Following Steve Hickoff’s successful New York hunt last week, he offered this insight into how turkey flocks are looking across the Northeast. Flocks looked good, with young-of-year groups in the upper part of the state numbering on average of 8 to 10 birds. Driving down the highways he reported that he saw plenty of flocks. Ditto for his travels through New Hampshire back up to his home state of Maine where smaller, but still plentiful flocks seem to be the norm.
Gerry Bethge reports a mixed experience at his New York lease just a couple hours north of NYC, where he says flocks don’t seem to be as plentiful, despite an almost successful hunt in the company of an old timer who moved at an inopportune time. This means the presence of birds probably vary widely on a very local level. Over in Massachusetts, where Bethge is soon headed, deer and bears are thick, but the turkeys seem to be hiding out as well.
Meanwhile, down in Virginia where the season opens next Saturday, hunters are optimistic. Both Primos Pro Staffer Tommy Barham and turkey hunter Billy Whitman report plenty of birds roaming the fields in the southside region of the state. Unless I get blindsided by an unscheduled soccer game for my daughter, I’ll be there for the opener. The boys love their turkey dogs down there and it always makes for a fun hunt when we get into flocks.
Over in Missouri, Ray Eye says it’s one of the weirdest years he can remember. Why? Turkeys can usually be found in the same general areas year after year. This year, however, Eye isn’t finding birds in ANY of the usual places. The mystery has spurred him to hunt out new areas and seek birds out in more broken areas of terrain and smaller woodlots. He still hasn’t quite figured it out from his most recent email report.
We’ll let you know.