Spring is coming in Pennsylvania, according to the turkeys
This winter, which just won't go, had apparently locked my brain into a pattern that produced beliefs that I would experience daily – only cold and snow, and nothing else. But that changed just the other day when I was headed to a local stream to try for some early season trout.
On a country road that leads to a favorite fishing spot of mine, I happened to look to a huge harvested grain field that lies at the base of a long stretch of a wooded hillside. To my amazement, I saw the unmistakable sight of two fanned turkey tails along the upper edge of the field.
It’s a long way from the roadside to where these two birds strutted, and I was unable to determine any beard length the pair might possess. At that moment though, that was rather irrelevant, because just the sight of these two guys being perked enough to be out in an open field “showing their stuff” made me realize that springtime weather and warmer days are on the way.
Certainly, the turkeys know this, and a little practice at impressing their lady friends, which they’ll need full bore a little later on, was on their agenda this sunny day.
Also, for hunters of spring gobblers, this pre-spring period isn’t a bad time to be out in the woods searching for turkey sign, or driving near open fields looking for the birds themselves. Veteran turkey hunters will walk through their preferred hunting spots at this time of the year looking for scratching sign and droppings that indicate the birds are living within a certain area.
Those veterans are also on the lookout for possible strutting areas, roosting places and travel routes they could take to enter these spots. They all agree on one thing though, come and go as quietly as possible, and never ever do any calling in the woods before the season starts.
Old man winter is close to fighting his final fight of the year, so let the thoughts of a big, fat spring gobbler fill your head.
Side note: Recently, I’ve watched a couple of TV hunting shows that showed hunters stalking turkeys by crawling on the ground while holding a fanned turkey tail in front of their faces. Not only is this practice illegal in Pennsylvania – one may only call a spring gobbler to a stationary position – but it’s downright dangerous. I lost a close friend years ago who was shot and killed by another turkey hunter, and have another close friend who had a leg severely damaged years back by a turkey hunter in an irresponsible act of firing at an uncertain target.
You crawl around with a turkey tail on your head, you’re just asking for trouble.