© Othmar Vohringer
Turkey populations in BC are constantly fluctuating. Areas that may have had great turkey numbers a year or two ago may be void of any turkeys this year. This is because, unlike other Canadian provinces and American states, British Columbia does not require a special turkey hunting license or even a tag system. As the wild turkey is considered an invasive species the government has no plans on implementing conservation procedures so all that is required is a valid hunting license and you’re good to go.
Having said that there are a few places that consistently hold good turkey populations and attract a growing number of turkey hunters. In the Okanagan (Region 8) good places to explore are Rock Creek on Hwy 33 north to Beaverdell and along the scenic Christian Valley Hwy north through the Kettle River Valley. The land around Oliver, on Hwy 3A, is the home of large wild turkey flocks and so is the area between and around Grand Forks and Christina Lake. The Kootenays (Region 8) provides good turkey hunting opportunities in the Creston Valley and out to the Nelson, Cranbrook and Jaffray areas. The reasons why turkeys thrive in these areas are the availability of rich fertile farms, orchards and river bottoms that provide the birds with plentiful nutritious food sources all year around. The hunter who manages to gain access to private land clearly has the odds in his favour of bagging a turkey. Unfortunately, gaining access to private land is not an easy endeavour. However, this is no reason to despair. While turkeys may spend a lot of time on private land, more so as the hunting season progresses, they tend to roost on public land. The savvy hunter finds the spots where the turkeys cross from public onto private property and set up near these crossing points.
Best times to hunt are right on opening day of the season as turkeys quickly grow weary of the hunting pressure. As the season progresses plan on hunting during the week, instead of weekends, as the hunting pressure lessens a bit. Since turkeys can be hunted from first to last light in British Columbia, afternoon and evening hunts ease the hunting pressure and with that increase the chances of connecting with a bird. All the described areas mentioned provide many opportunities for camping and staying overnight at the many private and provincial park campsites.
For out of province hunters and novice turkey hunters wanting to gain more experience Kettle River Outfitters and Rocky Mountain High Outfitters offer a three day guided turkey hunting service at affordable fees.