Existing turkey flocks nationwide had great conditions for winter survival — but will it influence our spring gobbler hunting?
MYTH: Gobblers will breed early and be “all done” by opening day.
FACT: While mild to warm weather sometimes increases gobbling activity, true breeding doesn’t start until the length of daylight is right. Photoperiod — the duration of daylight as it influences plants, animals and of course wild turkeys — influences breeding behavior.
An Eastern wild turkey gobbler (with one heck of a beard) calmly feeds in the leaves near a trail camera — and is suddenly attacked from the air by a golden eagle. For a second there, it looks like the turkey might not escape.
Outside of those intrepid few who chase the various slams every spring, I’ve never understood folks who travel great distances to hunt turkeys. After all, we’re talking about a species so prolific that they have adapted to 49 of the 50 states. To hunt a wild turkey for most Americans means driving to the nearest woodlot, setting out a decoy, scratching out a few clucks and purrs on a slate call and waiting for a longbeard to stroll by.
Too many wild turkeys in one location is a good thing for us spring gobbler hunters, but not everyone.
In the case of a California nature preserve, the issue is stirring up some “us vs. them” issues. The Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) won’t allow a single trigger pull if they can help it. Even if it is a youth turkey hunt set for this coming weekend.
Fellow sportsmen of course want to manage the abundant game birds by doing what we do: hunting and enjoying wild turkey on the supper table — some of nature’s original organic food. They want to mentor youth hunters. They want to pass our tradition on. They want to keep flocks healthy and thriving.
Is Bigfoot a turkey hunter? At least one trail-camera user thinks so, as seen in this video still:
Do you think it’s a guy standing in washed-out camouflage next to a tree? Is the turkey in front of the alleged Bigfoot figure a taxidermy mount? Do you think maybe it’s a possibility? If so, why are the images and videos always so grainy?
Have you ever been chased, stalked and otherwise dominated by a wild turkey gobbler trying to fight you? Nope, me neither. Edna Geisler of Michigan has. She calls the bird Godzilla. Godzilla’s roosting area? Nearby state land, which might be his downfall come the April 23 turkey season.
Heads up guys, watch this video and you're going to get a close-up on the inside of a full-grown man's mouth. But, it's all in the name of better turkey calling ...
Even some hardcore turkey hunters have trouble running mouth calls. They gag. They peep like fuzzy barnyard chicks. They sound like grunting and squealing pigs. They give up.
That’s why hand-operated friction turkey calls were made, they say. Other hunters manage to use mouth diaphragms, killing a few fired-up gobblers with fair yelps and clucks during the spring mating season. Still others call in off-season competitions and the in-season turkey woods to improve their mouth-calling abilities. They study how they call. Competition caller and turkey hunter Shane Simpson, who shared this video tip, is one of these guys.