Turkey season has come and gone again. I always look forward to the spring season and it always goes by too fast. Spring is such a busy time with trying to emerge from winter and get work done around the house, get food plot work done and get out and make some money after the lean times of winter. We often have no time for turkey hunting. I have been very lucky the past few years hunting on one of my client’s properties near my home. I was going to start some site prep to replant his perennial plots and decided to make a play for a turkey before work. I parked the truck down by the public road and snuck up the steep side to the flat where I planned to hunt. I no sooner got to the top of the hill when my GSP Ruby ran up to me. She had followed my scent from home all the way up there, so I had to take her back down and lock her in the truck. I climbed back up the hill and immediately heard two gobblers on the other side of the hollow, so it was another hike down and up the other side. I heard two birds sound off when I called so positioned myself between them and started a calling sequence. One bird quit but the other one gobbled to everything I gave him. He must have been strutting about 75 yards from me. Since there are small pines to sneak through, I was able to move close without being seen. I crawled around a big oak and gave a couple of yelps and in a few seconds I could see him coming – when he cleared the brush 15 yards away, I let him have it with a $4 round of Winchester Extreme. Can you believe that we have to pay $4 a round for ammo? Anyway, he hit the ground like a sac of potatoes. He is the biggest bird at 21 lbs. I ever shot in that area. A very nice bird.
I have been hearing reports of low turkey numbers in the big woods after the deep crusty snow we had last winter in the high country. But the parts of the state with some open fields that greened up early with winter wheat and rye seem to have more birds available. Here at the gas company, I get reports of game sitings from the securtiy personnel when they come in from a shift. During the early spring, they were reporting seeing hundreds of turkeys and deer out in theopen fields where the frist greens were coming up.
The lesson learned here is always have those cool season plants in somewhere on your land so there is something coming in very early as soon as the snow is melted off. This is a critical time for game. Also, with the unbelievable rain and cool weather this spring, clutches of vulnerable young turkeys may succumb to the weather this year. There is a good reason for planting thick warm season grass stands, bruch and conifer areas where game can get out the the weather.