Outdoors

The past couple weeks I have been getting up at dawn and laying some leather down while preseason scouting for spring gobblers in Chautauqua County woodlots.

This past week I was set up just inside a woodline overlooking a freshly plowed field. Now it’s been some time since my alarm hasn’t gone off before 4 a.m. and on occasion I have found myself dozing off while I am nice and comfortable in my pop-up blind.

Doing these preseason scouting trips I have yet to touch a call, but I have been able to watch turkeys respond to a new-style decoy I recently received.

While attending an outdoors writers gathering last fall, I was approached by a gentleman, who to be polite, looked no more like a turkey hunter than my 98-year-old grandmother.

As I am always one to listen to whatever is the latest and greatest in the outdoor industry, I listened with curiosity to this fellow as he showed off his new turkey decoy. It seems this decoy can actually record turkey vocalizations. While this doesn’t seem that exciting, this particular decoy, so claims the maker, will translate turkey talk into English.

Well, wasn’t sold on this new concept, to say the least, but being a sucker for anything new I ordered one of the prototypes. Earlier this year I received a shipment with the fancy decoy. After spending hours attempting to understand the directions (I should have taken that engineering course in school), I felt comfortable enough to set up my new decoy and let it do its thing.

While this particular unit isn’t the easiest of decoys, it weighs about 70 pounds with a 6-volt battery adding another 10 pounds, it wasn’t designed for old men like me to carry very far. I did find local turkeys enjoyed my decoy’s company. In fact, I have gathered some interesting data.

Now remember, I haven’t had much sleep lately and when that happens I have a tendency to not think clearly.

It seems that, according to the rumor mill in the local turkey woods, the cold, wet spring has kept the majority of birds for the most part in their winter flocks. While some jakes and 2-year-olds are beginning to strut their stuff, the hens are saying they aren’t quite ready to begin looking for their spring dance partners.

What also was interesting, according to my new fancy decoy, od it is being told that mature males are ready to compete for their first dance partner. Also, it seems that the jakes are beginning to feel the pressure of older birds and soon will break off on their own to look for new girlfriends.

Of course, this is all just rumors, according to my new fancy decoy.

With Mother Nature spitting snow one day, a full moon the next night and major rains the other days, the spring woods are a little behind schedule. Here again, this is all just chitchat going on amongst the turkeys.

There also seems to be a bunch of talking going on in the roost in the morning, but not much on the ground from what data I received from the fancy decoy. The birds are on edge, because of the coyotes are running around. The birds seem to be very nervous about “dogs” and have quickly learned that the louder they talk the more chance they have of being chased by these critters with fur.

According to the chatter of my decoy, after the “big moon” passes, the spring dance will begin to pick up. The mature gobblers will hook up with mature hens first and then they will be off to find their next partner.

While my fancy decoy may not be everything that the maker had hoped for, from a spring turkey hunter that has not enjoyed a full night’s sleep in weeks and has an inclination to snooze in the woods, at the dinner table, standing up or just about anywhere, it makes for an interesting story.

Enjoy your opening morning of the 2013 spring turkey and always remember your target and what lays beyond before you touch the trigger.