Many turkey hunters traveling south to Jackson County don't realize the turkey hunting potential right in front of them in neighboring Josephine County.
Jackson County has long been notarized as the premier hunting destination for spring turkeys, boasting numbers close to 14 birds per square mile in some areas. These numbers and the lure of thousands of acres of land accessible to the public has kept cruise control set for many turkey hunters as they unknowingly pass through a turkey rich environment.
Josephine County has been the secret hot spot that has kept locals as tight lipped as an educated gobbler.
A glance through the Oregon state record book will verify that a number of trophy birds are taken in this county ‹ reason being, nobody is hunting them, so they're allowed to grow.
Josephine County is a turkey hunter's dream, with lots of accessible land and turkey populations increasing every year, thanks to a stable environment that is perfect for the Rio subspecies of the wild turkey.
Lovesick toms can be found in many parts of the county, but the greatest success comes from those hunting transitional areas near valley bottoms and near the Rogue River.
A hunter with a BLM map, a box call and a willingness to explore can find themselves punching a spring turkey tag rather easily, and more than likely without the pressure of other hunters.
For those new to the area, start at the Merlin exit and continue west along the Rogue River towards Galice. A steady mix of hardwoods and conifers will greet you as you travel through this vast turkey country. Numerous creeks and gulches hold plenty of toms willing to come to the call.
"Oak woodlands are always really good," said ODFW biologist Vince Oredson (541-826-8774)
"Any place where there might be some acorns. They also like meadow areas where they can look for clover or young shoots of plants and any insects."
Seek out areas that will give a good vantage point of the area and will let you hear distant toms gobbling for a receptive hen.
Don't pass up too many opportunities to explore many of the roads that stretch up into the hills. Focus your attention to the mix of scrub oaks and use your locator calls to strike up a gobble. Use your box call to entice willing toms closer to your position with seductive yelps.
Southern Oregon is notorious for poison oak, and more than likely if you're allergic to it, you'll find it.
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