Events for Turkey Hunters and Fishermen on the Calendar!

 

Me and an Osceola Gobbler. Ready to make some new turkey pictures on March 15th!

 

As we say “farewell to February” most all of us turkey hunting addicts are honing our calling skills, scouting our hunting tracts for turkey signs, doing a little bit of off season feeding to keep the turkey interested in our place more than our neighbor’s place and marking off the days until the opening morning of the spring season in 16 days.

However, for those who have a young hunter they want to take to the spring woods for an early season turkey hunt, the opportunity is there next weekend, March 8th is a great event for “youngsters only” to pull the trigger on a big Alabama gobbler! I plan to take my granddaughter for a round of “Tom chasin” over in west Alabama on our family’s place in Greene County. If we get one or not will be secondary to how much fun we will have spending time together in the Turkey woods!

Other events happening for turkey enthusiasts is the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Hunting Heritage Banquets that are taking place around Alabama in the next few weeks. We just had ours in Elmore county last night at the Wetumpka Civic Center and it was a great evening where the folks around Elmore county showed up to enjoy a live auction, silent auction, raffles and door prizes galore all to raise money for the great cause of wild turkey preservation, conservation, and Habitat improving to benefit all types of wildlife across our state and country. If you hunt turkeys you should be a member of the NWTF! Click here to find out more and to locate a banquet schedule in case you want to be counted in the number of folks who are making a difference for the wild turkey! http://www.nwtf.org/alabama/  Montgomery chapter banquet is next week! Find out more details on the link above!

Come Join the fun at the AWF Fishing event March 15th,16th ~postoak~

The AWF is holding a great Fishing event on March 15th and 16th at Lanark!

Come out to the Alabama Nature Center in Millbrook March 15-16, for a special Fishing Weekend. Enjoy catch and release fishing for catfish and bream in the Upper Pond and for bass and bream in the Bullfrog Pond.

“The spring weather is a great time for the public to fish in Alabama Nature Center’s well stocked ponds. Fishing is one of those activities that’s fun for the whole family,” said Elizabeth Johnson, Alabama Nature Center Community Education Coordinator.

The Alabama Nature Center will be open to the public Saturday, March 15, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, March 16, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. All visitors of the Alabama Nature Center must check in at the Pavilion Outpost located inside the Lanark Pavilion before fishing or hiking the trails. General Admission is $4 per person/per day for adults, $2 per person/per day for ages 4 to 12, and children under 3 are free. A limited number of fishing poles will be available for $2 a day as well as a limited amount of bait for a small fee. Water, soft drinks, and snacks will be available for purchase.

The Alabama Nature Center, which includes five miles of nature trails and boardwalks that traverse a variety of forests, fields, streams, wetlands, and ponds, can be found at Lanark, just a few miles north of Montgomery and less than two miles from Interstate 65. Lanark is the State Headquarters of the Alabama Wildlife Federation and the former estate of benefactors Isabel and Wiley Hill.

The Alabama Nature Center, a hands-on outdoor education facility located at Lanark in Millbrook, Alabama, is a joint project of the Alabama Wildlife Federation and benefactors Isabel and Wiley Hill. The Lanark property, State Headquarters for the Alabama Wildlife Federation, contains 350 acres of striking forests, fields, streams, wetlands and ponds that are traversed by five miles of trails and boardwalks including a tree top viewing platform. The Alabama Nature Center hosts a variety of outdoor education programs including Lanark Field Days events for youth and school groups, Expedition Lanark Summer Day Camp for children aged  5 – 15, and monthly weekend events for the general public.For more information about the Alabama Nature Center and the Alabama Wildlife Federation, call 334-285-4550 or visit www.alabamawildlife.org.

 

 

 

Pre-season Scouting For Turkeys

A 2013 Gobbler and Me! I am ready for 2014 Spring Turkey Season! ~Post Oak~

If you want to have success in the spring turkey woods you have got to do some planning of your hunting strategies, practice ALOT with your various turkey calls and maybe the toughest part, do some dilligent scouting!

Tomorrow morning I am headed out to scout a large tract of property where I have a turkey hunting membership and I have only been on it twice last fall! Talk about a need to scout! I will get my old four wheeler filled up with non-ethanol gas and trailer it down to the property on the Montgomery County, Pike County line and spend a large portion of the day just riding across the property to get “the lay of the land”.

Just being familiar with the land is a big advantage to help you understand where a gobbler is calling from such as the roost at dawn. If you know the way the ridges and valleys run it can help you out -flank a gobbler and get to a strut zone or green field before he shows up, If he is vocal coming off the roost and continues to gobble for hens on his way to his favorite “strutting and displaying” spot in the morning.

