Field Report: Eastern Oregon Turkey Opener Delivers Snow Birds

Would crazy spring snowfalls affect the Oregon turkey opener? Not for Team HuntStand...

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

Would crazy spring snowfalls affect the Oregon turkey opener? Not for Team HuntStand…

Have you ever hunted the turkeys of eastern Oregon? Based on the consistent year-to-year success of Team HuntStand member Mike Nelson, the trip might well be worth your while. Nelson (shown above right) and buddy Rod Reed took these two fine 3-year-old toms on April 15 (opening day) while hunting in eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountain range. As you can see, the area was still showing the impact of more than 7 feet of snow that dumped into the region in March.NellyTurks 900Nelson reported the extreme late-spring snow had kept the local birds in their winter flocks much longer than usual; on opening day the flocks had just begun breaking up, although the pair of hunters regularly ran into flocks of 50 birds (see photo above) or more. Thankfully, the snow and cold had little impact on the hunting.

“Despite the snow and cold both of these birds came in like they hadn’t yet heard a hen yelp,” Nelson said. “And both birds weighed just over 20 pounds, which is heavy for the area; it was apparent they hadn’t lost any weight from courting and fighting.” 

HuntStand’s 2019 Ultimate Turkey Hunting Gear Guide

On this hunt Nelson was breaking in his new Benelli M2 Field semi-auto 12-gauge, outfitted with a HI VIZ fiber-optic sight system and Carlson Turkey Choke. Given the extreme conditions Nelson was also thankful for his dependable LaCrosse boots and Sitka system outerwear.

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According to the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, the current wild turkeys in Oregon are most likely a hybrid of the Merriam’s subspecies, first introduced in 1961, and Rio Grande subspecies, introduced in 1975.



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