Gobble, gobble it's time for some turkey
Turkey hunting season is underway; here is what you need to know:
For tags and regulations, all you need to spring turkey hunt is camo, a call, and a shotgun. A hen or jake decoy can also improve your odds. You can hunt for six weeks (April 15-May 31) anywhere in the state.
Spring turkey hunting is general season, and anyone can purchase a tag any time before going hunting. Turkey tags are $25.50 for residents, $10.50 for youth hunters (age 17 and under). Hunting licenses are $33.50 for residents.
In the Jefferson County area, the best locations to hunt turkey are in the Metolius Unit on Green Ridge, from Black Butte north to the Warm Springs Reservation, and east into the juniper zone. Hunting pressure usually drops off significantly after opening week. Lower elevation roads without snow may be soft and muddy, or blocked by downed trees. Contact the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest for road conditions and motorized access restrictions.
The Deschutes County area has a daily bag limit of one male turkey or a turkey with a visible beard. Turkey populations remain low and not widely distributed, but due to a mild winter, numbers are increasing slightly in the northern portion of the Upper Deschutes Unit and select areas of the Metolius Unit. Look for turkeys on USFS and private timber company lands. Make sure to ask for permission before hunting on private lands.
In the Crook County area, turkeys can be found on forestland in the Ochoco, Grizzly and Maury wildlife management units. Turkey numbers and distribution in the district are gradually increasing, with groups scattered throughout the national forest. Several turkeys were relocated to the eastern portion of the Ochoco Unit this winter. There is still snow at higher elevations and north-facing areas of the forest, so travel may be limited. Green-up is occurring below the snow line and turkeys can often be found in those areas.
Hunters should contact both the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville BLM offices for road conditions and motorized access restrictions. Motorized restrictions remain in effect year-around in the South Boundary Cooperative Travel Management Area along the southern boundary of the Ochoco National Forest. Maps of the area are available at entry portal signs, and at ODFW and Ochoco National Forest offices in Prineville.