Wow. Just Wow. When I made the deal with my wife that I could go turkey hunting if I could get 100 comments on my Facebook post, I never thought it would actually work out. Neither did she! You all are awesome! Looks like I’ll be turkey hunting this spring. I can’t wait.
The excitement over this new development kept me awake last night as I pictured myself tucked into the base of a tree, calling to a big tom turkey strutting towards me in the early dawn hours of a spring morning in Vermont. Then reality set in and I remembered that I have no idea how to turkey hunt. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t even own a shotgun. I feel so ashamed.
The important thing is that my wife is on board with me spending even more time in the woods. That was the first hurdle to clear, and thanks to you all, it’s been cleared. I may have told her a few untruths along the way, but until I try it I won’t know if they were lies or not. First of all, I told her that I’d hardly be gone at all. That's true, right? From my research, it appears that the majority of turkeys are killed very early in the morning. “Remember that time I went fishing last summer?” I asked her. “I was home with my limit before you and Sam even woke up. I bet it will be just like that.”
I also may have mentioned to her that I have everything I need and won’t need to buy any additional gear. Technically, this is true…I think. I don’t own a shotgun, but I could use my bow if I really wanted to. I don’t have a turkey call, but maybe I could borrow one. Or maybe an unsuspecting manufacturer could misplace their faith in me and send me a free one? And decoy’s? Who needs them.
I’ve been wanting to try turkey hunting for a long time, mostly because every time I mention the word turkey around turkey hunters their eyes get all big and they start drooling like Pavlov’s dog each time he rang a bell. They immediately launch into endless tales of gobbles echoing down a valley at daybreak and tell me that I HAVE TO TRY IT! I feel like I’m missing out on the most amazing experience one can have in the woods. Can it really be that good?
I'll be honest, it’s difficult for me to get over the fact that all turkeys look the same. I mean, each buck I’ve ever shot had a unique set of antlers making it easier to identify in a photo album full of memories. But turkeys? They all look the same. Except for bearded female turkeys, what’s the deal with that? Are they the equivalent of a whitetail doe with antlers? Last year, thirty of them were shot in Vermont. Bearded females? That sounds like it should be a freak show at Coney Island or a daily occurence in the back hills of Vermont. “Step right up! Two dollars buys you a peek of The Bearded Female!” They aren't only unique to the northeast, however. When I lived in Tennessee I discovered they also have them when I reached for my order of fries at a drive through window. Talk about a hairy experience, but I admit, there is something intriguing about the thought of seeing one. I’d pay money for it. I may even shoot one if given the chance. I've lost track if I'm still talking about turkeys.
There is a lot riding on this first hunt, so I am a bit nervous. If I fail to fill my tag, my wife may question whether my time could be better spent doing more important things. She has these same questions during deer season, but we manage to make it through every year. If I buy a bunch of gear, such as a shotgun, without first discussing the need for it with my wife, she may shoot me with it.
Fortunately, I live in Windsor County which led all of the counties in Vermont with the highest number of turkeys harvested last year (619 birds), so my odds of tagging a bird close to home are as good here as they are anywhere. The 2015 Turkey Harvest report does not specify how many of those were bearded females, however. I find this to be disappointing and a valuable piece of missing information for inexperienced hunters like myself. If I’m to take up turkey hunting, I want to hunt where there are as many bearded turkeys as possible.
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P.S. Let's get something out in the open here - I have an incredible wife and she is such a good sport about my hunting obsession. Somehow, many of you got the impression that I had to ask her for permission to go turkey hunting this spring. Nothing could be be further from the truth! I actually begged her for it.
Love you Sweetie!