Ten young guns will have perhaps their best shot ever at bagging a tom turkey this spring as part of an agreement with a local ranch that helps create hunting access and wildlife forage habitat.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold a drawing for youth hunters to win one of 10 hunts during the upcoming spring turkey season on the C2 Ranch near Lake Creek.
Winners will get one day of guided turkey hunting on the ranch during either the youth turkey season that runs April 7-9 or any time during the general spring season, which runs April 15 through May 31.
Southwest Oregon has the most turkeys in the state and the C2 Ranch's oak savannah and brushy areas provide very good turkey habitat not accessible to the general public — and it holds turkeys galore.
"There's a lot of turkey there, and they're not going to be educated by the masses," says Vince Oredson, an ODFW habitat biologist managing the hunt. "It should be good just about any time during the season.
"There's no reason to get in early or late," Oredson says. "The birds aren't really pressured in there because it's not public."
The drawing is free and open to kids age 17 and younger, and applications will be taken through March 29, Oredson says.
To enter, fill out a brief application online at www.dfw.state.or.us/lands/AH/docs/C2_Application.pdf and fax it to 541-826-8776 or email it to email@example.com.
Applications can also be picked up and dropped off at ODFW's Central Point office at 1495 E. Gregory Road.
The drawing will be held on the evening of March 29, and winners will be notified March 30, Oredson says.
Winners will be given a telephone number to call C2 Ranch managers to set up their hunt, Oredson says. Winners can be accompanied by a parent or other family member.
Winners must supply their own $14.50 juvenile hunting license and $10.50 juvenile turkey tag and a hunter-education certificate. However, kids ages 9 to 13 who don't have the hunter-education certificate may apply and hunt under the Mentored Youth Hunter Program by using an adult's tag during the general spring season dates.
This is the second and last spring for these youth turkey hunts under an agreement between ODFW and C2 Ranch under the state's Access and Habitat Program.
ODFW used an $11,000 grant to help remove blackberries and improve forage on the ranch. In turn, ranch managers agreed to open limited youth hunts for deer, elk and spring turkey for two years, and this spring turkey hunt is the last under that agreement.
Oredson says he has drafted a grant proposal to continue the habitat work at C2 Ranch in exchange for future youth-only hunting opportunities.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.