"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are
neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make
things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve
rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be
attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -Thomas Jefferson,
quoting Cesare Beccaria.
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Coombs Canyon offers great upland game bird hunting
PENDLETON — State wildlife officials today said upland game bird hunters looking
for late season opportunities are encouraged to consider The Coombs Canyon
Regulated Hunt Area.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists counted more upland game birds
in the Pendleton area during surveys earlier this year than in the past eight or
nine years. Although upland game bird hunting seasons are well underway, hunters
can still find upland game bird hunting opportunities.
Much of the prime upland game bird habitat in the Pendleton area is privately
owned and hunting access can be hard to find. But ODFW Assistant District
Wildlife Biologist Greg Rimbach said the Coombs Canyon Regulated Hunt Area is
one of the few private land, “welcome to hunt” areas around with both public
access and huntable populations of pheasant and Hungarian partridge.
Located just southwest of Pendleton, the Coombs Canyon Regulated Hunt Area was
created by ODFW in 1999 through a cooperative agreement with rancher Steve
Wolfe, who allows open bird hunting access to his 12,500-property in return for
an annual per acre payment and additional Oregon State Police law enforcement.
The ODFW Access and Habitat Program provided the funding to create the Regulated
Hunt Area and continues to support it through regular grants. Earlier this year,
the A&H Program provided a $13,664 grant to allow continued public use of the
The A&H Program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Funds raised by
the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate
landowners, conservation organizations and others for cooperative wildlife
habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.
Coombs Canyon sees heavy use during the first three weeks of the pheasant
season, especially on weekends. As the season wears on, hunting pressure drops
off considerably, although there are still birds to be had.
During the first part of the season, pheasants are concentrated within the
brushy Coombs Canyon corridor where most hunting is focused. But as the season
goes on the birds begin to scatter. Beginning around Nov. 1, Rimbach advises
hunters to hunt the draws and open grasslands where many pheasant go seeking
refuge from hunters working the canyon bottom.
The Regulated Hunt Area also has good numbers of Hungarian partridge. These
challenging game birds are found in the open grassland areas and are not heavily
targeted by hunters. There is also a small population of California quail
concentrated within Coombs Canyon .
Pheasant season on the Coombs Canyon Regulated Hunt Area ends Dec. 11. Hungarian
partridge and California quail season end on Dec. 31.
Maps showing open roads and welcome to hunt areas are available at the Coombs
Canyon Regulated Hunt Area in a map box posted in the parking area on Ranch
Road, at the ODFW John Day Watershed District Office, 73471 Mytinger Lane,
Pendleton and at ODFW headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem.
For more information about hunting the Coombs Canyon Regulated Hunt Area contact
the ODFW John Day Watershed District Office at (541) 276-2344 . For information
on the A&H Program call program coordinator Nick Myatt, 503-947-6087 or visit
the Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us/AH/.