Posted by Brian Lovett, Editor
A lousy old joke tells us there are two seasons in the North: winter and road construction.
I guess that should strike a chord with turkey hunters. After all, don’t we have two distinct periods: the season and the off-season?
Sadly, unless you’re on a plane to New Zealand, we’re well into the latter. And I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it difficult to let go of the former.
It seemed like things had just started to “get right” during the final five days of Wisconsin’s season. Birds that had been solidly henned up most of the previous week began getting lonely, and die-hard hunters willing to brave 2:30 a.m. wake-up calls and hordes of hummingbird-sized mosquitoes started scoring consistently.
During the second day of the final period, I got solidly thumped by two field turkeys but decided to try another spot before quitting. I walked into the woods at 10:45 a.m. and was walking out at noon with a gobbler slung over my shoulder. It had been a classic midday hunt, complete with lots of hard gobbling and sunlit strutters slowly coming to the call. I couldn’t have ended my home-state season in better fashion.
I wish I could say the same for Minnesota. My last hunt of the year, with friend and fellow T&TH contributing editor Scott Bestul, proved disappointing, though it wasn’t for lack of turkeys or trying. Both mornings, gobblers did the same thing: hammered on the roost, talked a bit after flydown and then slowly shut up as they drifted away with hens. To make matters worse, I goofed up the only pair of workable turkeys we encountered by misjudging an afternoon setup and missing a bird with a poor shot.
While driving home from that hunt, feeling the effects of several hard weeks in the woods, I told myself I was ready for spring to end. I was dead tired and needed to catch up on matters I’d brushed aside during the season.
But that weekend, I began to miss it. I’d run a call here and there while putting my stuff away. And then I’d think about the woodpeckers, whitetail fawns and other cool stuff I’d seen afield.
By Monday, I was in full-blown withdrawal. In fact, I’m still there. The only therapy, I guess, is a bit of fishing, some baseball on TV and frequent daydreams to appreciate all the wonderful moments I experienced in the turkey woods.
I’m sure you’re in a similar state of mind. It’s OK, friend. We’ll make it.
Just don’t tell my wife that the fall season opens in 114 short days.