Early Tuesday morning brought about memories of my good and bad times turkey hunting.
Walking out to retrieve our morning newspaper from the mailbox, I noticed three turkey hens feeding in the frosty alfalfa field bordering our condo in the valley. They didn’t see me.
High above on the hill was a huge gobbler strutting his stuff in the early morning sun. He didn’t see me either. What I did know from years of unsuccessful and successful hunts is that tom turkeys often find the highest point in a field to show off the radiance of their feathers in the rising sun.
The gobbler created a sparkling display as he slowly turned around in a circle. The “girls” were unfazed by his passionate strutting and continued foraging among the alfalfa shoots.
I walked ever so slowly to the house, grabbed a box call from the garage and sneaked back out where I could see all four turkeys.
Hiding behind bushes, I began calling to the tall tom. Just as I suspected, he gobbled, then displayed again, watching the hens ever so closely.
A few more soft yelps from my call and the hens moved several yards closer to me. The gobbler, as usual, followed the hens toward me. I made a few more soft, intermittent yelps. The hens moved closer, then veered off and with heads down and walked away. The gobbler wasn’t far behind them.
As I watched all four birds disappear behind the hill, I couldn’t help but think I could have called all of them in close enough for a shot at the gobbler. Then I chuckled and remembered all the times it failed even when I was in full camouflage and actually hunting.
Regardless, it was a great way to greet another morning.
Meanwhile, across the Mississippi River, Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tyler Ramaker, in La Crescent, checked turkey hunters, some of whom were having success in the middle of the season. Multiple urban wildlife calls were handled. Morel mushrooms are making their first appearance but so is poison ivy, so be careful!
Mitch Boyum, a DNR conservation officer stationed in Rushford, reports morel mushroom gatherers are out in force. Many folks took to the woods looking for the mushroom. Most were successful. Trespass calls were down. Trout anglers have been doing well. Turkey hunters have been having a tough go of it, with reports of toms not responding to calls or decoys and not much gobbling.
DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker, in Winona, reports calls about fawns in unusual locations have started. He checked anglers on the river and turkey hunters around the area. There were also people out finding mushrooms.
Remember to take a kid hunting or fishing. It will be the best thing you ever did.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.