Ah … spring! The season of green, new growth, rejuvenation from winter doldrums combined with great gobbling sounding all around. Add it all up and you’ve got spring turkey season in Texas. It’s time to take on some toms!
Well, it is if you’re in the right place at the right time.
Spring turkey hunting is not the easy hunt some folks would have you believe. Plenty of hunters get gobbler fever, just as deer hunters get buck fever. Hearing an ear-splitting gobble only a few feet away or witnessing the grand waltz of a lovelorn tom as the sun brilliantly illuminates the gold, bronze, brown and black feathers contrasting the vivid red-and-blue head against a sea of bright spring green can excite even a veteran turkey hunter. Possibly that’s what causes the dreaded shakes.
The rituals of spring are vast and varied across the Lone Star State. Texas being Texas, pursuing turkeys after other seasons have closed is just one rite of spring that continues to grow in popularity each year. The challenge, as well as simply being outdoors, is only two reasons to go after spring gobblers.
And new for 2012, bearded hens may also be taken during the spring season. Hens have been legal game in many counties in fall for decades.
Don’t be fooled by what some experts say. Yes, turkeys have very keen hearing and sharp eyesight, but when it comes to love anything is possible, even in spite of a few hunter mistakes.
Whether you are a novice turkey hunter or seasoned gobbler chaser, pursuing an amorous tom turkey can be quite an adventure — regardless of the outcome. Keep reading to see what you might be missing. Perhaps you will simply recall some great turkey hunting memories of your own.
RELATED: How To Score Your Toms
A group of veteran turkey hunters was comparing notes after an unsuccessful morning hunt when two novice hunters arrived at camp. Dressed in blue jeans, white shirts, cowboy hats and boots, the pair proudly showed off their brand new slate call freshly purchased at Wallyworld. Suddenly a gobble came from a nearby dry creekbed.
Grabbing shotguns, two lanky cowboys galloped across an open field to settle in a small brush clump. Sticking out bigger than Dallas, a screech from the pair’s new call similar to fingernails scratching a blackboard made the seasoned hunters laugh, swear and shake their heads. A bold gobble louder than the first one answered back.
A few more pitiful calls, another gobble and Ka-Boom!
The pair of cowpokes ran whooping and hollering toward a pile of flopping feathers to gain the last laugh. The other hunters could not believe what had just happened, but were firsthand witnesses to the entire show.
The moral of the story: Never discount beginner’s luck!
Claytie had hunted many species in his 30-plus-year hunting career, but never a wild turkey. Red had successfully taken many spring gobblers and wanted Claytie to experience the thrill and excitement of such a hunt. Their friend Boss, quite the proficient turkey caller, agreed to guide them one gorgeous spring day on a bluebonnet-laden ranch.
It was agreed beforehand that Claytie would shoot the first bird. In short order Boss had a longbeard on its way to them. As the sun broke the horizon, a huge gobbler in full strut stepped out to strum and twirl with tail fully fanned. The brilliant colors, sounds and movements were a thrill to behold.
The glorious sight was overwhelming to the novice Claytie. At the top of his lungs he exclaimed, “LOOK AT THAT TURKEY!”
Of course it instantly disappeared. Claytie quickly apologized for the mess up, promising to control himself on the next turkey while continuing to remark over and over that he’d never seen anything so amazing.
To make a long but interesting story short, Boss called in five more gobblers in separate locations without a single shot fired by either hunter. Claytie’s movements and/or noise along with a cornucopia of excuses followed every gobbler departure. Red’s reasoning was she wanted Claytie to get his first bird ever.
In a fit of disgust seeing the sixth long beard quickly exit, Boss told his no-shooting friends that he quit. Leading the way back to the jeep Boss suddenly yelled “SNAKE” as he jumped 4 feet into the air. He had actually stepped on and rolled over a huge diamondback but the thick official Lone Star State flowers saved him for being bitten.
The moral of the story: Hunt in tall, thick flowers if not wearing snake boots and carry a shotgun even if guiding so someone bags a gobbler!
At dawn the very next day a strong southerly wind raced across the same ranch. Boss had recovered somewhat from his anger over calling in six fine gobblers for his no-shooting friends and his startling heart-attack snake encounter. He didn’t like the wind so declined to guide anyone but encouraged Red and Claytie to go out on their own. Red opted to stay in camp and cook a late breakfast.