Fall Turkey Woes

Photo_sz_post_10_16_08_hickoff Hey Strut Zoners . . . I've hunted the New Hampshire archery turkey season since it opened Sept. 15, crossing the state border from my home base in southern Maine, and driving road miles to my Granite State turkey spots. Still carryin' a tag. Looking for a dumb longbeard. Will adjust goals as the long season passes, and look for anything legal, later. Closes Dec. 15. Plenty of time to go.

A turkey bud killed a NH adult hen this week though, and had the nerve to credit me for his fall turkey buzz. In my book, that's almost as good as arrowing one myself.

Well, you know about my SZ cohort Gerry Bethge and his turkey dog Jake. Having troubles on my end too: my English setter Radar, 6, came up lame the first week of October just before the first New York weekend of turkey season. Swollen hock. Blood work at the vet's and a 10 minute wait told the story. It's often the first and only sign of tick-borne infection. The diagnosis: Lyme and anaplasmosis. He was nearly two October weeks into the doxycycline treatments when he lacerated his chest in the woods while out with me in NH on the rebound. Cut wide open. Barbed wire likely to blame. Sutures, inside and out, the works. More meds. Yes, he usually wears a protective vest. No I didn't have it on him. My bad.

As some of you in the turkey dogging community know, I buried my lemon and white setter Midge near a hawthorn tree on our New England property (savaged by tick-induced kidney disease, Lyme then anaplasmosis at the wire). There's a reason my book Fall & Winter Turkey Hunter's Handbook is dedicated to her. My older dog Jen, 12, is now pretty much blind and nearly deaf. So . . . I'm hunting the Maine Zone 3 fall turkey (shotgun) opener this coming Saturday, Oct. 18. No dog, though they're legal. I know how to bark, and rush the flock, men's hoops league legs willing. A full report will follow . . . Will hit Vermont's fall turkey firearms opener on Sat., Oct. 25. Ditto. New York? Hoping to. Keep us all posted on the SZ, and I will too, turkey dog stories, or others, we'd love to hear from ya. —Steve Hickoff