It’s November! Turkey Day Approaches!
There are many states that have ‘weighed in’ on the fact that the turkey harvest has improved by leaps and bounds. Even the increase in fall firearms sales has added confirmation that the elusive, (and delicious, by the way), turkey is ripe for the picking.
It was the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) that recorded a harvest of “8,498 turkeys during the fall firearms turkey season from Oct. 1st through the 31st,” which was a twenty-percent increase. In other words, hunters are almost assured that the turkey will be dead center (no pun intended) on everyone’s Thanksgiving table this year.
For all the states that have been completely encouraged by the wild turkey harvest, it is also a fact that they are just as adamant about making sure that the turkey population is maintained in ALL suitable habitats. In this 2012 ‘world circus’ that consists of tragic storms, housing developments, and more – states are also developing long-range plans when it comes to managing and improving wildlife numbers and habitat growth for the turkeys, as well as others.
In fact, when speaking about the state of Tennessee, certain areas of the state experienced tremendous turkey population growth this season; but the battle between the popularity of the turkey and the concerns about turkey depredation in some regions have created new challenges concerning turkey management. It was even shown that large numbers of turkeys appearing in certain parts of the state have brought about conflict. Therefore, tougher issues have arisen causing the state to work harder spreading positive thoughts as to the amazing worth of the wild turkey.
As with all wildlife, in various states and/or regions of each state, there can be an overwhelming herd, whereas in a region just north or south the same animal can be practically extinct in numbers. So it comes as no surprise that restoration efforts of habitats that will provide huntable prey are continuing in full-force. .
The turkey, however, is a ‘favorite’ of many, and it’s also the one standing in the spotlight now that the holiday season approaches. Let’s face it – no offense to a small percentage of the population – but that Thanksgiving turkey is something that most families dream about all year long. So this is one ‘gift’ that must be taken care of.
Fall turkeys – with the exception of attempting to NOT be one of the ones that end up on the holiday menu – want nothing more than to eat. And with the clocks being rolled back and the chill entering the air, they know that winter is coming and that food will soon be slim. Every ounce of body mass they take on is essential to get them through the winter months; fat reserves must be built, which doesn’t really help their goal of survival because once the local hunter knows what they like and where they’re ‘coming to dinner,’ all they have to do is simply wait the turkey out.
The actual feeding patterns of the autumn flocks change throughout the ‘leaf-peeking’ months, so being able to be flexible is something that every hunter needs to deal with. From meadows and hayfields in the early fall to the cornfields after the frost has kicked in and destroyed the turkey’s first meal choice, hunters need to follow along and basically have patience. They can sit along the turkey’s travel route through the chosen field and spend their extra quiet time thinking about how delicious the Thanksgiving leftovers are in sandwich form.
The advice most often given is to hunt the turkey’s food sources during the morning or late afternoon for the best results. And if boredom becomes too much, you can always ‘bone up’ on your turkey vocabulary – what most hunters refer to as clucks or putts. (The funny part here, is that the turkeys probably refer to our noises as clucks and putts, wondering why exactly we make those silly sounds in the first place.)
But for the diehard turkey hunter, you can learn all about the clucks and putts at (http://www.rayeye.com). Here is where Ray Eye – the master of turkey hunting – has a book called the “Turkey Hunter’s Bible,” which explains in-depth what clucks and putts are all about.
In the end, have respect for the wild turkey and all the states that are doing their absolute best to increase and maintain healthy flocks throughout the year…just so you and yours can have a very Happy Thanksgiving! …Even if it’s not so happy for the bird.