Snow-kidding: winter weather turkey hunting
When I saw the weather forecast for the approaching weekend calling for snow, I actually got excited. I don’t mind it a little on cool side when I’m turkey hunting. In fact what I dislike the most about the late season is the hot weather and insects.
None of that was a factor for New Yorkers on Mother’s Day weekend. With just a dusting at my home when I pulled out of my driveway Saturday morning, I presumed there’d be more snow where I was going at higher elevations in the mountains, and I was right. Close to two inches blanketed the ground where I’d spend the morning.
Any excitement, however, dispersed quickly after I had my decoys and location set up for the first part of the morning. I had chosen a clearing were I’d listened to two toms going at it just minutes after I’d killed an opening day gobbler This is a consistent location and I was confident I’d have some action. I was wrong about that.
Just around legal shooting light the winds started howling as the cold front was moving on through. I knew the wind was coming based on the weather forecast, but it was expected to be later in the morning. My plan to engage in some subtle tree calling was scrapped. I just sat there, listening and hoping to at least hear a gobble. I heard only one, and it was quite subdued and hard to pinpoint where it came from.
Thinking there were some gobblers around, I eventually let loose on the box call, and at a high volume. As the morning went on, the only critters I saw were deer. Within a few hours I was on the move. I went further up the mountain, only to be greeted by higher winds and knocking tree branches.
Next, I dropped into a valley and did my best to stay out of the wind, going only 150 yards or so before stopping to call; not the type of run-and-gun hunting I usually do. Throughout the course of the morning I’d made a wide circle and never cut a fresh turkey track. By 11 a.m., I’d had enough and a warm cup of coffee just sounded too good.
The next morning my brother, Bill, who just moved back to New York from Arizona, and I were on another mountain in one of our familiar deer hunting haunts. I’d been tangling with a gobbler here a few different mornings and figured it was my best option for getting him some action on one of his first turkey hunts, ever.
Sub-freezing weather greeted us that morning and once again, howling winds. I knew the toms would not be roosting where they normally would. Although we heard a few gobbles, they were on some nearby posted land. We moved close to it, set up and did some calling, but like the day prior, it just seemed difficult to hear a bird and imagine them hearing us. We stuck it out until mid-morning.
So, I came away from a winter weekend of turkey hunting with nothing to show for it. I was really hoping tag out in the snow as it would’ve made for some great photos and memories, not to mention a good story or two.
But, that’s why it’s called hunting, and there’s still plenty of time left in the season. Perhaps it will eventually feel like May?