When spring rolls around, the snow has melted away and those that take to the woods, are getting very excited. The reason being, Turkey season is underway and that brings about another new hunting adventure to many.
There is a freshness in the air and seeing the woods coming to life once again gets any outdoors person excited. There is that overwhelming feeling, when you are hunkered down in the spring woods and off in the distance, you hear that gobble of a Tom turkey.
If I had to pick one season of the year to hunt, it would definitely be turkey hunting. The intrigue of calling them to you with the use of a variety of calls and tricking them to coming into your set of decoys—there is nothing in my mind that is more exciting and rewarding.
But, even after hunting for a number of seasons, I still get very excited when opening day comes around, but I am a bit more excited, when the last week or two of the season comes. In my mind, there is a good reason why I find this time to being more fun, there are less obstructions getting between me and Mr. Tom.
By the last week or so of the turkey season, we are finding that many of the breeding hens have been bred by the local Tom’s. At the beginning of the season, these male birds are fixated on the numbers of hens in the area.
If there is a good population of hens, more times than not, the live female birds are going to be more attractive than our calls and decoys. Unless you are fortunate enough that the number of hens in the area is low, as that will work to your favor in calling and fooling Mr. Tom Turkey.
So with that being said, this is why I like the later part of the season. Many times, the hunters thin out some as well and that opens up more areas for chasing these birds. And our calling seems to be more effective in this time of the season.
The property that I hunt is private land. The adjacent land owner does not allow hunting, which gives these local birds somewhat of an oasis too speak of. The birds typically roost next door and have a fairly similar pattern that they follow each day, and by hunting them with regularity, you can start to pattern their habits.
The location that we setup in most frequently is a small field, with a concealment area of a couple of trees and low brush that were left in the back part of the field about two thirds down. The left side is the non-hunt able land that they roost and come from.
To the right, is a gnarly thicket that they typically will stay clear of and behind is a creek bottom. Being able to sit inside of this concealment area leaves a direct sightline for the decoy spread that is out in front of us and openly visible to any lurking turkeys in the middle of the field.
On this particular morning, there was quite a few birds sounding off in multiple directions, but the ones that interested me were coming from the land next door. They had a distance to travel and were responding very well to the box calls I was using.
There were two birds coming towards me, so I had switched to a diaphragm call to give them a different sound than what I had been calling with. By switching calls, it felt like it reassured them. There were more hens in the area and they kept getting closer.
There is a thicket with a stone wall separating these two pieces of land and these birds arrived at that edge and went silent. I knew that they were close and softened the calling some, and after what seemed like an eternity, these two birds appeared onto my field.
One was a young bird and the other was a fully mature Tom that was in full strut. The younger bird walked right next to the older bird but was a lot more edgy, so you had to watch your movement and also the calling pattern.
As they approached 10 yards shy of the decoys, the young bird was getting me worried that they were going to flee, so I took aim and dropped the older Tom shy of the decoys as the younger bird ran to the edge of the field and started gobbling again.
With my heart racing and hands shaking, I went out to take a look at my trophy with the beard measure 11 inches and weighed in at 22 pounds. This was my first turkey that I have shot and it was a very exciting hunt to say the least.
Turkey hunting to me, is one of the finest hunts that you can do. Their senses are very strong, so paying particular attention to everything that you do definitely is in your favor. I like hunting throughout the whole season, but really enjoy the last week or so, because to me, late season seems to put the hunt a bit more into your favor.