Since You Asked

I was wondering if you could find out if there is any place in the valley that has farm-raised turkeys for sale or that you could shoot yourself. My husband would like to make an "outing" of getting the Thanksgiving turkey without having to go into the woods and find a wild one.

— Tonya A., Medford

While there are many small, local poultry farms, none of them are raising turkeys on a large-enough scale to sell commercially, said Melissa Matthewson, instructor with the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center small farms program.

"It's a big demand for some farmers to do," Matthewson said.

Ken Muller, co-owner of Rogue Valley Brambles, said he fielded many requests for turkeys once he started selling whole chickens this year from his Talent farm. Muller said he will take orders for heritage-breed turkeys next year. But you'll have to plan the Thanksgiving meal months in advance. Muller said he wants all the birds spoken for by springtime.

If you want to shoot your own bird, you'll have to brave the woods since Oregon's licensed shooting preserves are not allowed to have turkey hunts.

The good news is success rates for wild turkey hunting are highest in southwest Oregon, said Mark Vargas, wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Central Point. The downside is they often congregate on private land, so it can be difficult to bag one without trespassing, barring a property owner's permission. Wild turkeys usually travel in flocks of 20 to 50 birds eating acorns, seeds, insects and grasses, Vargas said.

"We have enough around here that there should be plenty to harvest," he said.

More than 600 tags still were available this week for the fall turkey hunt, which permits killing both males and females. Tags are $18 apiece.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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