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The Excitement of Turkey Hunting Season
Excitement is in the air, and it’s not just the pollen, the North Carolina Spring wild turkey season begins April 11th, as I am reminded every day. Whether it’s by my sixteen year old practicing his turkey vocalizations, with his purrs and cackles that I’m hearing or the early morning stirring of the men in my house going out to scout the woods for the first gobble of the season, it is extremely apparent that the quest for one of the most magnificent game birds is right around the corner.
Youth Season Starts First
The youth season actually begins on April 4th with the much anticipated youth week. This week is set aside so an experienced licensed hunter may take a youth under the age of sixteen, with the proper permit, to possibly shoot his first wild turkey. A few restrictions are in place dealing with the turkeys and the youngsters such as, it must be a male or other bearded bird. However, they have all week to get the pick of the flock.
For some reason Turkey season, maybe because it’s the first Spring hunting season around here, is laced with a high level of anticipation, excitement, tradition and bonding. It brings about a spirit of togetherness that starts with teaching each other to call and then later to shoot. My sixteen year old seems to be most excited this year to call a turkey in for his 13 year old brother and they have talked (and yelped and clucked) non-stop about it for weeks now.
It’s the Experience That Keeps You Coming Back
Hunting a wild turkey is all about the experience. It’s almost bone chilling to hear those thundering gobbles and then realizing that’s exactly what you desire to hear most. Sometimes the sounds are enough to send you home, without a bird, but with a satisfaction of knowing you were out there in their territory witnessing a magnificent creature in his environment and discovering just how challenging it can be to even get that close. Wild turkeys, unlike their domestic counterparts, are intelligent and deserve a great deal of respect for their keen sense of territorial precautions. Often when alarmed the wild turkeys’ agility is astounding, especially for such a large bird, most certainly leaving many a hunter dumbfounded by the ease of his escape.
Males Will be Males
Because the breeding season of the wild turkey coincides with the hunting season, the male can be fooled by the manufactured sound of the call of another tom, allowing his desire for a mate to fog his vision and allowing you to take advantage of his vulnerability. While he thinks he’s defending his territory and struts to fight you off of his hen, you might get the chance to trick him. But, it’s not easy to fool a turkey, even with the best of calls, you need experience and as most turkey hunters like to explain, it is an art.
As with all hunting seasons it is best to check your state and local regulations for when and where you can hunt wild turkey. There are limits on how many turkeys can be bagged (2 per season in North Carolina) and other local regulations that require permits and such. Always be careful and have fun discovering the wild turkey in your area whether you can hunt them or not.