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Hunter Information Booth will be open Wednesday through Friday this week in Prineville

PHOTO COURTESY DAVE FIELDS - Deputy State Fire Marshal Dave Fields gives an orange hunting hat to Blake Ridgway at the Hunter Information Booth last season. The Prineville tradition opens this week.

Heading out to the woods to fill your tag this week?

Be sure your first stop is the Hunter Information Booth near Ray's Food Place in the Ochoco Plaza.

The booth, manned by several local wildland agencies, will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 through Friday, Sept. 29.

"They interact with hundreds of people throughout the course of each weekend and provide a lot of good information about hunting and camping on public lands in Central and Eastern Oregon," said Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Patrick Lair. "They hand out maps, wildfire and fire restrictions information, Smokey Bear memorabilia and answer general questions."

Participants include members the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Crook County Fire and Rescue, members of the CO Fire Prevention Co-op and Oregon State Fire Marshall's Office.

"I have a regular staffing of volunteers from the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Hunter Education program, and they help staff it," said Deputy State Fire Marshal Dave Fields, adding that they've been helping out for several years and can help answer questions related to the youth Hunter Education program.

Fields said the Hunter Information Booth is basically a hunter fire prevention booth.

"We give them the current fire restrictions in all of the hunting areas," he said, adding that they will also have information on road restrictions for everything east of the Cascades.

"It's about 41 years old," Fields said of the info booth. "At our current location in Prineville, we've been there probably 23 or 24 years at Ray's and even before it was Ray's in the Plaza."

The tradition includes free orange safety hats for kids with a Hunter Education card who are headed out to hunt, a gift from Nosler Bullets and ODFW.

"We'll be there at 5 a.m. getting the coffee on. You get free coffee, free hot chocolate, free stories to tell," Fields chuckled.

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