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The Top 7 Animals To Hunt In Oregon This Season

Animals to Hunt in Oregon
Travis Smola

The Beaver State is home to some amazing hunting opportunities. 

Oregon is a state that boasts a unique wildlife composition. Hunters in this beautiful state can go after the usual suspects - deer, mourning doves, etc. - or get adventurous and face off with more dangerous opponents like bears and bighorn sheep. There's a lot of game to take on in this beautiful state, but we've narrowed down our must-have specimens.

Most of this list is big game that can be hunted via rifle or archery. However, we have also included a few game birds that are worth pursuing during open season. It does not matter if you prefer hunting eastern Oregon or western Oregon, there is something in this state for just about anyone's tastes.

From small game to big game, here's a list of our top animals to hunt in Oregon.

1. Elk

Animals to Hunt in Oregon
Travis Smola

We love deer hunting, but there's something about bagging your first elk that really can't be replicated by anything else in the big game hunting world. Seasons vary depending on location, but if you are looking to do some elk hunting in Oregon in October or November might be one of the best places in the country to be. Oregon's hunting regulations allow you to buy over-the-counter (OTC) tags. Most hunters stick to public land, but there are some OTC antlerless tags that are made specifically for private property. 

2. Black Bear

One of Oregon's more unique characteristics as a hunting destination is the chance to go after black bears. It's not a free-for-all, of course: the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offers "controlled hunts" for rarer types of big game animals. Hunters hoping to participate in a hunt for black bears must merely visit the DFW website and apply for specialized tags by early February. The bag limit on these animals is one per season, and cubs or sows with cubs are always protected.

3. Bighorn Sheep

Speaking of unique hunting opportunities, Oregon also offers controlled hunts for bighorn sheep. Getting licensing to hunt bighorns is a bureaucratic process, but there's a reason: every big game hunter wants one of these beautiful animals for his or her trophy collection.

4. Cougar

Oregon is crawling with dangerous mountain lions, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife has responded by adding the cats to the fair game list. Hunters are only allotted one cougar per year and must avoid younger "kitten" cats, but the "hunting season" for cougars compensates for the limit by lasting all year long.

5. Deer

Animals to Hunt in Oregon
Travis Smola

Deer season is an event in every state, hindered somewhat in Oregon by the fact that the Department of Fish and Wildlife only allows rifle hunters a bag limit of a single antlered buck. That's a double-edged sword for hunters. On one hand, it allows us to focus our entire energy on bagging the biggest buck of our hunting careers rather than being distracted by does or less mature deer. On the other hand, impatient Oregon hunters might get restless waiting for a deer that fits the state's strict wildlife management criteria. Bowhunters have a bit more wiggle room, but overall, Oregon might not be your destination if you are looking for a quota-less deer season. There is one benefit to this state's deer hunting in the fact you can hunt three different species. White-tailed deer, mule deer, and blacktail deer are all present here.

6. California Quail

7-oregon-hunt---quail
Wikimedia Commons: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

If hunting quantity is what you are looking for, skip the big game and head straight for the birds. The ODFW does an excellent job of managing their upland game and waterfowl. You won't find California Quail anywhere other than the West Coast, and the daily bag limit of 10 - and the possession limit of 30 - lends itself well to hunters looking to be especially productive.

7. Coot

Mourning doves are always fun for sport, but if target practice is your game, try out your marksmanship skills on Oregon's massive coot population. These black and gray birds like to hang out near the water and get especially aggressive during the breeding season, part of the reason that Oregon wants their populations cut down. If you are looking to rack up hunting numbers in Oregon, the Department of Fish and Wildlife lets you bag up to 25 coot a day and 75 a season.

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The Top 7 Animals To Hunt In Oregon This Season