There's really no cure for the wild turkey addiction.
Scouting before spring seasons open months from now is as much a part of the hunt as the actual deal closer with a killing shot in range. I like to get out early and often, if only to set my mind in the right direction: opening day.
Of course turkeys you find won't necessarily be there months from now. Good habitats will hold them though, and see fresh birds arrive. Just this morning, I checked out the woods and fields where an opening day 2010 Maine longbeard wore my tag. I'd been in an Arkansas pit blind hunting waterfowl this week, and needed to reconnect with the local turkeys on my return home.
As we last reported here on the Strut Zone, Jersey has a "turkey problem." Staten Island, home to roughly half a million people, and the most suburban of New York City's five boroughs, is also home to a bunch of wild turkeys.
The place has a lot of history. Native American arrowheads have been found here. As pop culture goes, "The Godfather" was filmed at this location. And now wild turkeys are in the news.
The last time we had a domestic farm turkey for Thanksgiving was when my daughter won a "turkey shoot" free-throw hoops contest run by the local recreation department. Otherwise, it's wild turkey on the table.
Eating wild turkey at Thanksgiving extends the good hunt memories.
I use the whole turkey: breast meat, drumsticks (which I parboil 90 minutes before picking the meat); even the rest of the remaining bird for soup broth and additional turkey bits (great with appetizer recipes).
“Nothing seemed the same, because nothing was the same,” I lectured myself as the nearly full-grown poult walked off to re-acquaint itself with its family...
By the time some basic underlying instinct kicked in and I shook the cobwebs loose, the family flock stood gathered, yelping and kee-keeing, in a clearing about 100 yards off. I did my best Jake-the-turkey-dog impression and ran into the birds to break them up once again. A hunter can never break up a flock of turkeys as well as a dog can and sure enough they scattered unevenly with one of the bigger birds flushing off to my right—by itself.