Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Short turkey take

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS editor

The past two days have only strengthened why I never take the first season for spring turkey in Michigan.

On what would have been the opener, April 18 -- had I opted for the first season -- I would have been met with a covering of snow.

And on day two, it would've been cloudy and cold.

Neither are enticing backdrops for the gobbler who wants to bellow his song across the countryside.

Don't get me wrong, I know hunters can and do sometimes score under such conditions, but more times than not when I'm out in such weather -- silence is golden.

And the scouting report I received today from a friend of mine who hunts Sanilac County further supports this as he said "he didn't hear any gobbles."

However, once, maybe six or seven years ago, I traveled to the hills of West Virginia for its spring turkey opener and was stunned to find 4 inches of the slushy, white stuff on the ground. Not unheard of for the Mountain State at the end of April, but definitely disconcerting for the hopeful out-of-state hunter.

It also made for a tricky drive to my spot in Taylor County.

The most amazing part I found was despite all the reasons I had running through my mind for not getting out of the truck, I still slipped and slid my way to a advantageous calling spot on a ridge just before first light and was soon met by gobbling.

I couldn't believe it.

So I decided to tough it out.

I played dueling hen calls with another hunter for about two hours before I backed down the ridge to try another spot in the hollow.

And with more surprises on tap, the sun came out and the warmth brought the temperatures into the 50s, close to 60.

At mid-morning I leaned back against a nice thick oak and shut my eyes for a minute ... and before I knew it I was out. It didn't take much with the six-hour drive and then only an hour or two of sleep before I had to get up again to make first light.

When I woke up a half hour later, I peeked around the blind and couldn't believe my eyes -- the tom was strolling down the trail a mere 25 yards from me.

By the time I picked up the shotgun and shook out the cobwebs, he had seen my movement and was winding in and out of cover so I could never get a good bead on him.

Yep, I didn't even get off a shot.

So I suppose the lesson here is you just never know what will happen unless you get out and try.

But for me, May 2 is a better option.


Anonymous Macomb Carpet Cleaning said...

Ah the joy of the hunt.

6:54 AM 

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