2016 Game Bird Hunting Statistics - Oregon Department of ... 2016 update . 2016 Game Bird Hunting Statistics

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  • 2016 update

    2016 Game Bird Hunting Statistics

    Game Bird Program

    Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr SE

    Salem, OR 97302

    All photos are courtesy of Keith Kohl, ODFW

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    Table of Contents OREGON’S GAME BIRDS ........................................................................................................... 3 UPLAND GAME BIRDS ............................................................................................................... 3

    Management ................................................................................................................................ 3 Game Bird Population Factors .................................................................................................... 4 Mortality and Limiting Factors ................................................................................................... 4 Habitat is the Key........................................................................................................................ 5 Hunting Regulations ................................................................................................................... 5 Population Surveys ..................................................................................................................... 6 Upland Species Description and Information ............................................................................. 9

    Ring-necked Pheasant ............................................................................................................. 9 Sichuan Pheasant .................................................................................................................. 12 Chukar Partridge ................................................................................................................... 12 Hungarian (Gray) Partridge .................................................................................................. 15 California (Valley) Quail ...................................................................................................... 17 Mountain Quail ..................................................................................................................... 19 Ruffed Grouse ....................................................................................................................... 21 “Blue” (Sooty & Dusky) Grouse .......................................................................................... 24 Sage-grouse ........................................................................................................................... 26 Wild Turkey .......................................................................................................................... 28

    MIGRATORY GAME BIRDS ..................................................................................................... 32 Management .............................................................................................................................. 32 Hunting Regulations ................................................................................................................. 32 What is Adaptive Harvest Management? ................................................................................. 33 How Does Adaptive Harvest Management Work? ................................................................... 33 Data Collection ......................................................................................................................... 34 Migratory Species Description and Information....................................................................... 35

    Mourning Dove ..................................................................................................................... 35 Band-tailed pigeon ................................................................................................................ 37 Wilson’s Snipe ...................................................................................................................... 38 Ducks .................................................................................................................................... 38 Coot ....................................................................................................................................... 41 Geese ..................................................................................................................................... 41

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    OREGON’S GAME BIRDS

    Diverse habitats, a wide variety of game birds and large expanses of accessible lands provide game bird hunters in Oregon the unique opportunity to pursue game birds up to 9 months out of every year! One or more upland game bird species can be found in nearly every part of the state. Some are native, and some have been introduced, usually to habitats changed in some way by human activities.

    Oregon is also a major component of the Pacific Flyway which provides staging, wintering and production habitat for millions of ducks, geese and swans, annually. Seven subspecies of white-cheeked (Canada and Cackling) geese reside or winter here and breeding populations of mallards, cinnamon teal, wood ducks, redheads and gadwall are distributed statewide. More than 750,000 ducks winter in the many marsh, lake and river systems of the state and over 400,000 Canada geese winter in just the Willamette Valley and along the lower Columbia River. Migratory mourning doves, band-tailed pigeons, coots and Wilson’s snipe can also be found in abundance.

    UPLAND GAME BIRDS

    Management

    Upland game birds in Oregon include pheasant, grouse, quail, partridge and wild turkey. Some species such as the sharp-tailed grouse or spruce grouse have no open season and are protected. Hunted species are ring-necked pheasants, mountain and California quail, “blue” and ruffed grouse, chukar and Hungarian partridge, sage-grouse, and wild turkey. On average about 50,000 hunters purchase an Oregon upland game bird validation annually. You can find the hunting seasons, bag limits and special regulations for these species in the Game Bird Regulations, which are published annually. Along with the regular seasons, several special hunting opportunities are available including youth hunts and fee pheasant hunts. Information about hunting opportunities, including those on private lands open to hunting can be found on the Oregon Hunting Map (oregonhuntingmap.com). Oregon sets its upland game bird hunting season regulations using a 5-year framework. A multi-year framework provides hunters with consistent seasons between years, while still maximizing recreational hunting opportunity compatible with bird populations. Frameworks are

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    based on the concept that annual fluctuations in upland bird populations, which are normal, should not be the basis for setting seasons. Rather, seasons should be based on habitat availability, long-term population trends and other factors. Therefore, population surveys are not used to set regulations annually, but rather are used as part of long-term monitoring. Annual regulations still allow for emergency closures during severe conditions.

    Game Bird Population Factors Upland game bird populations fluctuate dramatically from year to year, largely due to weather factors. Weather directly affects the physical condition of birds, availability of food and survival of young, but also causes annual changes in habitat that may affect upland birds in several ways. These are short-term factors, which cannot be predicted, changed or controlled. In addition to annual weather variability, overall quantity and quality of habitat governs the long-term condition of a population. Factors such as conversion of older age timber, changes in predominant crop types or farming methods, invasion of exotic plant species in native range, urban expansion and long-term weather cycles are examples of factors that may have lasting impacts on game bird populations. There is a common tendency to think that single factors like predation or hunting regulate populations, especially if the population is lower than the observer thinks it should be. This is seldom the case. Predators, of course, do eat upland game birds and hunters remove some from the population. In reality it is the ultimate fate of almost all birds to be eaten by something. However, this is seldom the factor that limits a population.

    Mortality and Limiting Factors

    To further understand what controls population numbers we must make a distinction between "mortality factors" and "limiting factors". Anything that directly kills an animal, such as hunting, predation, disease or accident, is called a mortality factor. Limiting factors, however, are those things that actually restrict or control the size or distribution of an animal population. Numerous studies have revealed that the quality and amount of habitat, behavioral interactions such as territoriality, and weather are the factors that most often limit populations of upland game birds. The "carrying capacity" of an area for upland species is the number of birds the area can support during the most critical time of year, usually winter and early spring. Birds in excess of the carrying capacity are called the "biological surplus." The biological surplus is usually eliminated by death from a variety of causes. The causes of death in upland bird populations (and many other wildlife populations as well) often operate in a "compensat

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