Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Listening for turkeys is good excuse to be in cold, damp woods

The woodland deer trail was slick with mud and I had to step to the side at times to prevent taking another spill.

A stumble going in made me determined not to repeat it going out. As is often the case being a suffer of “drop-foot,” I found my left boot being caught by a snag that proved to be a pike pole on the deer thoroughfare.

This morning, a very light rain fell, too, along with a chilled wind that spoke of a winter that just would not let go.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with “10” being perfect, I rated this morning as no better than a “4” in listening for a roosting turkey.

Even so, one gobbler a long ways off responded to one short yelp note from a latex call that hung in the roof of my mouth.

Initially I had tried using an owl locator call. However, when the “who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all” notes failed to accomplish anything I rummaged around in my turkey-hunting vest and extracted a diaphragm mouth call. That did the trick, though after just the second set of yelps I stopped calling. No point in getting the tom all excited over nothing, I figured.

That enticement will come Monday with the start of Ohio’s month-long spring wild turkey-hunting season.

In listening for turkeys it’s best just to wander into a woodland patch and hope a bird will begin talking on its own. Next would be using a locator call, like one that imitates a barred owl.

Only when either of these two situations fail do I pull out an actual turkey call.
It’s an instrument of last locator resort for me.

But this is a new section of hunting real estate. And this morning was likely the last opportunity I’d have to do a listening walk for turkeys.

Having a general idea of the general location of where turkeys like to roost will be of great assistance during the season. But the calling would by necessity and prudence be sparse.

Once a bird was located, I’d shut up. No point in arousing the gobbler’s love interest too much, I figured.

Even so, a listening walk for turkeys is fun, though expensive, given the high price of gasoline these days. Still, what is affordable is in the eye of the hunter. After all, getting up at 5 a.m., leaving the house 30 minutes later and arriving at the destination 45 minutes after that is part of the adventure.

Years from now I’ll have forgotten the sticker shock at the gas pump but I will remember hearing the chorus of spring peepers and looking down on the deer path and then picking a very handsome 5-point shed rack.

It will be all business on the next visit, me being armed with the appropriate shotgun and ammunition. That’s when the calling will be done in earnest with an eye to better pin-pointing the whereabouts of a turkey.

And I’ll also likely return the shed antler, too, letting the forest’s moles, voles and mice chew away on the calcium-rich tines.

Yep, even at a “4” today’s experience was a “10.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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