Spring or Fall? You Make the Call

Sz_photo92208_post_hickoff_photo “Calling a sexed-up gobbler in spring is about as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.”
–Overheard in a Pennsylvania roadside diner in the early 1970s

“Hunting fall turkeys is just too easy. I’d rather hunt spring gobblers.”
–A comment from a turkey seminar attendee in Massachusetts this year

You hear a lot of ideas about turkey hunting getting tossed around these days. Myth or fact, you decide . . .

The turkey hunting tradition actually has its roots in autumn and winter hunting. Before the notion of “spring is for beards, fall is for antlers” came into the minds of modern turkey hunters, flock-seeking sportsmen sought out their game during the woodstove months. Back then some hunters held a prevalent notion that taking a breed-minded gobbler in the spring was easy. Even unfair.

A Pennsylvania native, I first hunted wild turkeys in 1971 at age 12. I can still remember old-timers (guys my age now!) talking about how turkey hunting in the spring was just flat-out wrong. You see Pennsylvania had just legalized spring turkey hunting in 1968 after being closed since 1873. By 1984, a month-long Keystone State spring turkey season was in place for bearded birds, and has been since.

Traditions shift.

What do you Strut Zoners think? Is calling in a sexed-up spring gobbler not as hard as we say or think? Is hunting fall turkeys too easy?–Steve Hickoff