For me, it is the memories of outdoor adventures past that mean the most, because after the hunt or fishing trip it is the memories of them that are always there.
My turkey hunting memories could fill a book and it would probably be titled “The Good, and Lessons Learned While Turkey Hunting.” Let me give you a couple of examples.
When I first started to hunt wild turkeys in Connecticut, it was under the lottery system and I was chosen to hunt Skiff Mountain WMA in northern Connecticut. I had watched a couple of turkey hunting videos and even attended a turkey hunting class put on by the Wildlife Division.
This was going to be a “piece of cake.”
I had scouted the area and had a pretty good idea where I would use my very first Connecticut turkey tag. I did get a gobbler to answer my idea of a hen turkey, but he evidently wanted me to come to him.
The thrill of that first answering gobble is stuck in my memory bank forever, and that is the beat part of being a hunter. No video, no photo or outdoor show can take the place of actually being there.
This wary gobbler would not be the last Tom turkey to tease me before I ever filled a Connecticut turkey tag, but being the first made him something special and only fired up my turkey hunting efforts.
There is something extra special about hunting wild turkey in the spring of the year, especially if you are hunting them in a wooded area where the turkey has the advantage. Spring is also the time of the year when the great outdoors come back to life after the dreary days of winter.
Even the scent of the new growth and new buds on the trees puts you into another world, and can even hold some surprises as you head to your chosen turkey stand in the early morning darkness.
One morning I was making my way to my turkey hunting spot on land that we once owned in New York State. As I went under a sapling in the dark, a wild turkey that had been roosting on it took off and put a couple of added years on this old guys life.
One of the most humorous incidents while turkey hunting was caused by a couple of whitetailed deer. It also happened in New York. I had heard a turkey gobble on the ridge above me and decided to see if I could call it down to where I was.
We played the game of me calling and the gobbler answering me back, but not coming in.to my calls. I was just about to move when I saw a doe and a yearling in the woods above me, and they were both staring in my direction.
This made me hold my spot and, before long, the younger deer came closer to give me a good look. It got out in front of me about 20 yards or so and began stamping its foot, trying to make me move.
All this time the gobbler was still calling and it was like a standoff.
I finally moved enough to make the young deer run back to its mother. Then the older deer came down for a look.
This was all happening while the male turkey was gobbling its fool head off trying to get me to come and visit him.
The older doe also began stamping the ground with her hoof trying, as if to ask who or what I was. I could not stand it any more. I stood up and she ran up the hill, taking the younger deer with her and, as luck would have it, they went right through the area where the gobbler was and that was the end of that particular hunt.
As I said earlier, while it is always great to put a tag on whatever game you are hunting, it is the memories of things you have seen and heard while out in the woods.
Another deer incident happened while I was turkey hunting in New York. I was just sitting with my back against a huge tree listening for a turkey to start calling and heard a slight crunching of leaves behind me. I figured it was a squirrel or chipmunk.
Was I ever wrong. The head of a doe came around the tree I was leaning against.
That deer was so close to me I could have reached out and touched it. I had one of those push-button calls in my hand and gave it a call. That deer almost jumped out of its skin as it ran off.
As you sit in the early morning darkness, you get a chance to see and listen to the many wonders nature has to offer if you take the time to seek them. First, it will be a couple of crows that will break the silence of the morning. If you are lucky, you might even get to hear an owl doing some hooting.
Some of the local songbirds will serenade you and, as the magical half hour before sunrise approaches, you might even hear a couple of hens roosting in the trees around you starting their morning chatter.
And then the booming gobble of the local boss Tom will get your undivided attention and the turkey hunt is on.
Spring turkey hunting in Connecticut starts April 27 and ends May 28. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset, with a bag limit of five bearded turkeys on both private land and state land, or a combination of both. Get out there and make some memories!
See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.