Fall turkey hunting is a season to be celebrated

Turkey hunting used to be easy, or at least we thought so based on the numbers of birds registered and gobbler responses in the fields and forests.

Not so much now, at least that's what a vocal few seem to be preaching.

It's easy to attach blame onto a single reason, such as weather, not as many birds, too many hunters, no place to hunt or being too busy to hunt. But spring's weather and fall seasons definitely are tied together in some ways.

Last spring's weather and the previous spring's, too, are probably more significant than any other single factor on today's turkey numbers and hunter success rates.

It seems the fall season is today's punching bag for frustration during spring hunts, in part because fall turkey hunting never became as popular as some other outdoors pursuits.

Leave the fall season alone, other than tinkering with permit levels. It's still a great and challenging activity. It should remain as a hunting opportunity for those who want it. Hunters shouldn't believe that birds can't be called, or that gobblers can't be hunted and sometimes even killed.

Types of calling done by hunters may have to change a bit from spring scenarios, but hunting turkeys in the fall will make us better spring hunters, too.

And if one wants, there is always hunting with dogs or mixing grouse and turkey hunting, particularly in northern Wisconsin.

My home base is southern Wisconsin, but I often apply for a fall permit for northern Wisconsin and then purchase one for southern Wisconsin. Turkeys have become commonplace in Wisconsin's northern woods, along with ruffed grouse and American woodcock.

Or consider the challenge of a grand slam hunt, choosing among ruffed grouse, woodcock, turkeys and sharp-tailed grouse. One could walk away with at least two of the four upland game birds during a day's hunt.

Heck, a number of archers climb to their tree stands with the full intention of drawing on a turkey, as well as a deer.

Don't sell fall turkey hunting short. And don't play the blame game of not seeing turkeys during spring because hunters shot too many turkeys the previous fall. All that might be necessary is moving over a section or two.

Remember, too, it should be the hunt, not the trip to a registration station, that is stored away in the hope-I-don't-forget-this-experience hunting log.


Categories: Turkey, Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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