Pheasant

Check the Oregon Game Bird Regulations on the ODFW Web Site for game limits and other pertinent information.

Game Bird Seasons on the Malheur Lake Area: 2012-2013 dates and bag limits will be posted in September

Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt for youth 15 years old and younger - 2012-2013 dates and bag limits will be posted in September

Duck, Coot and Merganser - October 5 – December 1, and December 4, 2013 to January 19, 2014

Scaup - October 5 - December 1, and December 4 to December 31, 2013

Bag Limit on Ducks, Scaup and Mergansers - 7 daily, 21 possession
2 Hen mallards, 2 Pintail, 2 Redheads, 2 canvasback, 3 scaup

Bag Limit on Coots - 25 daily, 75 possession

Goose - Early season: September 7 – 11, 2013 - Bag Limit - 5 Canadas daily, 15 possession
The taking of white-fronted, Aleutian and Cackling geese is prohibited statewide during the early season.

General season: October 5 – December 1, and December 16, 2013 – January 26, 2014
Bag Limit - 4 dark & 6 white daily, 6 White Fronted. Possession: 12 Canada, 18 White and 18 White Fronted

Youth Waterfowl Hunt on Malheur Lake, must be 15 years old and younger, September 21-22, 2013

Youth 14 and older must have a State Waterfowl Validation. Youth 16 and older must possess a Federal "duck" Stamp

Access

This year the hunt area can be accessed using two of the three designated access points:

  • Narrows Access - A parking area is located on the northeast side of The Narrows on State Highway 205. The lake is adjacent to the parking area. Hunters can walk in with just waders and hunt. Thre is not a lot of tall emergent cover to hide a hunter. Please be aware if you walk in that the water drops off very gradually, but does reach a depth of 4-5 ft in certain areas. There are two gates to access this hunt area. Gates must remain closed to prevent cattle from entering the refuge.
  • Lawen Road Access - Travel 16 miles from Burns on State Highway 78 to the Lawen store. Travel south on the Lawen Road for 4.8 miles to a gate in the refuge boundary fence. Park on the edge of the Lawen Road out of the path of traffic. The lake is immediately adjacent to the road. Hunters may park along the road as long as the road is not blocked
  • Saddle Butte Hunter Access Road - It is open and the immediate boundary around the parking area and the parking area is signed. The road is in poor condition and users should be aware they are travelling it under their own risk.
  • Interested hunters should use the Lawen area access. ODFW has purchased  additional hunting access in the Lawen area. Hunters should look for orange posts marking areas open to hunting on private property in this area. If you use these areas please close the gates as cattle are present some areas. These areas have several shallow wetlands and sloughs with dry ground close by that may work well for a walk-in hunter. Not all lands are enrolled in the program so please make sure of where you are at by visiting ODFW's web site at http://www.oregonhuntingmap.com/PropertyDetails.aspx/94/Lawen%20Access%20Area/undefined

 

All other areas of the refuge are closed to waterfowl hunting.

Special Regulations:

  • Only Federally approved nontoxic shot may be used or be in possession while hunting on the refuge.
  • Non motorized boats are only allowed on the Malheur Lake hunt area during waterfowl hunting season.
  • All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are not permitted off refuge roads. Oregon ATV regulations are in effect. Properly state licensed (tagged) and equipped ATVs operated by users that meet state training requirements are permitted only on roads open to public automobiles - the Center Patrol Road and Krumbo Lane.
  • Temporary blinds may be constructed, but they will be available for general use on a first-come, first-serve basis. Construction or use of permanent blinds is not permitted.
  • Overnight parking, camping and campfires are not permitted on the refuge.

Contact private landowners for permission to cross, hunt or park on private lands.

For more information contact Malheur Refuge at (541) 493-2612 weekdays between 7:00 AM and 3:30 PM.

Last updated: June 18, 2013