In Praise of Fall Turkey Hunting (Blog Seven)
This past Saturday was opening day of the Virginia general firearms season, yet I spent most of the day turkey hunting in Monroe County, West Virginia. As much as I enjoy deer hunting, no autumn pastime means as much to me as pursuing turkeys does.
My first fall turkey hunting escapade was in 1986 when Jim Clay of Perfection Turkey Calls took me afield. Jim called in a trio of jakes, and I became so nervous that I fired at - and missed - all three birds. That humiliation led me to become consumed with how to become a successful turkey hunter - a passion that still continues today.
During my West Virginia outing Saturday, I visited four separate Monroe farms, plus my own land in the Gap Mills area. I walked up and down several mountains, checked for birds in creek drainages and in deep hollows, searched every oak flat that I came across, yet never heard or saw a bird the entire day.
No matter, next Saturday, which will be the last day of West Virginia's season, will once again find me on a Mountain State peak at dawn, where I will be awaiting and hoping for the first tentative yelps and clucks of dawn. If I hear turkey talk on the roost, I will run to the site where I will attempt to scatter the assemblage. Then I will try to call the birds in, using my best kee-kee runs (the sound that the jakes and jennies utter when they have been separated from the main flock). If I am fortunate enough to call in and kill a bird, my family and I will dine on it for Thanksgiving.