Spring gobblers

As I get pumped up for another spring season, I remember my past experiences with turkeys.

You would think, with more than 50 years hunting these wise old toms, that I could figure them out by now.

They have great eyesight and can spot the slightest movement. Their survival instincts are heightened by the predators they face during each day of their lives. Coyotes, feral cats, dogs running loose and hunters are just a few perils they face.

The weather is a major factor in the springtime to ensure the poults make it from the nest alive and well.

A 2-year-old “jake” gobbler, on the ground after your shot, is an accomplishment to boast about.

Locating the turkeys is the primary objective of your scouting trips to the mountains.

Finding roost sites and feeding areas will help you plan your hunts.

Seeing or hearing a few big gobblers, before season, intensifies the adreneline needed to go in pursuit of them.

Camouflaged head to toe, sitting on a stand patiently waiting for an approaching gobbling turkey, is an experience unlike any other in the woods.

Your calling skills will be tested to the extreme. The wrong call or a misstroke of the box call will cause the sly old tom to reverse direction. The last thing you will hear is a gobble, from the next ridge over, that sounds like a deep-throated chuckle.

Sometimes when the birds are looking for hens, they abandon their good sense and you cannot make a mistake. These occasions are very rare, but I have taken an absent-minded gobbler in the past.

Usually, the reckless tom is a young bird. Curiosity and desire overcome caution at mating time.

Be ready to go early, and plan to be in the woods near where you plan to hunt well before daylight creeps slowly over the mountain. This is when the gobblers start announcing to the flock that it is time to start a new day. Soon thereafter, you can hear the loud flapping of wings as the turkeys fly down from their roosts to the ground.

If you can locate the birds on the roost you may be able to slip within calling range and entice a big gobbler to come see what the strange, talkative hen is looking for.

Be sure to have your weapon ready. He might run to your calls or he might sneak up on you. Keep a watchful eye and you may see him before he spots you.

Wild turkey makes a tasty springtime meal.

Take the children hunting on youth day, and let them enjoy the excitement of the turkey’s gobbles ringing in the mountains.

Have fun and be safe this season.

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