• Turkey season's start shows promise for '14

  • The spring turkey season kicked off this week with a lot of young ones in the field.
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  • The spring turkey season kicked off this week with a lot of young ones in the field.
    The annual youth-only turkey hunt ushered in the season April 12-13, and if what they experienced is a barometer, there will be a lot of youth turkeys around, as well.
    Early-season hunters have reported a strong showing of young males, called jakes, among the flocks of larger and usually more sought-after toms.
    "With the mellow spring last year, we had good nesting success and polt survival," says Mark Vargas, Rogue District wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "That's possibly leading to a lot of jakes this year. We'll see."
    The main season began Tuesday and runs through May 31 statewide, with Southern Oregon one of the hot spots.
    Hunters can buy up to three tags to bag toms here, and there is no tag-sale deadline like there are for most big-game hunts. However, hunters must possess a 2014 hunting license and turkey tag to hit the field with the traditional camouflage, turkey call and shotgun.
    The Rogue Unit of eastern Jackson County remains one of the top three hunting units for spring turkey, with the Evans Creek and Applegate units among the top six, as well.
    Last year, 886 hunters averaged almost four days afield in the Rogue Unit, bagging 219 birds for a 25-percent success rate, according to ODFW statistics compiled from mandatory hunter reporting rolls.
    The Evans Creek and Applegate units collectively lured 750 hunters, with success rates of 47 percent in the Applegate Unit and 40 percent in the Evans Creek hunt.
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