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Bags of free grass seed disappeared quickly

I read the article in your Oregon Outdoors section about the state's program for giving away free grass seed for people who want to plant this grass on their property for wildlife habitat. By the time I got through to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to get some of that seed, it was gone. My question is, are they going to do this again and if so, how can I make sure I get in line early enough to get my bag of free seed?

— Dave, email submission

It's funny, Dave, how sometimes it's hard to give away free things until they're gone, and that seems to be the case with the ODFW free forage seed.

The annual program occurs when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife teams with the Medford-based Oregon Hunters Association to provide 3,000 pounds of a mix of grass seeds to create forage opportunities for landowners.

The free seed is available beginning Oct. 1, and there was a quick run on getting the 25-pound bags, which is enough seed to turn about 2 acres into a veritable wildlife magnet for critters — deer, elk, turkey and quail, says Vince Oredson, the ODFW habitat biologist overseeing the giveaway.

After that, about 1.5 tons of the seed remained unclaimed until the Oct. 17 blurb about excess seed in Oregon Outdoors, Oredson says. More than half of that seed walked out of the ODFW office that day, and the remaining went claimed by Monday morning.

Had the Mail Tribune actually printed where to get hold of Oredson to claim some seed, it would have disappeared even quicker.

"So it's Oct. 1 next year, so be there early if you want some," Oredson suggests.

Call Oredson next Oct. 1 for the seed at 541-826-8774, ext. 232.

The mix includes subterranean clover, orchard grass, plantain, radish and forage brassica. It's best spread out in the fall to sprout with fall rains and does not require any irrigation.

This year, the seed cost the ODFW and the OHA $2.50 per pound. Next year's seed price and funding sources will determine how much free seed is available next year, Oredson says.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.