There must be something about me and turkey hunting that churns up the bad weather here in the Gopher State. Recall last spring during my 5–day hunt for turkeys we had some of the most miserable weather all spring. Only one day out of five provided decent weather that made the hunt enjoyable and seemingly worthwhile. Well, guess what, I drew a fall turkey tag and tomorrow morning the season opens for me once again. That’s right…just in time for the high winds, cold, wet and possibly snowy weather. Just the sort of conditions I dreamt about when I made application for the fall hunt last July…NOT!
Truth is the fall we’ve been having this year in Minnesota has been a little atypical as compared to seasons past. It’s been very windy, colder than usual, and snow has been showing up in the weather forecast much more frequently (and seemingly earlier) than I remember it happening in years immediately past.
Perhaps the one bright spot is my woods is full of turkeys. Couldn’t make that claim 20, perhaps even 15 years ago. Almost everywhere I wander these days, however, if I look close enough I can usually detect some form of turkey sign. That’s the exciting part!
In fact, this turkey picture was snapped just last Wednesday by one of my deer cameras. This ol’ boy seems to be taking a careful look at the camera mounted on the tree…and that’s good. It happens to be located right near where one of my favorite deer stands is positioned. Tomorrow evening I might just have to sit in this stand for awhile towards dusk waiting in ambush as I know these turkeys like to traverse the ridge line.
Actually, fall turkey hunting is a rather new sport for me. This is the first time I can say I’ve truly had any interest in going out other than in the spring. It has a lot to do with the turkey population being so healthy that I feel my hunting is not going to affect the population whatsoever, no matter what sex bird I shoot. In fact, in my particular area the wild turkey is thriving so well that I might even be so bold as to suggest there are more turkeys per square mile than pheasants to be found. I’ve talked to several other sportsmen who share those beliefs. Without a doubt the American wild turkey is one of the most successful conservation stories in our country’s history.
My plan is that most of my turkey hunting this fall will be done early morning and late evenings while sitting in the deer stand. I won’t be deer hunting…but my purpose for being out in the woods will be to start becoming familiar with the travel patterns of the deer while waiting for an opportunity to score on a turkey. After all, it seems that when you are hunting deer you are more apt to see turkeys. And vice versa. So, this time around I will have my camera ready for deer and anything else interesting that presents itself…along with my gun ready for the cagey ol’ turkey that I hope will choose to cross my path.
I understand this is not the traditional or standard way to hunt turkeys in the fall…I am fully aware of that. Still, just being out there with gun in hand tomorrow will be an awesome feeling…no matter what the weather brings. I might do a little calling, but chances are it will be kept to a minimum. My main goal is to blend into the woods and not be too aggressive on trying to make things happen. I guess you can call me an opportunist, because if I score on a fall turkey that’s what I will likely be…and that’s okay.
It seems the older I get the less important it is for me to achieve some established goal (like bagging a game animal). Don’t get me wrong…I love to shoot and kill my quarry as much as the next hunter. But I also have a deep appreciation for just being outdoors and experiencing all that nature has to offer. It’s a rare day that I go home frustrated for lack of seeing any action. After all, if you stay put and look carefully, there is something going on in the woods no matter where you look. You just have to take the time and concentrate hard enough to see it.
Indeed, during the next several days I won’t likely be as gung-ho strategy wise as some hunters will be chasing the wild turkey…yet, I will probably derive as much satisfaction out of the hunt as any other hunter. It just works that way for me. Now, let me tell you…if the weather decides to cooperate and be a bit more pleasant than what they are forecasting. Heck, I can most certainly live with that.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.