Wildlife Projects

OHA volunteers work hard for wildlife and habitat in Oregon. Starting with our unforgettable volunteer conducted banquets where we raise money for wildlife & habitat projects all around the state. Putting 20,000 volunteer hours in the books and over $250,000 on the ground, OHA is a champion for hunters and wildlife in Oregon. Money we raise here stays here!
If you would like to get involved by volunteering please contact us at 541-772-7313 or by emial

OHA awards $16,500 in grants for 4 wildlife and habitat projects

The Oregon Hunters Association announced recently $16,500 in grants awarded to fund four Oregon wildlife habitat management and research projects. These include:


OHA Chapter Mallard Hen House Project, Statewide


            Tyler Dungannon, of Phoenix, has been awarded a $2,000 grant to fund the construction and placement of mallard hen houses by Oregon Hunters Association chapters throughout the state. He will coordinate the program. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will provide matching funds through its waterfowl stamp program.

            Mallard hen houses are cylindrical structures made of wire, straw and other materials that provide a nesting space for ducks. They are generally placed on poles in marshes and ponds. Mallards nesting in hen houses have up to 20 percent greater nesting success because their eggs are less vulnerable to predators than those that build their nests on the ground.

            Contact: OHA State Office, (541) 772-7313.


Lemiti Wildlife Guzzler Project, Mount Hood National Forest


            A $3,000 grant to the OHA Hoodview Chapter will be used to construct a wildlife guzzler on the Mount Hood National Forest in the Lemiti Creek area this summer. Wildlife guzzlers are structures designed to collect and store water for wildlife and are especially critical for animals inhabiting arid regions or during periods of drought. They consist of a flat surface or apron that collects rainwater and funnels it into storage tanks containing a basin out of which wildlife can drink.

            The guzzler will be constructed along a natural wildlife corridor used by deer, elk and other animals where most water sources dry up by late summer and early fall. The guzzler will provide water for animals using and traveling thorough this area during periods when naturally occurring water is not available.

            Contact: Catherine Hamell, Hood River Chapter OHA, (503) 358-7821


Klamath County Wildlife Guzzlers, Klamath County


            The Klamath County OHA Chapter will use a $5,000 grant to pay for expenses to repair and maintain more than 200 wildlife guzzlers located on private and public lands within Klamath County. The guzzlers, which collect and store water for wildlife, require regular annual maintenance. Heavy snow and other harsh winter weather conditions can damage the guzzlers, debris may clog the water reservoirs that prevent animals from drinking and the fences surrounding the guzzlers to keep livestock away may be knocked down. The chapter will also develop a plan to rebuild the guzzlers every 20 years.

            Contact:  Rick Vieira, Klamath County Chapter OHA, (541) 591-2452


White River Mature Buck Migration Study, White River Wildlife Area


            An ongoing study of black-tailed deer on the White River Wildlife Area by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will use a $6,000 grant to help determine where mature bucks spend the summer, when they migrate to their summer range, how long it takes them to migrate, types of habitat they use, and rates and causes of mortality. Currently, there are 44 deer in the study that have radio collars, which allows researchers to follow their movements and activities. OHA funds will be used to put radio collars on more deer next winter. The project has been ongoing since 2008.

            The 40,877-acre White River Wildlife Area is located near Wamic and is owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

            Contact: Mike Moore, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Dalles, (541) 296-4628


The Oregon Hunters Association is the state’s largest pro-hunting organization, with 11,000 members and 27 chapters statewide. Its mission is “to provide abundant huntable wildlife resources in Oregon for present and future generations, enhancement of wildlife habitat and protection of hunters’ rights.”

OHA Bend Chapter helps restore cottonwood groves

About 30 volunteers from the Bend Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association and the Redmond 4-H Archery Club spent Saturday morning, June 2, planting nearly 2,500 cottonwood saplings in the upper First Creek basin in the Deschutes National Forest. The project was part of a three-year effort to restore wildlife habitat burned during the B&B Complex Fires.

