I hate Turkeys!
I am not even sure I still like Thanksgiving dinner right now. How is it that a 25-pound bird can drag you around in the early morning light, take you to the highest adrenaline rush and then throw you down and stomp on your spirit?
Oh, did I mention that they tend to do it day after day, and at times their gobbling seems to almost be mocking you as they stroll away the other direction. Something just has to be done about these feathered devils of the spring woods.
Here we are just finishing up the second week of the four week spring gobbler season and I am considering throwing in the towel. I feel like I have climbed every mountain and then gotten pushed down every rock covered, briar invested, mule-faced slope in the county while chasing these devious Toms.
Granted, it isn’t all bad, it is always an amazing sight to watch the sun come up over the mountain while listening to the thunderous gobbles rolling down the hollows. It definitely makes you feel alive and gets the blood flowing with anticipation of the hunt ahead.
Add in the lush green new growth emerging and the ever present wildflowers that are in bloom this time of year and it makes for a pretty spectacular back drop. Every now and then some lucky hunters are presented with a willing Tom that struts right into the seductive calls of what he thinks is a lonesome hen turkey and makes for a perfect and memorable morning in the woods.
This spring is the first year of the new earlier opening season which is one week before the traditional opening date of the fourth Monday in April. So far, the early time slot seems to be meeting with some mixed reviews from the hunters.
Some hunters are enjoying the perks of being able to see a little further in the woods and the more willing gobbles coming from the turkeys. Others are complaining that all the gobblers are still with hens and aren’t about to leave their feathered companions for the promise of a lonely hen in the next hollow.
Speaking from personal experience I say both of these groups are right on point. I have fought more hens for that gobbler’s attention in the last two weeks than I care to remember. That could be because I am on the losing end of the battler when it comes to talking Jenny out of her long bearded boyfriend.
One concern of the early week of the season is centered around those very vocal and, at this point, very mobile hen turkeys. With the hens not yet sitting on their nest of eggs it puts them in harms-way by having them wandering around in front of anxious hunters just itching to bag their bird.
This makes the number one rule of hunting even more important. That number one rule it ALWAYS MAKE SURE OF YOUR TARGET! Whether it is small game or the biggest large game species, as hunters, we always have to positively identify our targets.
For the spring gobbler season that means making sure that turkey has a beard. Yes, some hens actually do have a beard, and they are legal in the West Virginia Spring Gobbler Season. Hopefully, every hunter can refrain from pulling the trigger on the bearded hens for the sake of the species though.
I don’t know if it is the new early opening date of the season, the weather, or the fact that all the turkeys are “henned-up”, but so far this season, it has been a rough one on my end. Just to give you an idea the score is at least: Big Spring Tom 99+, Roger the Turkey Chaser – 0.
I won’t say that I have been beaten by the old bird, but he sure has been kicking me while I am down lately. I do have one thing to say though, if there are any long-bearded gobblers out there reading this, the season is half over so that means I have two full weeks left and you better watch your tail feathers. Revenge is Sweet, and I will be giving you a call! (Shameless turkey hunting pun intended)
— Roger Wolfe is an Outdoor Columnist for Civitas Media. He can be reached at [email protected]