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Here we are, heading into October with yet another opening day on the horizon, this time for wild turkey.
Yep, it’s the same wild turkey you can hunt in the spring, but this time you can harvest birds of either sex and it is a firearms season. It begins Oct. 5 and ends Oct. 30, 1 bird either sex on state land and 2 birds either sex on private land.
Fall archery for wild turkey began Sept. 16 and ends Dec. 31 on private land with a bag limit of two birds. Archery on state land runs until Nov. 19 and then reopens Dec. 25-31, with a bag limit of two birds either sex.
State land bowhunting ONLY allows turkey hunting Sept. 16 to Dec. 31. Hunting hours are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset. You MUST have the proper licenses and permits. (Check your 2019 CT Hunting and Trapping Guide).
For me, hunting wild turkey in the fall was a whole new ballgame. In the spring, you are hunting the male turkey (a.k.a. Tom or Gobbler or Long Beard). Now the female of the turkey family is also on the hunting list, and this is not as easy as it may appear.
My very first fall turkey was taken in Colchester on a piece of private land that I had permission to hunt on. I was actually bowhunting for deer, but this was at a time when turkey hunting was still getting started and, if you had a turkey tag for archery, you could take one.
I was in my treestand when a flock of wild turkeys began feeding toward me. I anxiously waited for them to come within range of my bow, which for me is about 20 yards. I finally picked out the bird I wanted and, when the right time presented itself, Edna and I had our very first wild turkey for Thanksgiving.
Let me tell you, for my money there is no better eating.
My second fall wild turkey came while hunting on our land in New York. Once again, I was bowhunting for deer from a treestand and it began to rain just as it was time to get down out of the stand. Before I did, I saw a small flock of turkeys fly into a tree to roost for the night. I decided that if it was still raining in the morning I would try to get one with my shotgun.
As luck would have it, the rain was coming down, so turkey hunting became No. 1 on my agenda for the morning. I made my way quietly to the roosting tree and flushed the turkeys and, after some calling, lured a hen into range and had my second wild turkey in the Roberts freezer.
I mentioned calling them. This has worked for me a number of times when I knew I was not going to get close enough for a shot. I would make myself visible and rush at them. This would force them into the air and scatter them.
Now, wild turkeys are a species that likes company, so the first thing they do after you flush them is try to get back together. I use a hen call and pretty soon one or two of them will show up.
Over the years I have had pretty good luck hunting fall turkeys, although there was one time I must have looked like a “Keystone Cop” while hunting in New York. It was archery season for deer and shotgun season for wild turkey. It was mid-October and we got a wicked snowstorm that had the critters and your old hunter on the move. My first target was deer, but while I was in my stand a flock of turkeys appeared just out of range of my bow, so I went back to the house and got my shotgun.
There I was, traipsing through eight inches of snow with a shotgun loaded with birdshot, looking for turkey. And what do you think steps out in front of me? If you said a deer, you are right on! Talk about frustrating.
Naturally I could only stand there and watch the deer, a nice four-pointer, walk away.
Now, you would think that I would stay with the shotgun and keep hunting turkey, right? Not this good old boy, I wasn’t about to give up a chance to put my tag on a deer.
So I went back to the house, got my bow and went back into the treestand, and danged if those turkeys didn’t make another appearance.
Talk about Murphy’s Law. Once again they were just out of bow range.
This time, I decided to stay with the bow and the deer hunting, and it would be a nice ending to this tale of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time if I were able to tell you that I finally tagged either a turkey or deer on that snowy October day. The truth is the final score was Deer & Turkey 2, Mike the Hunter 0. But the memories of that day in our great outdoors will be with me forever, and that’s what hunting, fishing and trapping is all about.
And while I am on the subject of hunting, fishing and trapping, did you ever give a thought as to what our outdoor world and, even your own home, might be without them — especially hunting and trapping?
And if some, not all, of these TV commentators would only take the time to learn about the some of the misinformation that they put on the news concerning wildlife and the way it is managed, the wildlife and many of those affected by it would be much better off.
As it is now, we have way too many deer/vehicle incidents because of an over-population of whitetailed deer in many parts of Connecticut. Did you know that a deer herd left to its own can just about double in size each year?
The TV news depicts trapping as a cruel way for an animal to die, yet they never touch on the true horrors and pain suffered by an over-population of animals like raccoons, skunks, possums and coyotes that can become rabid. Do they know that the only way to tell if an animal has rabies is to kill it? And they don’t tell you that these rabid animals can transfer the disease to a human if they bite or scratch them.
Regarding our over-population of black bears here in Connecticut, they show home video clips of black bears in back yards and comment on how “cute” they are. They don’t tell you that over 20 humans have been attacked and some eaten by black bears, but I guess that is not newsworthy.
In closing, where are our state legislators when it comes time to vote in support of our CT DEEP Wildlife Division and their plans to control the over-population of black bears? I ask them: Who wants to be the first victim of a black bear attack or an attack by a rabid wild critter?
Hunting and trapping are the answers, but don’t count on our legislators to support a common sense control like hunting and trapping. That’s it — for now!
See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.