            The B&B Complex Fires, named after Bear and Booth buttes, started on August 19, 2003 and were officially contained on September 26, 2003 after burning 90,769 acres.

            “The B&B Fire burned pretty hot through some old cottonwood galleries along First Creek,” said Monty Gregg, wildlife biologist for the Deschutes National Forest’s Sisters Ranger District. “Because the fire burned the cottonwoods so thoroughly, they didn’t regenerate as they normally would after a wildfire.”

            To restore these groves, the volunteers planted the young trees along the stream using cottonwood saplings cultivated by the US Forest Service for that purpose.

            According to Gregg, cottonwoods are important for wildlife that depend on hardwood forest habitat such as grouse and many species of songbirds. The groves offer elk and deer good places to give birth to their young. The cottonwoods growing along First Creek also provide shade, which helps keep the stream’s water cool, which benefits fish and other aquatic life.

            This was the last year of the multi-year project. In 2010 and 2011, OHA volunteers helped the Forest Service plant cottonwoods in burned areas in the upper Link Creek basin above Suttle Lake.

OHA chapters teach turkey hunting at 10th Annual Youth Turkey Clinic

The Youth Turkey Hunting Clinic Saturday, March 31 at the White River Wildlife Area near Tygh Valley and sponsored by the Oregon Hunters Association and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was the place to be for kids interested in learning how to hunt wild turkeys. OHA chapters helping with the clinic, now in its 10th year, included the Mid-Columbia, Hoodview, Pioneer, Columbia County, Capitol and Portland chapters.

            “We had 101 kids and 250 adults, including volunteers,” said Fred Walasavage, a member of the Mid-Columbia OHA chapter and state OHA board member who helps organize the clinic each year. “It was a great turnout.”

            Clinic activities included instruction on turkey calling, turkey hunting techniques, how to scout for turkeys and shotgun shooting practice. The kids also received a variety of raffle prizes including binoculars, knives, hats, gloves and other outdoor gear. A shotgun was also given away.

            Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff from the wildlife area, The Dalles office and hunter education specialists from the Salem headquarters also helped with the clinic. Reser’s Fine Foods donated food and funding.

            “It’s a full day for the kids but they loved it,” said Walasavage. “It’s so gratifying to see the clinic grow year after year.”

            Oregon offers both spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons. This year the youth only spring turkey season is April 8-9. The regular spring season starts on April 15 and ends on May 31.

OHA Mid-Columbia Chapter battles invasive weeds

Nine volunteers from the Mid-Columbia Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association, and others, spent June 2 and 3, combing the east bank of the lower Deschutes River assisting the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in controlling non-native Scot’s thistle. This is the third year chapter members have participated in the invasive plant eradication project.

            A biennial herb originating in Europe and western Asia, Scot’s thistle has become established in much of the western U.S. and especially in areas where the soil has been disturbed, such as by wildfire, and along streams and rivers. Heavy infestations will crowd out native plants, lowering the natural diversity of the areas where it grows. Its spiny leaves and stems are of little value to wildlife.

            “The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife comes through first and sprays the thistle, then we walk the banks looking for plants they missed that have sprouted,” said Mid-Columbia Chapter OHA president Chuck Ashley.

            To control the plants, the OHA volunteers chop them off at the base with a shovel. Because Scot’s thistle produces many thousands of seeds that can lie dormant for long periods of time, care needs to be taken not to disturb the ground around the plants when chopping them, which might cause the seeds to spread and begin germinating.

            “The weeds were really terrible when we first started,’ said Ashley, “but now it’s a matter of ongoing maintenance.”

            The Mid-Columbia Chapter plans to continue helping to control Scot’s thistle on the lower Deschutes River by making the ‘weed chop’ a regular event.


OHA Pioneer Chapter maintains water sources for wildlife in central Oregon

About 30 members of the Pioneer Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association made their annual trek to the High Desert east of Millican June 9-10, to repair and maintain 10 wildlife guzzlers the group has ‘adopted’ that provide wildlife with regular sources of water in an area with no permanent streams or lakes.

