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Saturday, April 30, 2016

West Virginia Gobbling in the Flog (Blog 292)

This morning I went to a mountaintop in West Virginia's Monroe County to turkey hunt.  The air was heavy with moisture and a dense fog shrouded the mountain, so I was worried that the toms would not be gobbling.

Instead, well before dawn, a tom sounded off to my barred owl call and then three more longbeards chimed in.  The gobbling went on for quite some time, but eventually stopped but not the fog.  The murk continued until well after 9 and even then did not entirely lift. I never saw a turkey.

That is until I walked back to my vehicle where a gobbler was feeding nearby.  Of course, I spooked him.  I am thinking of taking  a half day personal day from school on the next clear morning.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

West Virginia Turkey Hunting (Blog 291)

This morning I drove to a mountain in Monroe County, West Virginia to turkey hunt, and, unfortunately, as I feared would be the case at this stage of the season, the gobblers were all henned up. I used to bemoan the fact that I couldn't convince gobblers to answer me after they flew down from the roost, but, now, I understand why this is typically the case in this part of April.

The three toms I heard at sunrise never gobbled on the ground.  Later in the morning, I was hoping that they would start up again, but the wind was howling on the mountain, and I probably would not have heard them if they had gobbled after 10:00.

Still, it was an interesting day afield.  I heard my first scarlet tanagers, worm-eating warblers, and yellow-throated vireos of the spring.  In a few days, I expect to hear my first yellow-billed cuckoo.

And in about a week when more of the hens have gone to the nest, I expect a gobbler will come charging in one morning.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday Morning in the Virginia Turkey Woods (Blog 290)

After tagging out in Virginia last Sunday, I looked forward all week to not toting a shotgun and taking friend Doak Harbison back to the same Franklin County farm - and woodlot - where I found three gobblers sounding off, one of which ended up riding home with me.

I promised Doak that we would at least have two toms rumbling in the pre-dawn, instead we heard nine separate toms gobbling.  For over an hour, the toms entertained us, as did numerous hens.  We estimated that were over 20 turkeys within 200 yards of us.

With all that cacophony, I opted to stay put until 8:30, but it was evident at that time that the turkeys had deserted us.  We moved deeper into the forest and heard two more gobblers, both of which came partially in over the course of the next 80 minutes or so but would not fully commit.

Although we never actually saw a turkey, the morning was still an interesting one as I heard my first prairie warbler and ovenbird of the year.  Now, I am looking forward to heading for West Virginia next Saturday.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Virginia's Opening Weekend of Spring Gobbler Season (Blog 289)

Saturday, opening day of Virginia's spring gobbler season, found me in a woodlot bordering an alfalfa field in Franklin County.  The up to 40-mph winds buffeted my decoy and me about, and the only turkey seen all morning was a lonesome jake.

Sunday found me back at the same farm but I opted to hunt a different section of the farm where I had seen lots of sign during pre-season scouting.  It was the right call because I called in and killed a nice two-year-old tom.

With my two turkeys back in the fall, I am now tagged out in Virginia and look forward to taking other people in Virginia and hunting in West Virginia.  The older I become, the more I enjoy not bringing a gun and trying to help other people be successful. In fact, friend Doak Harbison and I have already planned a trip to the Franklin County farm next Saturday.