That Time Again!
April 11, 2016
Dogwoods and azaleas in bloom (or, sort of, since they peaked a week or two ago).
Sunny days and gentle temperatures… except when we get those sudden dips into the 20s, as we did this weekend.
But no matter how unpredictable the bloom and bust, it’s turkey season in North Carolina. The opening morning was Saturday, but as I had to get the pasture tilled up and ready for hay, I didn’t go out. So, of course, about 09:30 as I was making an initial turn, I spotted a red head bobbing over the sourgrass at the far side of the pasture. I slowed the tractor to get a better look, and sure enough, a big ol’ tom was pecking along the edge of the field, stopping from time to time to check me out. As I was no threat, perched on the big, orange tractor, he continued merrily about his business for the better part of a half hour. He would pop into the brush whenever I came close, and then come back out as soon as I was on the far side and out of reach.
Sunday morning found me too lazy to get out of bed, and when I did, I still had a few hours of work to do in the field. The turkeys got a pass for another day.
Finally, this morning, I woke up and decided to get out at first light. I had taken a few minutes to set up the ground blind Sunday evening, and I found all of my calls. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the decoys… still packed since Texas. It turns out that those dummy birds could have made all the difference. I spent the morning watching a great show as two good toms sparred over a group of hens all morning, but never came closer than 100 yards to my blind.
The dominant bird and hens never paid a lick of attention to my calls. The other tom, however, seemed genuinely conflicted over coming to investigate the unseen bird in the corner, or staying close and holding out hope for a stray from the little harem right in front of him. It’s tough to beat out a live hen, especially when you don’t have a decoy out.
So, barring early arrival of tomorrow’s rain, Iggy and I will be back in the blind at first light tomorrow. The Barnett RAZR will be locked and loaded, and I hope to put a big ol’ bird in the bag before the work day begins.
Wish me luck!