The Next Season
Last year I wrote about the opportunity I had to hunt turkeys on a historic farm here in the Bluegrass State. I wish I could say that the season ended in success but I made a few tactical errors that left me with an unfilled tag. Trying to always be positive about my hunting trips, I took a lot of good things from the experience. 50 years from now I will remember a big tom that I battled in a thunderstorm, he getting so close to me that I could see water dripping off his beak, but with a limb in the way I never had a shot.
I first started turkey hunting in high school. Back in 1992 turkey hunting was very new to the Commonwealth. Restoration efforts were still in their early stages and many counties didn’t offer any hunting. Those that did had odd regulations like, “In Bullit County, turkeys can be hunted west of the Salt River and north of Hwy 44.” We could only kill one bird per year which was actually reasonable since none of us had a clue what we were doing. Those years the woods were filled with hunters who were trying to figure these odd creatures out. The fact that wild turkeys are among the most elusive wild game made the challenge that much harder. Their eyesight is incredible, their hearing superb and they are wary creatures during the spring season.
These days the seasons are much more liberal. We can kill up to four turkeys per year, two in the spring and two in the fall. I’ve seen turkeys near my house, in a field next to a strip mall. The woods are filled with them and hunters like myself have had two decades to figure them out. Hunting turkey sporadically since that first year, I only have two tails on the wall of my garage but I have friends with over a dozen to their credit. The restoration of turkeys in Kentucky has truly been a success.
Turkey season is exciting because it also marks the start of the new hunting year. Our hunting licenses run from March 1 – Feb 28 and so turkeys are the first animal we get to pursue in the 2013 hunting calendar. My hard work in securing the trust of the landowner from the old Taylor farm has paid off and he invited me to hunt turkeys there again this year. The next week will be filled with planning and prep of my blind, closer to that corner this time. My nephew and I are also making plans for him to join me this year, his first turkey hunt. Passing on my knowledge makes me more and more happy the older I get.
Technology is pretty awesome and I was able to film nine birds on opening morning last year. The video below shows four jakes, four hens and one tom that is in the right corner of the field. If you turn your volume up you can hear him gobble. That sound is the absolute best sound in nature in my humble opinion. This tom hung up in that corner of the field, another tactical error because I should have anticipated that would be the spot they flew to off the roost. I played him for over an hour before he finally wandered off. Frustrating, but still fun as hell to watch.