For some gobbler that is the end of a ridge where his gobbles will carry down several valleys to alert hens to “come see him.” Some gobblers will choose a spot in a greenfield or an old log landing clearing, or a stretch of dirt road, especially if there is a long staight section with a ridge he can be seen on. There is such a road and ridge where I have been hunting the past few years and every spring there will be a gobbler that stakes that spot out as his favorite strut zone. It has proven to be a deadly spot for me and I have taken several old Toms down who were ”the king of that hill”.

Trail cameras with some food out in front of them are excellent ways to determine where the Toms are, especially on small green fields or logging roads. Just be sure the feed is gone 14 days prior to the start of season which is March 15th.  If you plan to participate in the Youth hunt on March 7th adjust your feeding accordingly to not be breaking the law!

Below is an interesting article from the NWTF about how hunting is under tremendous pressure both politically and just due to habitat loss for all birds every year! Please consider joining the NWTF, DU, Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever as they use their collective resources to help save our outdoor habitats for great American Games Birds such as the Wild turkey!

Post Oak

Four of the nation’s largest wild bird conservation organizations have joined forces to ensure that wild bird habitat conservation and our shared hunting heritage remain strong for generations to come. Ducks Unlimited (DU), the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the goal of furthering sporting traditions across North America.“By entering into this unique partnership, we will be able to reach more than 1 million conservation supporters throughout North America,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “This MOU is the first step to ensuring our hunting heritage remains strong. I look forward to working with each organization and I know that together we can accomplish great things.”

The goals of the partnership will be achieved through the support of an engaged and growing community of sportsmen and women and other outdoor enthusiasts, including the members and supporters of the partner organizations, who all share similar visions.

“We’re losing 6,000 acres of habitat every day. Hunters fund conservation but now we’re at the point where less than 10 percent of the American population hunts, so the funding source is going away,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “We know we can’t solve this alone. It’s bigger than one organization.”

This historic partnership also takes cooperation to an entirely new level, proving that conservation organizations aren’t always competitors. Rather, this MOU shows how separate organizations can come together to achieve common goals.

Combined, these organizations have helped conserve more than 30 million acres of wildlife habitat, and through this partnership, shared conservation goals will be achieved more efficiently.

“In the face of the most rapid loss of wildlife habitat in modern times, it simply makes sense for our organizations to team up wherever possible,” explains Howard Vincent, President & CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “From our local chapters holding youth mentor hunts to state land acquisition projects, our goal is to accomplish more for current and future generations of bird hunters as partners in conservation.”

For more information about the partnership visit www.ducks.org, www.nwtf.org or www.pheasantsforever.org.

 

 

Turkey Season Memories

 

Post Oaks Spur Collection

My Granddaughter asked me this morning, “pop pop when did you kill your first turkey?” And I immediately replied, “March 23rd,1963″ as I heard my own reply, the memory stirred somewhere back in my old head and it cranked up like an old Bell&Howell 8 millimeter movie projector, you know the kind that snapped to life and you heard the film crackle aas it lined up across the gears, the white spots came up on screen and then the picture focused and came into view. Not really as clear as reality but, still as sweet as that spring morning.

My dad and I were hunting by way of a boat on the Tombigbee river and we were hunting a small tract of river front owned by a friend. By accessing the property by boat we avoided crossing a large open area of cutover and then a huge cow pasture where it was often the case that we bumped the gobblers off the roost and they either flew across the river or atleast flew far enough away to mess up the morning hunting. Secondly, we had our fishing tackle and planned to crappie fish after our morning hunt!

Daddy had a wooden skiff that he built from some wide Cypress planks and he hand laid fiberglass seams so it was a very sturdy and leak proof boat. The motor was a little 5.5 Johnson Sea Horse that ran so quiet we could slowly ease along the bank without much noise and we paddled the final 200 yards to our landing point along a slate rock point where a small sream flowed into the river. We got out of the boat and stood in the darkness watching for the faint glow of daylight in the east and just enjoyed the magic of dawn.

As the brown thrush birds started to call and hiss, a screach owl screamed and like always the hair on my neck stood up on response to the shrill sound. Then daddy gave out a big “who cooks for you? who cooks for you? who cooks for you alllll?” call of an owl and it was met with only silence. He then did the laughing call whohah! haha! hah! whoallll! and an owl down and across the river gave a sharp response, as did two more owls up the river. But, again no gobbler responded! We walked to the top of the bank and stood there another five minutes in the breaking dawn and then, there it was! The gobble ! daddy told me “there he is! go to him!” so I was off in a flash walking swiftly along the river bank trying to close the distance to where I thought I cound get in close enough to call the gobbler up but not too close to spook him.

