Regional Reports-West

Malheur River

Public-land access for chukar and quail can't be beat in the Malheur River drainage in eastern Oregon. The best opportunities are from the Warm Springs Reservoir to Juntura and along Highway 20 from Juntura to Harper. For hunters who don't mind walking, the Riverside WMA, located between Juntura and Riverside along 12 miles of the Malheur River, holds lots of birds. Hike into the canyon from the gravel roads on either side. A railway right-of-way in the bottom of the canyon is off-limits. Hunters cannot cross the river and must stay on one side or the other. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office in Hines reports that it hasn't seen so many chukar since the early 1980s. Recent surveys showed some of the highest counts in 15 years of monitoring in some sections along the river, with broods averaging 10 or more birds. Good carryover from last year plus a fine nesting season this year should result in excellent chukar and quail hunting. The secret is to find a water source up one of the many side canyons, or to catch the birds coming up from the river early in the morning. Chukar will use the same area year after year. Contact: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (541-573-6582).