            Wildlife guzzlers are structures designed to collect and store water for wildlife and are especially critical for animals inhabiting arid regions or during periods of drought. They consist of a flat surface or apron that collects rainwater and funnels it into storage tanks containing a basin out of which wildlife can drink. Heavy snow and other harsh winter weather conditions can damage the guzzlers, debris may clog the water reservoirs that prevent animals from drinking and the fences surrounding the guzzlers to keep livestock away may be knocked down.

            “We hauled in 2,100 gallons of water and checked on the guzzlers as we have been doing for the past 16 or 17 years,” said Gary Skou of the Pioneer OHA Chapter, whose 500 members live in the greater Portland area. “The guzzlers were low on water and needed to be refilled, but most of them didn’t need much repair work.”

            Volunteers from the chapter will return once a month through October to check on the guzzlers to make sure they are functioning properly and to refill them with water as needed.

OHA protects aspens and riparian areas

About 30 volunteers from the Ochoco, Bend and Capitol chapters of the Oregon Hunters Association constructed a fence around a large aspen grove near Little Summit Prairie in the Ochoco National Forest June 23 to protect the trees from being excessively browsed by elk and deer.

            Over-browsing by elk, deer and livestock can suppress the growth of small trees and is one of the reasons that aspen groves can have difficulty regenerating. To keep the animals away from the aspens, the volunteers built a seven-foot high buck and pole fence around the grove.

            “We like to use buck and pole fences because they deteriorate and fall down at about the time the aspens grow big enough to withstand browsing by deer and elk,” said Paul Smith, a US Forest Service biological technician who helped coordinate the project.

            According to Smith, who recently received the Oregon Hunters Association 2011 Conservationist of the Year Award for his work on aspen restoration, it takes about 10 to 15 years for a buck and pole fence to collapse and by that time the aspens have grown to at least six or seven feet tall. At that point, deer and elk are able to utilize the trees for food without stunting their growth.

            “The OHA volunteers did a great job,” said Smith. “They finished the fence around the aspens so quickly that we had time to build a smaller buck and pole livestock fence around a riparian area.”

OHA Redmond Chapter continues Bridge Creek and Clarno wildlife habitat enhancement projects

More than 40 volunteers from the Redmond Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association continued their ongoing wildlife habitat improvements on about 25 acres of former agricultural lands along Bridge Creek, just west of Mitchell May 5-6. The habitat improvement project is a 10-year partnership between the chapter and the Bureau of Land Management to improve and restore wildlife habitat on about 300 acres of land acquired by BLM in a past land exchange. The area is used extensively as winter range by deer, elk and pronghorn and as summer nesting grounds for many species of birds.
    This year, volunteers planted 200 shrubs, 60 fruit trees, burned half the fields and planted the other half with a wildlife forage seed mix, repaired fences, constructed enclosures around newly planted vegetation to keep them from being over-browsed by deer, laid out irrigation pipe and installed four pumps in the creek. The volunteers put in about 1,200 hours of work over the course of the weekend.
    In addition to a variety of wildlife species, the vegetation plantings also benefit wild steelhead in Bridge Creek by reducing erosion, which affects water quality and covers spawning gravel.
    The Redmond OHA Chapter is also working with BLM to improve wildlife habitat on former agricultural lands along the John Day near Clarno.
     “It’s a great multi-species project,” said Redmond OHA chapter member John Crafton who helps organize the effort. “Because it stretches about 10 miles along Bridge Creek it benefits pockets of different wildlife species along its length.”

OHA reduces fire hazard, maintains irrigation canals at White River

About 40 volunteers from the Hoodview, Mid-Columbia and Tualatin Valley chapters of the Oregon Hunters Association spent June 9-10, at the White River Wildlife Area clearing dead trees to reduce wildfire hazard and clearing junipers from several irrigation ditches. OHA members have been assisting with land and wildlife management activities at the wildlife area every year for the past 14 years.

