HEPPNER - The area available to most hunters in northeastern Oregon's Heppner Unit has been reduced by 37,000 acres with the closure of private lands that were open to hunting for more than three decades.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife learned recently that Pioneer Resources elected to close their land along the western edge of the Heppner Unit to hunting due to the pending sale of the property. The affected areas include Opal Butte, French Pass, Parkers Mill, Tupper Creek, Board Creek, Thorn Creek and a small track near Blake Ranch. New signs have been posted alerting hunters that trespassing in not allowed in these areas.

The Pioneer Resources land was included in the Heppner Regulated Hunt Area, a cooperative program to provide hunter access. Other lands in the regulated hunt area and public lands will remain open to hunting.

ODFW biologists plan to continue efforts to increase access to private lands for hunting.

Hunters who have questions about the closure may contact ODFW's field office in Heppner at (541) 676-5230.

The deadline to purchase tags for general cougar season, general fall black bear season and controlled Eastern Oregon buck deer centerfire seasons is Friday, Sept. 27.

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