The 2012 spring turkey season is over – has been for 4 days now. I guess I knew it would come, but why did it have to come to an end so quickly?
If I were to sum up my spring season in one word it would have to be – Interesting. But what turkey hunting season doesn’t fall into that category? Heck, that’s why some of us get consumed by it each year – it’s always interesting. Whether it be the weather, the birds or the people you chase them with, no two seasons are alike.
Each spring turkey season is also educational – if you’re willing to take a step back from the pain of being bested on a regular basis by a bird and do some quick analysis. Which is what I find myself doing today, in an effort to avoid real productivity on a Monday.
Be Lazy. Mike arrived late Thursday night. Too late to head west as we had planned. So we caught some extra shut-eye and hit a nearby Open Fields & Waters Area. When we pulled up the next morning I knew where I wanted to go based on some online scouting – but it would require some walking. Laziness won again and we stuck by the truck. A fast owl hoot revealed a roosted bird within 100 yards. We moved just far enough away from our ride and set-up. Mike pulled the trigger on nice tom shortly after sunrise, but not before a great show.
Turkeys Cheat. A heckuva storm proceeded my brother Gabe & me into the field one morning and the landscape was soaked. But, by the time we headed out, skies were clearing. We set up on the edge of an open crop field – just like the textbooks tell you to do. Perfect spot for turkeys to dry off and that we commonly see turkeys in this field made the deal even sweeter. However, the tom we called into shotgun range that day never left the woods. We never saw another turkey in or crossing the field that morning, either. The people writing these books must hunt smarter turkeys than I do – mine don’t seem to read the rules.
Take the Camera. I try to leave a camera in my turkey vest all season long. This year I accidentally found out how easy it was to take video with the same camera. Good thing. First tom of the year attracted a great-horned owl (check it out at: http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/05/turkey-hunt-owl/); second tom was attacked by a gang of jakes (see video below) and the final bird was arrowed out of a group of 5 big-boys. With the camerea I was able to share the experience with others that could not be there with me.
Close Doesn’t Mean Cancelled. Two mornings in a row while hunting with Gabe we called toms within 25 yards. The first one to within 15 yards, but he kept a healthy cedar tree between him and Gabe. The very next morning we talked another straight to us. Unfortunately, it was straight behind us. He spent the next couple of hours there. Two mornings, two birds in range – lots of gobbling and drumming – no shots fired, no permits cancelled.
Never Leave the Vest Behind. If setting up a ground blind for a future hunt, Mike likes to leave things in inside. This year after a long, but very fruitful, evening hunt out of a blind we decided to leave it in place for the following day. Mike decided to leave his vest inside the blind. I didn’t think much about it until the next morning when he starts handing me stuff to carry. First came a water bottle, then a granola bar and finally 1/2 of the local Golden Corral breakfast buffet.
Face Paint & A 6-year Old. If you’re looking to lighten up your turkey hunting just add a 6-year old and then give her (or him) some face paint to put on. The results are well worth it. Whether by design or coincidence I guarantee it will make you smile. Just make sure you have some chocolate covered donuts for her.