Permit hunting for public and tribal members

To apply for the big game access permit draw, visit the Hunting Permits Portal.

At this time, hunting is limited to Pine Creek, Oxbow, Forrest, and Dunstan Conservation Areas. Hunting is NOT allowed at Red Hills, Little Sweden, or Austin Hot Springs, but we may add these properties into our hunting program at a later time.

No predator or varmint hunting is authorized within ANY Conservation Area (This includes bear, cougar, wolf, coyote, ground squirrel, marmot, and badger).

Limited deer, elk, and bird hunting are authorized on the Conservation Areas in the John Day River basin. Big-game hunts entail mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk and are by access permit only in limited numbers. Bird breeds include the mourning dove, chukar, California quail, pheasant, and turkey. There is no waterfowl hunting allowed at this time. Always check property kiosks or program updates for updated information. All allowed hunting is subject to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife rules and regulations. Please check maps for No-Hunting Zones.

Bird Hunting

Upland bird hunting is allowed for mourning dove, chukar, Hungarian partridge, mountain and California quail, pheasant, and turkey at Pine Creek and the upper John Day Properties (Oxbow, Forrest, and Dunstan).  Hunters are to follow all ODFW seasons and regulations.

Starting January 1, 2023, a $20 annual bird hunting access permit is required for each adult hunter to hunt birds at Pine Creek Conservation Area. This permit will be available only through the website. In addition to the annual permit at Pine Creek, all visitors/hunters need to complete a daily access permit online or at a kiosk for all properties. Please pick up all your shells and leave no trace of your visit. Please sign out at a Pine Creek kiosk after your visit (also available online).  For bird hunting at Oxbow/Forrest/Dunstan properties, contact Jesse Bryan – 541-820-4521.

Big Game Permit application process

Permit hunting for big game is annually announced around April and completed by lottery draw. Only limited permits will be filled for each seasonal deer and elk hunts based on herd population counts, management goals, and to ensure hunters have a high quality hunting experience. To apply for a permit draw visit the Hunting Permits Portal after ODFW has issued tags. Hunters must provide proof of current hunting license and purchased state permit as regulated by Oregon Department of Fish and Game. The last day to apply for a permit draw is  around the end of July and selected hunters will be contacted in early August each year.

Big Game Drawing notifications

Draw results will be emailed to each hunter along with pertinent regulations and maps as required. Hunters who have a successful draw will be required to keep a copy of the permit tag visible on the dash of their vehicle and a copy on their person at all times while hunting on the property. Hunters are also required to show proof of permit to Pine Creek staff when asked.

Elk & Deer hunting

Elk and deer hunting within the Conservation Areas can be very rewarding. Hunters are strongly advised to thoroughly plan ahead for access, as well as potential recovery of the carcass if the hunt is successful. Motorized vehicles are not authorized on the property at all. Hunters may utilize pack horses, alpaca, or a game cart to retrieve the harvested game. This can be a very cumbersome effort due to the extreme rugged terrain if not properly prepared for. Only permitted hunters may carry hunting rifles within their hunting party. Permitted hunters may be accompanied by others during their hunt, and other party members may help with all other aspects of the hunt, excluding shooting game. Handguns are not allowed on the property.  Hunters are required to complete daily access permits. Sign-out Forms are required at Pine Creek to include the Hunters’ Harvest Report section for game management purposes.

Fishing – Two sites only

McHaley Pond picnic area at the Mainstem Forrest Conservation Area, one mile east of Prairie City, is occasionally stocked and seasonally open for fishing starting at the Free-Fishing Day event every June. There is a covered picnic area and toilet at the site, and McHaley Pond is fun for the whole family!  Be sure to check ahead as the last few years we have been constrained on staffing to clean the pond and coordinate fish releases.
The John Day River is the only authorized fishing location within the Pine Creek Conservation Area boundaries. The John Day River is renowned for excellent fly-fishing opportunities. These authorized areas are located on the western portion of the property on Clarno Rd., and along the Wagner Ranch area on the southern tip of the property. Species which can be expected include redband trout, steelhead, and smallmouth bass. State fishing licenses, seasons, and other rules and regulations apply, see