Malheur Lake is dropping rapidly as a result of low annual precipitation and high summer temperatures. If the lake drops below 10,000 acres regulations dictate closure of waterfowl hunting on Malheur Lake. Contact the Refuge in advance of your hunt concerning lake levels.
Hunting Changes for the 2014-2015 Season
A number of changes have been made to the hunting program on the Refuge. Details about these changes can be found below.
Some quick highlights of the changes:
- Waterfowl hunting will be allowed in the Buena Vista Unit.
- Upland bird and waterfowl hunting will open 4 weeks earlier in the Buena Vista Unit on October 25, 2014.
- The South Malheur Lake Waterfowl Unit – accessed from the Boat Launch Road at Refuge Headquarters – opens October 25th.
- Malheur Refuge is not open for the extended White Front and White Geese season.
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.
Malheur Lake Waterfowl and Upland Bird Hunting Access
Lawen Access Parking - Hunters will need to hike over 2 miles to reach water – the last 300 feet to water is through mud. There is little or no cover.
Saddle Butte Access – the road is open, but in disrepair and should be driven with only 4x4 vehicles. The water is ½ to ¾ miles from the parking area. There is no cover
Narrows Access – the lake is 6 miles to the east of the parking area.
Boat Launch Road Access – The River is extremely low and non-motorized boats will have a difficult time navigating the shallow river channel and mud at the mouth of the river. The lake is only a few inches deep across the entire hunt area. The water’s edge is a ¾ mile hike across mud from the boat ramp and 1.5 miles from the west parking area.
Waterfowl Hunting on Malheur Lake
There are two hunt units on Malheur Lake:
The North Malheur Lake Unit which opens on September 6th for the early goose hunt.
The South Malheur Lake Unit which opens on the 4th Saturday in October and is accessed from Refuge Headquarters.
are numerous tracts of private property that surround the Hunt
Area, please respect private property.
- Non toxic shot is required
for hunting waterfowl on the refuge.
- Non-motorized boats or boats with electric motors only.
Update on Hunting Conditions and Waterfowl Numbers: Waterfowl numbers are low due to poor water conditions.. The lake has retreated and cover for hunter concealment adjacent to the water is poor.
available in the Malheur Lake Hunt Units:
- Common Snipe
- California Quail
- Rooster Pheasant
the Oregon Game Bird Regulations on the ODFW
Web Site for game limits and other pertinent information.
Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt for youth 15 years old and younger -September 27-28, 2014.
Youth hunters under 15 years must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 21 years or older. Hunters 14 years or older must have a State waterfowl validations
Duck and Merganser - October 11 – December 7, and December 10 – January 25, 2015
Scaup - October 11 – December 7, and December 10 – January 6, 2015
Bag Limit on Ducks, Scaup and Mergansers - 7 daily, 21 possession
Daily limit - 2 Hen mallards, 2 Pintail, 2 Redheads, 1 Canvasback, 3 Scaup
Coot - October 11 – December 7, December 10 - January 25, 2015
Bag Limit on Coots - 25 daily, 75 possession
Canda Goose - Early season: September 6 – 14, 2014 - Bag Limit - 5 Canadas daily, 15 possession
The taking of white-fronted, Aleutian and Cackling geese is prohibited statewide during the early season.
October 11 – December 7, and December 15, 2014 – January 25, 2015
Bag Limit - Canada Geese - 4 daily and 12 possession. White Front Geese - 10 daily and 30 possession. White Geese 20 daily and 60 possession.
The Refuge will be closed to migratory bird hunting after January 25, 2015 - the late State Goose Hunt does not apply to the Refuge.
Waterfowl Hunting in the Buena Vista Unit
- Waterfowl Hunting opens in the Buena Vista Unit on the 4th Saturday in October.
- Limits as listed above apply to waterfowl hunting in this unit.
- Waterfowl hunting ends in this unit on January 25, 2015.
- The late season goose hunt does not apply to the refuge.
- No boats are allowed.
- No hunting blinds allowed.
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 indicate that California quail numbers are down, pheasant and chukar numbers appear to be very low - below previous years. The general hypothesis is that three consecutive wet springs during the hatch followed by dry summers have been detrimental to upland game bird populations,
shot is required for upland bird hunting on the Refuge.
is no waterfowl or predator hunting allowed in the Buena Vista
Youth 17 and under must wear hunter orange
game bird hunts are available in two areas on the refuge:
Lake Hunt Area, West of Highway 205 and Krumbo Creek
Pheasant - October 11 - December 31, 2014 - 2 daily, 8 possession
Quail - October 11 - January 31, 2015 - 10 daily, 30 possession
Chukar - October 11 – January 31, 2015 - 8 daily, 24 possession
Blue/Ruff Grouse - September 1 – December 31, 2014 - 3 each species daily, 9 possession
Sage Grouse - September 6 - 15, 2014 - 2 daily, 2 per season
Mourning Dove - September 1 - October 30, 2014 - 15 daily, 45 possession
Band tailed Pigeon - September 15 – 23, 2014 - 2 daily, 6 possession
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 - October 25 - December 31, 2014 - 2 daily, 8 possession
Chukar - October 25 – January 31, 2015 - 8 daily, 24 possession
California Quail - October 25 - January 31, 2015 - 10 daily, 30 possession
- 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
Game Bird Regulations for bag limits.
information contact Malheur Refuge at (541) 493-2612 weekdays
between 7:00 AM and 3:30 PM.