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Oregon closes hunting and fishing to nonresidents to limit the spread of COVID-19

Oregon closes recreational hunting and fishing to nonresidents

Photo credit: Dreamstime

The following is an urgent press release regarding nonresident hunting from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Oregon completely closes off hunting and fishing to nonresidents, regulation takes effect tomorrow night. The restriction will be set in place until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and it is deemed safe to travel into Oregon.

SALEM, Ore.— ODFW is closing recreational hunting, fishing, crabbing and clamming to non-residents due to concerns about travel to Oregon to participate in these outdoor activities. Such travel could spread the virus and put more of a burden on Oregon’s rural communities.

As of Friday 11:59 p.m., nonresidents may no longer participate in these activities in Oregon. The restriction extends until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and it is deemed safe to travel into Oregon. This order does not apply to anyone living in Oregon for less than six months who have not yet established residency. 

Some states, including Washington, have closed hunting and fishing to limit the spread of the virus. While seasons remain open in Oregon (except for Columbia River salmon/steelhead fishing), resident hunters and anglers should not be traveling to participate. ODFW is hearing concerns from rural communities about people visiting to hunt and fish and placing additional burdens on these communities’ limited resources.

“Rural communities are concerned about the potential impact of COVID-19 on medical and emergency services, search and rescue and their citizens. Some have asked us to close seasons to reduce travel,” said ODFW Director Curt Melcher. “We would like to keep seasons open to give locals an outlet during this difficult time, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to travel to these communities. Stick close to home and fish at your local lake, pond or river and do not go crabbing or clamming unless you live on the coast, and then only to places where access is still open.”

ODFW monitoring has shown that while Oregonians are still participating in fisheries, clamming, shed hunting, and wildlife viewing it is in significantly lower numbers and that the majority of participants are doing it close to home and practicing social distancing. “We appreciate that many Oregonians are taking the Stay Home, Save Lives order seriously,” added Melcher.

ODFW field staff monitoring participation in the field have seen out of state license plates and out of state angling and shellfish licenses in use. Staff are also fielding numerous calls from non-residents inquiring about plans to come to Oregon to hunt or fish.

“ODFW believes this action restricting non-residents will help local communities enforce the restrictions on out-of-state travelers violating the order, and putting local resources and residents at risk,” said Melcher. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding at this difficult time and look forward to seeing you outdoors again in the future when this passes.”

ODFW anticipates there will be opportunity for non-residents who have already purchased a 2020 license to participate in hunting, fishing or shellfish opportunities later in the year. ODFW will refund non-resident spring bear and spring turkey tags and reinstate preference points for spring bear hunters. Please contact Licensing at, (503) 947-6101 to arrange for a refund.

Non-residents interested in applying for a fall controlled hunt may still apply online at and the deadline to apply remains May 15, 2020.

Oregon residents who do choose to hunt, fish, crab or clam are reminded to:

  • Stay close to home rather than traveling far. The Governor’s Executive Order says hunting and fishing are OK, but to limit travel.
  • Practice social distancing and stay six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your immediate household, including when outdoors.
  • Check access where you are headed as the area may be closed. State Parks are closed, counties have closed some parks and boat ramps, beach access is closed in some areas and national forests and BLM lands have closed recreation sites.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Carry needed supplies with you to minimize non-essential stops — including buying your license/tag online instead of making a trip to a license sale agent if possible and bringing all needed food, water and sanitization supplies with you.


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Joshua T. - posted 1 month ago on 04-10-2020 09:23:49 am

Not like there is any access anyways. Oregon has closed off most Forest Service roads, vast majority of trailheads, and almost all boatramps. So its not like residents are getting much of an opportunity to use the tags they paid for either. Even if your hunting close to home, unless you have access to private, you have to travel hours out of your way to find a place to hunt. I have a spring bear tag and every road and trailhead along the west and south border of the unit are baricaded (I know, I've driven to try and find a way in).

Will F. - posted 1 month ago on 04-10-2020 07:50:00 am

Concerned what the new America will look like after this with non-residents not being welcome to come scout, taking fishing trips and learning the units we apply for prior to drawing a tag that took a while to achieve. My application strategy (thanks to Gohunt) allows me now to draw a really good tag every year for several different species. These are tags that may take 4-6+ years to draw but then I just rotate through those for several states each year for my big 2 week adventure each September and I end up having some great hunts. But ideally I would like to go step foot in those units sometime earlier in the year to scout. I wonder if now Americans will treat us differently when we come off the mountain and want to grab a bite in their local diner and they see a Texas license plate. Really struggling with Oregon's reaction to this Covid-19. Who are they really protecting with this legislation, especially since we are "flattening the curve" now? Out of state hunters and fisherman are mostly headed into areas where they won't see anyone and may have a tiny interaction with others at the grocery store and if restaurants are still closed won't spread C-19 there. Goodness me people. Americans turning on each other state by state and ratting us out when they see an out of state license plate. Not good.