Colonel Tom Kelly, in his book Tenth Legion, said:
“Fall turkey hunting is maneuvers. Spring hunting is war.”
Every year at the beginning of April the excitement builds. I set up my pop up blind. Dragging my turkey decoys out of storage I check the paint and make sure they are still able to be inflated. The shotgun comes out of my safe and decisions have to be made about ammo (Should I use the same as last year or try one of the new tungsten super shotshells?), choke tubes, and where to hunt. After a long Michigan winter its a special kind of excitement in the air when Turkey season is starting. It signals that Summer is coming, fishing season is near and it is a chance to match my wits against a cagey old tom.
Waking up at 5 am the first morning feels unnatural. You drag your way through collecting gear and putting on camo. Arriving at the blind you still have an hour wait until legal shooting light. Drinking coffee you try to stay awake. The grass is wet and the air is crisp. Several deer walk close to your blind to graze on clovers. They have no idea you are there–or don’t care. You scan the trees. It is just possible to make them out as the sun slowly starts to peek up.
Then you hear it. A distinct gobble rings out through the woods. The sound is reminiscent of some ancient voodoo chant. No natural creature could make this sound. Another turkey gobbles back. You quietly get your slate call out and drag the stick across to make a few rapid clucks. You wait. There is silence. Then you hear the gobble again. Its approaching shooting light when you hear a thunderous commotion of branches whooshing and sticks breaking and several loud thuds resound against the forest floor. You feel your adrenaline kick in. You suddenly don’t need the coffee. You are wide awake and ready for action. The turkeys have left the roost and it is game on. The moment you’ve been planning for. Spring Turkey season is here.
Thanks for reading this. I hope everyone out there is as excited as me about the turkey opener. With everything going on around the country I know I need some quality time in the woods stalking and being outsmarted by my favorite bird. We will continue to post stories about turkey hunts, some rules and regulations you need to know, and some tactics to try and get the better of this deceptively smart bird. Spring thunder is almost upon us!