Last Call for Spring Gobblers

Haf_0395 The Wyoming spring turkey season closed May 20, where photographer John Hafner offered the following report and images of his late-season Cowboy State hunt:

Hafner said: “Just got back from a great late-season hunt near Devils Tower in Sundance, WY. We hunted with Jeff Smith and his crew at Seven J Outfitters (www.sevenjoutfitters.com). Despite high winds and hot temps, the birds were active and vocal all day, every day. Our group had ample opportunities; we tagged out early and spent lots of time shooting pics.
There's probably not a prettier place to chase Merriam's.”

In the Northeast, seasons continue through Saturday, May 31—the last day turkey hunts are open anywhere until fall opportunities commence. Woodsmanship matched with calling is tagging some late birds.

In northern New England, where we now rise before 3 a.m. to get to roosted gobblers before they wake up and fly down, my buddy Marc Brown took his “A Season”/week four Maine spring gobbler late in the morning and after much repositioning—not unusual for this time of the year as pressured birds go. A hardcore hunter, Brown has also tagged turkeys in Florida, Wyoming, South Dakota, and New York State this season.

Others hunters I talked to this past weekend (I was out Saturday and Memorial Day Monday with a New Hampshire tag to fill), have used strategies from their bag of tricks to nail at-the-wire turkeys. One bud in my turkey-hunting circle returned to a leafed-out wooded location off a big field in mid-morning, located, and called in a hot gobbler directly for his nephew. Elsewhere, some strutters remain with hens, though nesting has begun in other areas. I’m still carrying that last-call tag.

Haf_0667 Trying to avoid turkeys in no-Sunday-hunt Maine where I’d taken my bird way back on the April 28 opener, I spent 90 minutes listening to a gobbler sound off in the nearby woods as I exercised one of my English setters in a farmer’s open field. It’s still happening. Get out there. —Steve Hickoff