The Real Turkey Hunt
Here in Michigan we have to apply for the turkey season we want, but there also is a 234 general hunt in May (however where i hunt, is not a part of the 234 hunt). So i applied and was drawn for first season. My season dates were April 22-28.
Opening day i went out and heard gobbles in the distance, but nothing came at all other than a hen. She walked past me and continued on, the direction she was walking was towards the truck. I stayed sitting just in case she had any toms following her, but she was alone. About an hour after i saw her i started walking back to the truck. I got to where i could see the truck and there she was! She was only probably 10 yards away from the truck and walked off when she saw me. Opening day was Earth Day and it was great to spend it sitting against a tree listening to turkeys and other animals with the sun rising at my back!
At my next stand i didn’t see or hear anything aside from a dirt biker who was illegally riding through the woods and almost ran over my decoy. Once that happened i called it a day. There were tons of turkey tracks though which is always a great sign!
The second day of the season (Tuesday) was my daughter’s birthday so i took the day off from hunting to be with her. My second day of hunting (Wednesday) i heard gobbles from several directions but they all were henned up and would not budge!
Third day hunting (Thursday) i didn’t hear anything at first so i walked a bit in the woods and called and heard a gobble! So i walked about 50 yards closer and quick got my decoy set up and found a tree to sit by. I got my camera out to catch the audio of his gobbles on video. Called again and he was CLOSE! So i shoved my phone in my pocket and i got my gun ready and about 45 seconds later he stepped over the ridge! He was strutting and gobbling walking back and forth skirting me out at around 75 yards. He gave me a great show! It was so fun to call to him and watch him strut and gobble back. Then all of a sudden he strutted back over the hill and gobbled further away. Then i hear it…another hen yelp…and he gobbled further away still. He got pulled off of me by hens, and even though he didn’t come into range it was so much fun to watch!
The next two days out i had gobbling several hundred yards on either side of me but could not get them to work with me, even when run and gunning (going to the turkey and then trying to call them the rest of the way to you)! At one of my stands i got to watch a deer feeding, she never even knew i was there. We did see a trio from the road so my husband drove a few hundred yards up and dropped me off and i hiked in ahead of them and got set up, but they ghosted on me and i didnt see them again.
Saturday night it snowed and Sunday was the last day of my season. I got out there and didn’t see or hear a single turkey. As the sun came up the snow began melting and a big clump fell off and landed on my head. After many hours of not being able to locate any turkeys i called it a season and hiked back to the truck. Of course driving home i come across a group of toms strutting in the road, another tom in a different field. That’s just how it goes sometimes!
Even though i didn’t bag a gobbler i had an awesome season! Typically i turkey hunt traditionally; picking a spot and staying there until they either come or don’t. Changing spots mid-morning and doing the same waiting game. I used that tactic the first 2 days but then wanted to try to hunt more proactive, “run” and gun, something i hadn’t done before. The tactic worked as i called in a gobbler on Thursday, though i couldn’t seal the deal. It was fun to try new techniques and always fun to feel the rattle of gobbles through the woods! Looking forward to getting out after them next year!
One thing that really was a disappointment was the amount of trash i came across. A pile of tires, recliner, and other junk. A pile of plastic and foam cups, empty fertilizer bags, sleeping bag, junk everywhere. Deeper in the woods i found plastic bottles all shot up and shotgun shells laying around. I picked up the bottles and shotgun shells and stopped at the DNR Headquarters and got a trash permit so i can go back and get the other stuff. The permit protects me if a CO comes, so he knows i’m picking it up rather than dumping and also gives me use of the DNR dumpster for whatever i clean up. Please if you come across trash in the woods, pick it up! Most importantly though, pick up after yourself! Don’t be the person who leaves trash in the woods or sees the woods as a place to dump your stuff. It is detrimental to the environment and makes it more likely that public access will be closed. We are conservationists and stewards of this planet and we need to set the example!
Next year my daughter wants to give it a try so between now and then we’ll have her take hunters safety and practice shooting! I am so excited to get the next generation of hunters in the woods!