Turkey season camaraderie
Wisconsin’s spring turkey hunters will face a few changes in how things are to be done when it comes to hunting wild turkeys this year.
The six hunting periods are seven days, instead of five, Wednesday through Tuesday. No big deal to most hunters. We’re likely to see little impact on the success rates by hunters, or even total hours spent in the fields and forests.
Like the 2011 fall season, hunters will be registering their birds on the Department of Natural Resources’ Web page, not at a registration station in a village. Hunters can also phone in their results. So don’t look for the familiar red sign declaring a registration station. There will not be any.
While some former stations might have a computer or phone handy for hunters to use, most of this business will be done from home or from a cell phone in the field.
No big deal, you say? More convenient? Yes and yes; but wait.
One of the biggest events for deer hunters talking to other deer hunters, DNR folks, and even sports shops and convenience store representatives has always been the registration station conversations.
What will take its place? Is there a need for a gathering location, a local drinking hole, if you will?
A local coffee shop or gas station might provide some of that camaraderie, and you might even also see some businesses taking advantage, and providing a service, to turkey hunters wanting to complain or rejoice about the morning hunt.
For 25 years, Norm Sandmire, at Norm’s Small Engines and Sports, in Richland Center, has held a big turkey contest. Hunters throw in five bucks before season and then bring their bird in to be scored. Hunters with the biggest birds have a chance of winning a gun.
What could provide better camaraderie than hunters rushing to have their birds scored before some of the weight evaporates from the carcass?
And it just might be that the business owner has a coffee pot, telephone and computer to make your hunt legal with the DNR. Sort of a convenience registration center, if you will.
The word tradition continues arise when we talk hunting, regardless of whether it is deer, turkey, waterfowl or grouse. In the name of convenience, by eliminating registration stations, we may just have tossed away an important piece of tradition.