Posted under That's Life Columns
Turkey Season Starts Tomorrow
By Ted Hickman, Outdoor Editor
(Pictured is me and our granddaughter, Kaylee, with her first turkey a couple of years ago)
Yep, this Saturday the pilgrim in many of us will take hold and we’ll dress up like its Halloween with full camo, get out our shotguns (that we just put away from duck/pheasant seasons) and hunt the big and wary California Wild Turkey (not the one you drink). Many will be in the fields and wooded areas Saturday way before sunrise and sit in their secluded spot that has been thoroughly vetted for turkeys.
As one sits in the chilly dark and moist mooring air twilight begins to creep into the area chasing away night. Suddenly you begin to hear chirping, purring and the loud gobble that sends chills through your already cold body. The sound is coming from nearby trees where birds as big as 10 to 15 to 20 pounds have spent the night. They are announcing their wake up and sending messages to each other. Then you hear the loud flapping of wings and then birds on the ground with soft clucks and loud gobbles coming from several directions. You get your call ready and start making purring and clucking hen sounds hoping to lure one of the horney gobblers within gun range (you’re right in the middle of breeding season). They can’t use camouflage as a defense so they are blessed with keen hearing and sight. Their survival rate is incredible since they have huge clutches of eggs, family raise them as a group and they have few effective predators around here.
Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere appears a big tom turkey with his tail feathers spread out like a fan and he’s doing a weird little turkey trot/dance. He hears your call and slowly migrates towards your position and decoys. He’s just about in range and you put your shotgun sight right on the big bird’s head and then a rabbit runs between you and your prize and scares the crap out of both of you. You no longer have a clean kill shot, he lets out a warning yelp and everything goes to pot in just seconds.
The weeks of scouting, practicing your calls, getting your equipment ready and just waiting for opening day just went up in a poof of smoke… Well, there’s always tomorrow and as most people in this area know there are more and more turkeys around Dixon and this area than ever before. Culling their numbers is important because they are encroaching more and more on populated areas causing both concern and damage. They can even be a danger to humans during breeding season with sharp spurs that can seriously injure humans, especially little humans that might think big bird is cute.
The limit as shown below is from the Ca. fish and game code and means you can take one each year with a visible beard and three birds combined during spring and fall seasons. The second turkey Kaylee shot was a bearded hen… at the time we didn’t even know hens had beards… but it was legal. You can see the beard on the tom in her lap.
|Spring||General||Mar 25 – April 30, 2017||1 bearded||3 per season, combined|
|Archery Only||May 1 – May 14, 2017|
|Additional Junior||Mar 18 – 19, 2017 &
May 1 – 14, 2017