Ed Gilbert: The spring turkey hunt is here

By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 9:02 am on Monday, April 23, 2012

Here it is. The spring turkey hunt is about to pop open and many hunters are prepared for it or busy getting ready. As I believe I mentioned a while back, I’ll not be carrying my shotgun with me because I absolutely forgot to apply for a license.

However, I’ll be calling for one of my hunting pals and that’s almost as good as carrying the gun.

Tell you what, let’s discuss those sharp-eyed birds a moment, if for no other reason than perhaps to reach someone who’s just beginning to hunt them.

The first thing is to locate the turkeys. That is relatively easy as they leave a sign wherever they go and their tracks are about the most recognizable of any creature. Also, the average turkey moves about much during the day, sometimes traveling more than three or four miles. And when they do, they leave not only footprints but droppings and even an occasional feather or two.

As for food, they will devour insects, acorns, grit or most anything that represents something to eat. Many times they scratch the ground looking for food and when they do they leave a V-shaped track that points in the direction of their travel.

One very important part of hunting turkeys is to find where they roost at night. When you find that and discover the direction in which they travel when they come down at early light, it’s a simple task to set up down their travel path and lurk there for a good shot.

There, now you’re an expert, right? Well, not quite. I’ve hunted those crafty gobblers for years and have only got a few to show for it. Besides, you know what an “expert” is, don’t you? Well, an “ex” is a has-been and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure!

OK, let’s discuss something else a moment, eh?

I understand that our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is doing fine and I just received something important from their office out of Cincinnati. It is material concerning their forthcoming Super Shotgun Sweepstakes, something all members of the NWTF probably have received by now. The envelope included not only information about the drawing, which will take place May 9, but some tickets to buy or sell. They will draw 20 winning tickets for 20 huge prizes and I could be a winner. Yeah, I know, I’ve been to many NWTF banquets and fund-raisers over the past 20 years and I’ve yet to win a gun! Other items, yes… So maybe.

At any rate, the money raised by this venture will help to continue our hunting heritage. Following 39 years of NWTF restoration, re-stocking and conservation efforts, the number of turkeys across North America is now approximately 7.4 million. There were about 1.3 million back then.

We must continue to support our local chapters of the NWTF as well as the national efforts. These local folks are the grassroots and base of the entire organization. They deserve whatever effort we can give.

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