Outdoor Notebook: Turkey tales
Springtime outdoor activities heat up
By Roger Sabota
Special to the Star Journal
There is a similarity between fall and spring. In the fall there are numerous activities that interest outdoors people. We have talked during the fall about the activities such as duck and grouse hunting, archery hunting for deer plus the opportunity to fish for a variety of species on lakes where, compared to summer, there is very little fishing pressure
Now, in the spring, there is the opportunity to fish for a variety of different species such as walleyes that have just completed spawning. The crappies are in shallow and should be catchable. Northerns are catchable both with artificial and live bait. As most anglers are aware this year some new regulations are governing how many pan fish an angler may keep on specific waters.
There are two other outdoor activities that may dominate the time spent outdoors. Those who gather maple syrup had a good run this spring, and some hunters who got their permit applications in on time have had the opportunity to hunt turkeys. Some hunters have been successful and others have not.
We had the opportunity to head to the farm country around the Osseo. My hunting and fishing partner, Tom Twesme (The Osseo Jinx) had farmed a large section of land in that area many years ago therefore he is familiar with the farmland and keeps track of where some turkeys might be located.
The first morning Tom and I split up and walked in the dark to an area where we have experienced good turkey hunting in years past.
I dislike getting up early enough to watch the big birds fly down from their roost as daylight takes over for darkness. But I was enjoying listening to several grouse that were drumming. I was unable to see the grouse but thoroughly enjoying their music.
I was brought to attention by a shot.I sat still and listened. After a brief wait Tom’s voice came over the radio. “Hey, Rog. Have you got your ears on?” I responded, “Yes” and Tom replied that he had a big rooster on the ground. He was right. He had a gobbler that weighed well over 20 pounds.
Our method for turkey hunting is to call, trying to entice a gobbler to come in and take a look at our decoys.
We observed some interesting incidents during our weekend of turkey hunting. Tom really enjoys calling turkeys into the decoys.
One day as he was calling a hen turkey came out of the cover on the other side of the field and proceeded to advance toward our decoys. There didn’t seem to be any toms in the area but this hen kept slowly approaching the decoys. She hung around for a while and then headed off the field into the cover of the trees.
Another day a hen came into the decoys clucking and chirping as she walked around and around the decoy. We laughed saying that we had the real hen there calling and even that didn’t bring in any toms that day.
I must confess that on the third day that we hunted I missed a gobbler that came to check out the decoys.
Since we finished our turkey hunting we have talked to a lot of area turkey hunters and then last weekend, while attending the annual convention for the Wisconsin Conservation Congress in Manitowoc I had the opportunity to talk with hunters from all over Wisconsin.
Now that turkey hunting is over it’s my time to concentrate on walleyes. The walleyes are hitting near green beds in six to twelve feet of water. Next weekend I get serious about musky fishing. Enjoy the next few weeks, no matter how the weather turns out.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.