Oregon may be more well-known for its elk and deer, or even its steelhead and salmon, but this early May hunt proved its Rio Grande turkeys can be every bit as exciting.
Two species of elk. Blacktails, mule deer and white-tailed deer. Strong steelhead and salmon runs in legendary rivers such as the North Umpqua, Klamath, and Rogue. You don’t have to look hard to see that Oregon can be a sportsman’s paradise, but still another prime sporting opportunity seems to get short shrift: The state’s amazing spring turkey hunting.
Luckily, Team HuntStand is well aware of the Beaver State’s turkey potential, and this past week’s hunt in the state’s west-central region proved the toms were ready and willing. A good thing, too, since Team HuntStand’s Mike Nelson was attempting to show a few friends the ins and outs of this addicting pursuit.
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Armed with TriStar Viper G2 semi-auto 12 gauges fitted with Carlson’s Long Beard XR turkey chokes and loaded with Winchester Long Beard XR 5-shot, the plan for the turkey hunting trio was to man smartly placed ground blinds along popular turkey travel routes, and let some well-practiced calling lure the local birds into shotgun range. First up was Megan Wallo (shown above with Team HuntStand’s Mike Nelson), a first-time turkey hunter who found herself drawing a bead on an incoming jake, when the bird suddenly spooked and ran. Luckily, there was good reason; a big trailing gobbler had just arrived on the scene.
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“We had been working those birds for about an hour and 45 minutes, and when they finally appeared Megan was going to take the first bird on the scene, an aggressive jake. But then all of a sudden it took off,” Nelson recalled. “Then a gobbler popped up, and we had ourselves a fairly tense staredown for about 30 seconds. At this point the gobbler was at 13 yards and I was waiting for the shot, but Megan was simply taking her time, ensuring her aim. At the shot that tom looked like it rocketed backward about three yards. Megan made a great shot on her first-ever turkey.” Next up was Eric Renander (shown above) who was actually enroute to a ground blind when he surprised a group of seven traveling Rio Grande gobblers, which soon meandered around a nearby hill. Time for action. All thoughts of the blind were scrapped for an impromptu stalk, and soon Eric was leveling his Viper G2 on a fine Rio/Merriam’s hybrid gobbler some 40 yards away. At the shot, the smart combination of the Carlson’s Long Beard XR turkey choke and Longbeard XR 5-shot proved deadly, anchoring the Oregon longbeard in its tracks. And just like that, another turkey hunting addict was born; Renander’s bird was also his first. An incredible hunt on many levels. Anyone looking for a quality turkey hunting experience in Oregon would be wise to tap a longtime local outfitter: Jody Smith Guide Service. Smith is not only one of the premier turkey guides in the country, he has access to a dozen prime ranches in Oregon’s turkey-rich Douglas County, where Smith began guiding for turkeys during the state’s first-ever season back in 1986. Contact Jody at http://www.jodysmithguideservice.com