Days Of Hunter's Past

CANDOR, NY--New York's first modern wild turkey hunting season commenced back in the fall of 1959. Spring hunts didn't begin until 1968. Pete Clare of Turkey Trot Acres wanted to honor that inaugural hunt 50 years later.

No blinds, decoys or as Clare says, "supersonic-hearing enhancers," would be permitted. Vintage shotguns were highly approved of. While Realtree and Mossy Oak camouflage could be found on vests, boots, seat cushions and even guns, nostalgic retro garb was strongly encouraged.

Over the three-day hunt, 10 turkeys were taken; two hunters tagged two. Neither heavy winds, slanting rain, nor well-fed, acorn-enriched turkeys finding heavy mast edibles over widespread upstate NY hillsides and ridge tops, could keep Clare and his Team Retro from their appointed task. Credit John Byrne's storied line of Appalachian turkey dogs--Luke, Clyde, KeeKee and Jenny, among other canines in camp--as well.

The dogs found and scattered many flocks during the recent hunt. Guides and hunters called every bird taken back to the gun. Some flocks numbered in the 'teens, along with smaller groups of 8-10 birds. Fresh scratchings indicated that roving fall turkeys were covering the hillsides. Mid-hunt, a storm front rivaling something out of The Wizard of Oz blew through and flushed some turkeys from the woods where they could be seen in the Tioga County farm fields.

The New York autumn turkey season remains open in some areas, including those Clare hunts, until Nov. 16. For more on Turkey Trot Acres, check out: www.turkeytrotacres.com/

(Later this week, NY fall longbeards here at the Strut Zone . . .)