The turkey season opened in the area with near perfect weather. It was a bit chilly but the calm winds made it ideal for hearing things.
I was reminded this year how much I absolutely love witnessing a woods wake up in the morning. It is becoming my favorite part of hunting and I hope I never grow tired of it. Whether I am in the marsh or in the woods before the sun rises, to hear the birds and the rest of the woods wake up and start about their day is music to my ears. From hearing a hen turkey fly down to the song birds waking up and singing their tunes, it is well worth the loss of sleep to get up early enough to witness it.
The act of turkey hunting, being in full camo head to toe, maintaining a low profile with your back up against a tree, making no sound and very little movement, makes it ideal to blend in and witness what goes on in the wild. My morning started with a pair of raccoons scavenging for food near my turkey decoys. They would look up at the decoys once in a while and wonder why they weren’t moving but something else would grab their attention and they would go back to finding breakfast.
They spent several minutes foraging around and soon reminded me how good their sense of smell is. When they drifted off about 60 yards away, I decided to snack on peanut butter flavored granola bar. As soon as I broke open the package and took a bite, one of the raccoons stood up, smelled the air, and proceeded to turn and come at me in almost a full sprint. I guess someone loves peanut butter as much as I do. I literally had to stand up and scare him to death before he almost crawled into my lap looking for the source of that wonderful smell.
Once that excitement settled down, I had three deer drift in from my right side. They were nearly on top of me before I noticed they were coming in. Once they got to feeding next to my decoys, I gave out a couple of turkey yelps with my mouth call. They were very confused as to why that tree was making turkey noises. After a half hearted attempt to run away and a few snorts of worry, they decided I was still a tree and went back to feeding with the decoys until I did it again. After a long stare down, they decided they weren’t quite sure what I was and opted to be safe instead of sorry and headed out in another direction.
Shortly after that thrill, I was visited by three jakes that were looking for some quick action. One responded to my turkey yelps with a very juvenile gobble and then they all three came running in an attempt to be the first to woo a potential new girlfriend. I decided to give them a free pass on life and opted to wait for something older and more challenging and they eventually got bored of the no action and moved off. I’ve harvested enough turkeys in my life that I don’t need to settle on a jake so early in the season.
The morning ended with a passing hen that gave us no mind as she meandered through the field. It was getting on into the morning and I had other things that needed tended to, so I called it a day. No old long beard came to visit me. Never even heard one. But it was still a great opening day. I had a blast without shooting my gun. I didn’t even take it off safety, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. My morning was full of entertainment and excitement and it will be one that I will remember for a long time.
• Ohio’s youth wild turkey hunting season ended Sunday, April 18, with 1,473 birds harvested by young hunters, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Youth hunters 17 years old or younger enjoyed mostly mild temperatures and dry conditions during the two-day season.
Participants in the youth season were required to be accompanied by a non hunting adult. As of April 18, the Division of Wildlife has issued 6,978 youth wild turkey permits, which can be used throughout the 2021 spring hunting season.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.