Turkey Season Wrap Up
Do to the nature of my schedule my last weekend of turkey hunting was the 18th and 19th. I was in Otsego County, NY hunting a location I have hunted many times before. At 4:30 I was set up and ready to go. Birds were gobbling and yelping from the roost which I found a bit surprising; usually there is not that much activity by this time in the season. I shot at a tom at about 5:45 and suffered my first turkey hunting miss ever. I estimated range at 35-40 yards which is as far as my full-choked Remington will shoot. After the birds had flown off I looked things over and concluded the shot was closer to 50 yards. This is the problem with hunting over a field; there are no markers by which to estimate range.
Later that morning I tried walking and calling for a bit then set up some decoys and called fairly aggressively while scratching my hand in the leaves to imitate a turkey browsing for food. I saw one hen around 11:30.
On the morning of the 19th I was set up in the same place at sunrise. I heard what I assume was the same bird gobbling and definitely heard one fly down. I never heard or saw them on the ground. Not sure where they went but by 7:30 my posterior had had all it could stand so I cautiously stood up, collected my calls and moved on. I happened on a tom that was in a pasture. Fortunately he didn’t see me and I dropped to a crouch by a tree. I called to him and he came in after several minutes. Sadly I did not see him as he moved in. I looked to my left and there he was, in gun range standing behind a log, just his head, neck and fanned tail visible. I couldn’t get the gun on him without spooking him. His hens showed up shortly after and they all moved off together.
The late morning activity was slow with a lone hen spotted at 10:00 and a pair of jakes around 11:45. They weren’t interested in my decoys or calls. Oh well. I’m not sure I could have gotten them to cover enough ground to get within gun range in 15 minutes anyway.
The consensus seems to be that the season was ok but not great. Birds were active but a bit unpredictable. The weather fluctuations may have played a role in this. From previous year’s experience the late season usually is not very productive but due to some unseasonably cool weather in the middle of the month there seemed to be more gobbling and mating activity. What do the other hunters think? Was this year better or worse than usual?