Talking turkey, and bears, and birds
BY ROGER SABOTA
Special to the Star Journal
After returning from Texas to Wisconsin my thoughts have turned from fishing Black Drum to outdoor activities available here. Since deer season has been over for a long time and I don’t ice fish at this time of the year my thoughts have turned to turkey season and some of the hunts from past seasons.
As we left the pick-up early in the morning a faint glow was apparent in the western sky.
Our goal was to shoot a turkey gobbler. We were located in west-central Wisconsin in farm country. Tom Twesme (The Osseo Jinx) was my partner and we were hunting on land he farmed at one time. We walked across a large field and set up our blind and decoy. The blind was a pop-up tent that blended into the brush where we were going to sit.
For each of the past four years Tom has shot a tom turkey from this blind. We were pleased where we were sitting that there were no mosquitoes to bother us.
As we sat in the thick brush we had the privilege of watching three deer that were eating in the field we were watching. The deer appeared to be a doe and two fawns. In the Rhinelander area we had not seen any does with twin fawns that year.
Tom pulled out his turkey call and began calling. It didn’t take long and he had several toms answering him. As we watched a corner of the field we observed a tom strut out onto the field. At the same time a hen turkey appeared on the same field. Of course our hope was to get a shot at the tom we had been watching. The hen turned and walked into the brush followed closely by the tom. Perhaps a half hour later another tom came onto the field. Both of us started calling and the tom literally ran toward our decoy.
The tom was about 20 yards from us challenging the decoy. He seemed to enjoy the last strut he made just prior to the shot that “The Osseo Jinx” made. That was the climax for the first two days of turkey hunting two years ago. My tag was filled on the last day of hunting. I have been turkey hunting for about eight years and seem to like it better each year.
If you are planning to hunt turkeys, as with any shooting sport, be sure of your target. There have been some incidents of hunters being shot as they sat at the base of a tree while waiting for a turkey. Doesn’t seem likely but it happens.
For those who are still interested in obtaining a turkey permit for the spring season all remaining permits for all zones will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday, March 25. Additional information can be found on the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov – key word turkey or call 1-888-936-7463.
I have heard much speculation about bear in the area and whether or not they are still hibernating. After consulting with a local bear expert I can report that at this time most of the bear are still hibernating. There may be a few “teenagers” out running around but the sows with cubs stay in their dens the longest. So if you see a bear in the near future it is probably one of the younger bears.
As we’ve heard from many people, bird feeders attract a variety of critters. The big pileated woodpecker sometimes takes over the feeder if the offerings are to his liking. When deer or bear are in the area they are often attracted to the feeders. Therefore, we are encouraged to take them down at night or risk the destruction of the feeder especially by bear that will usually very roughly bring it to the ground. We’ve seen a variety of ingenious attempts to keep the bears off the bird feeders. Some work some do not.
Longtime Northwoods outdoor enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.