By Leon Archer
We are only 18 days away from the opening of turkey season, and for many hunters, this is the most popular hunting season of the year.
About 100,000 hunters take to the woods in search of the big toms during the month of May, and I’m one of them.
Next spring, my grandson, Nathaniel, will be 12 and a legal hunter; I’m going to try to infect him with the bug as well.
Now that the weather has warmed up, I’m sure hunters are starting to check the fields and woods to see where they may want to be when the sun comes up May 1.
Last year, hunters in Oswego County harvested 532 turkeys during the spring season, but the harvest was greater in a number of other counties.
The largest recorded number of turkeys taken in Oswego County came in 2008. Hunters bagged 995 of the big gobblers that spring. That may sound like a lot, but hunters in Steuben County took home 1,543 birds in the 2008 season while Chautauqua County took the crown with a total of 2,016 bearded turkeys.
The year 2008 was also a big year for total spring harvest statewide. A total of 32,936 turkeys were taken in the spring of that year, compared with 21,515 taken in 2013.
While recent numbers have been lower than in the peak years, they appear to be edging back up from the low of 18,738 in 2011.
It remains to be seen what this spring will bring after our snowy winter and bitter cold. Turkeys fare pretty well during the winters as long as they can locate food enough to sustain them.
I would be very interested in hearing from turkey hunters on their observations and the results of their time in the field. I would especially like to know the relative number of turkeys you heard and saw as compared to other years.
If you have a good story, share it with me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I really like to hear from readers. I got several responses to my request for information from trappers. They have been cruising the last two years. I envy them.
If you have a youngster who wants to hunt, I can’t think of a better way to start them out than on a spring turkey hunt; although a fall squirrel hunt after the leaves have fallen is pretty high on my list of beginning hunter activities.
Take a youngster with you, even if they aren’t old enough to actually hunt yet. As Yogi Berra once said, “you can learn a lot by watching.”
Keep me posted, and if you have a picture you would like me to use, send it with your email.
I heard from a fishing buddy a few days ago. He said the small streams in Oswego County were pretty much unfishable on the opener, but that the streams in Onondaga were reachable and water levels were fishable, but cold.
The trout weren’t biting all that well, but if one kept at it long enough it was possible to catch a fish or two. I guess it would probably have been better to just fish Salmon River for the steelhead.
I like catching fish, but I am exhilarated by just being out on the stream. It may be cold and the fish may be reluctant, but what a beautiful, vibrant scene greets one’s eyes.
Anyone who comes home disappointed by their day if they caught no fish, doesn’t understand fishing. Have a great spring, and think turkeys.