Thursday, May 3, 2007

Opening Day, New Hampshire Spring Gobbler

Sure, NH's spring turkey youth weekend just passed (mentored hunters took 12% of the statewide kill last spring), but that's barely a blip on the hunting radar to this dad whose kid loves to fish. Today was the real deal . . . at least in concept.

It's all pretty much good in the turkey woods, even if the birds are quiet, and the New England blackflies are staging their return (though they seemed a bit dazed by it all at my various setups). For the uninitiated, a setup is where a turkey hunter decides to plant his/her butt on the chance that they (1) have just had a bird answer their calling, or (2) they think the place looks prime for a bird to answer their calling if they sit down, settle in, and make some turkey talk. I did the latter most of the morning.

The spot pictured here is on the same field edge where I tagged NH gobblers in '92, '93, and '94. Primed by nostalgia, I thought it might be interesting to see if I might work a bird there all this time later (no gray hairs back then, friends; no parenthood). Well, a tufted titmouse or two, and several black-capped chickadees checked out my every move, but not a single turkey took interest.

Around mid-morning, I took a long slow walk toward the next field through the woods, found some fairly fresh turkey tracks, and some droppings that indicated, well, that some birds were still around all these years later. Never worked a gobbler, but the antidote is coming in the form of Wyoming . . .

(Steve Hickoff photo/text)