Spotlighting in Oregon

In Oregon, spotlighting for bobcat and cougar are popular sport and common in Central and Eastern Oregon. However, many hunters are mistaken about the rules and regulations surrounding spotlighting and many would be surprised to find that they have been illegally spotlighting for years.

According the 2016 Oregon Fish & Wildlife regulations:

No hunter shall cast an artificial light from a motor vehicle while in possession of a weapon; or cast an artificial light upon a game mammal, predatory animal, or livestock from within 500-feet of a motor vehicle while in possession of a weapon.

However, under the same regulations, neither landowners nor their agents need a permit from ODFW to spotlight predatory animals (as defined in ORS 610.002) on land they own or lawfully occupy (Predatory Animals means coyotes, rabbits, rodents and feral swine which are or may be destructive to agricultural crops). In this instance, the light shall not cast from or be attached to a motor vehicle. This includes laser sights or any other sights which project a beam to the target. This does not include battery operated sights which only light the reticle.

For all other game mammals (including all big game), they may only be hunted from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset and you could be charged for spotlighting if you are found hunting before or after these respective hours.

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