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MailTribune.com
  • Sunshine should send spring turkeys trottin'

  • A balmy and sunny Sunday should bode well for the start of the spring turkey season.
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  • A balmy and sunny Sunday should bode well for the start of the spring turkey season.
    After a week of cool and wet weather, a weekend forecast of sunshine greets turkey hunters who will head into the fields with shotguns after weeks of scouting local Rio Grande turkeys.
    "The birds aren't very active when it's cold and wet," says Vince Oredson, a wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Central Point office. "But as soon as the weather clears, and we get some sunny days, they'll really take off. If Sunday's a nice day, it should be a great opener."
    The general spring season here runs through May 31, with a daily limit of one turkey with a visible beard. About 10 percent of hens have beards, and they are legal in the limit.
    Hunters here can kill up to three turkeys per season. Tags are available at license outlets through the season.
    Turkey populations are thought to be down a bit in Jackson County after two wet and cold springs created poor nesting conditions and successes, Oredson says. That likely translates into fewer year-old jakes, "but there's still big birds out there."
    Most turkeys killed in the spring are called in by camouflaged hunters using calls to entice the mate-ready males. The tactic is less successful during stormy weather, when the birds tend to roost in trees and are less responsive to calls.
    Jackson County's Rogue Unit is one of the top turkey-producing Wildlife Management Units in Oregon, trailing only the Melrose and White River units in spring turkey kills.
    Last year, 1,030 hunters logged 4,259 days afield during the spring season, killing 260 turkeys for a success rate of one turkey per four hunters, according to ODFW statistics.
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