            The 40,877-acre White River Wildlife Area is located on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains near Wamic. It was purchased by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in the 1950s and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife including deer, elk and wild turkey.

            “We had a bunch of dead trees at Smock Prairie that were a wildfire hazard,” said wildlife area assistant manager Kenneth Martin. “The OHA volunteers cut the downed trees and piled them up so we can burn them in the fall or spring.”

            The group also cleared out junipers that were growing along several irrigation ditches so wildlife area staff can get in with a bulldozer to do maintenance work.

OHA Tioga Chapter holds Outdoor Education Camp for Coos County youth

Nearly a dozen kids from Coos County spent June 22 and 23 learning about nature and the outdoors at a Youth Outdoor Education Camp sponsored by the Tioga Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association. The two-day camp experience was held at Lawrence Park in Fairview.

            “It was wonderful,” said Marcey Fullerton, Tioga Chapter vice-president and one of the six chapter volunteers who organized and conducted the camp experience. “This was our first camp and the kids had such a great time that we are going to make it an annual event.”

            The kids, ranging in age from six to 11, learned how to identify plants, wildlife tracking and the habits and natural history of various wildlife species, Dutch oven baking and how to make home made ice cream. Attendees also explored a nearby stream, catching and identifying various aquatic insects.

            “Bigfoot even paid us a visit,” said Fullerton. “I had a friend make some Bigfoot tracks by the stream and leave some hairs around. The kids were very excited to see that Sasquatch had come by.”

OHA volunteers improve big game habitat in Willamette National Forest

About 20 volunteers from the Capitol Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association were among the 55 people who spent Saturday, May 5, improving and maintaining habitat for deer, elk, bear and other wildlife species on the Willamette National Forest. Now in its 11th year, this ongoing project takes place on the Detroit Ranger District within the Bonneville Administration-Portland General Electric power line right-of-way along the Breitenbush River, and in several meadows near Marion Forks.

            The volunteers fertilized 100 acres of meadow habitat and seeded another two acres with a mix of legumes and grasses that will provide high quality forage for wildlife. They also trimmed back brush under the power line right-of-way to help stimulate more new growth for wildlife food and cover.

            Controlling noxious, invasive weeds under the power line, especially scotch broom, is also a high priority because invading non-native plants can take over an area and outcompete native plants that are valuable to wildlife.

            “The guys go in with loppers and saws and knock back the noxious weeds,” said Rick Breckel, a former wildlife biologist on the Willamette National Forest and OHA member who coordinates the power line project. “It’s working, but they come back so it’s a constant effort.”

            In addition to the OHA members, other project participants included members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mid Valley Crawlers, Akzo Nobel Coatings, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, City of Detroit, students from the Santiam School District and several unaffiliated citizen volunteers.

            “We’ve been doing it for years and it’s been a pretty successful project,” said Breckel.


OHA works to maintain rare western Oregon aspen

More than a dozen members of the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association spent last Saturday, May 5, working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to maintain aspen habitat on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest at Woodruff Flat.

            Located on the national forest in the upper Rogue River watershed north of Prospect, Woodruff Flat has two large aspen groves, three acres and five acres in size, which OHA volunteers and the US Forest Service fenced off in 2007 to protect from overgrazing by cattle and elk.

            Aspens are a very valuable food source for elk, deer and other wildlife but if they are too heavily grazed when the trees are small they will remain stunted and never grow to tree size.

            The fences had some broken posts and lots of brush growing through them. OHA volunteers repaired and cleaned the fence to ensure that the elk are not able to break through into the aspen groves.

            “Eventually, we want to let the elk back in,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife habitat biologist Vince Oredson. “But the trees need to be big enough so the elk can’t knock them over and eat them down to the ground.”

            Right now the trees are about 10 feet tall. They need to be about 20 feet tall to withstand browsing by elk. Oredson estimates enough trees in the two groves will reach that height in three to five years, then the fences will be taken down and the elk will be able to benefit from this important food source without damaging the aspens’ long-term growth.