I travelled a little more than 300 hundred yards through the beautiful hardwood river bottom and decided I better sit down since it was clearly daylight now and the fly down time was close. I found a huge oak tree and backed up between two root outcropings and slipped on my face mask, pulled my hat down tight and waited, hoping to hear another gobble and shaking with the excitement and anticipation!

However, after 15 minutes I heard nothing so I decided to give a yelp on my “snuff can” yelper that daddy had made for me. Back then, we were taught to yelp a three note yelp and do it twice, not too loudly and then close with a cluck or two. I gave out the yelps but, they were so light I thought “nothing can here that!” and I was contemplating doing the call again but, I heard a distant gobble!  I thought surely he is not answering me! But, I decided to yelp my little 3 note call and when I did, he gobbled again! This time louder and closer! I was so excited! I shoved my snuff can in my jacket pocket and pulled my knees up tight to make a rest aim for my old 12 gauge single barrel, then I cocked it and waited!  In a couple of minutes, he gobbled again and I caught the movement of his head rocking forward! I nearly threw up I was so excited!

He came slowly in to me, walking stiffly, and he would break into a strut every few feet showing out for the two hens that were running around him in circles, putting and purring for him!  I felt like I might pass out! But, I slowly positioned my bead sight on his head and pulled the trigger! BOOM! he tossed over backwards and the two hens shot up in the air and flew off! Then, to my amazement! He got up and flew straight up onto a tree limb! I grabbed another shell from the side pocket of the old army issue camo pants and ran right under the limb he was on! He leaned over and looked straight down at me just as I let the second round go! BOOM! He came tumbling out of the tree like some overgrown squirrel and I was on him like a hunting dog in a charge! I grabbed him up by the neck and let out a squeal of delight!

Turned out, he was just a good gobbling two year old Tom with 1/2 inch spurs and an 8 inch beard. But, he was and still is a trophy in my mind! I have taken lots of big gobblers since that morning in 1963 and many of them I can’t remember the first detail of the hunt. But, that first one was sweet and the next one will be!

Good Gobbler hunting to you!

~POSTOAK~

Countdown to Spring Turkey Season Has Begun!

Hope to find a gobbler with hooks like this one I took in Greene County during the Spring season of 2012! ~postoak~

The deer season is over for most of us except those who live in the southwest part of the state and have a few more days to get that buck. For the rest of us, the focus is now on taking a fun squirrel or rabbit hunt. If you got a good bird dog and can find some quail, either wild or pen raised, then you can have some good afternoons trying to hit those little “feathered rockets.” If that is not a hunt you care to do, then hog hunting or predator hunting are two great sports for February.

A good friend at church this morning was showing me some video of a hog hunt he participated in yesterday where the outfitter has trained hog dogs who will catch the hog and hold it until it can be dispatched with a quick stick from a large knife. That is not for me! I do not want to be that close to an angry hog with a big set of tusks! He found out how quick things can turn as he attempted his first “pig stick” when he got a look at his boot later and found a big rip clean through it that barely missed his leg! He said he felt the pig when it snapped at him but, it was so quick he did not even know he had been nearly cut!

My weekend hunting was interrupted by my 40th wedding anniversary, so I hung out with my sweet wife and each year I am reminded of how smart I was 41 years ago to suggest a February wedding! I considered that February is between hunting seasons, is viewed by the ladies as a month with romantic implications, and my birthday is a couple of weeks after my anniversary. So, If I forgot an anniversary (which I have not) then I figured she would forgive me by the time my birthday arrived! I may have planned poorly for somethings, but I did good on this one!

Spurs like these are what us turkey hunters want to see after we make the shot to take that old gobbler down! We call these Hooks! ~Post Oak~

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I am a confessed turkey addict! If I had to make a choice between deer hunting and turkey hunting that would be a hands down, slam dunk, easy choice! Turkey hunting wins by a mile! So, my focus yesterday started with cleaning and unsticking the reeds on my diaphragm calls, sanding and chalking my box calls and practice on all of them, as well as my owl call, crow call, and “Haint” gobbler tube. Turkey hunting can be as simple or as complex as you make it. I have hunted with a single shot 12 gauge and 2 shells in my pocket using a short piece of green cane I cut in the woods that morning to make a “hen clucker” and just sit quietly until I heard or saw turkeys and then clucked and light yelped them in via the cane caller. My Grandpa Walter challenged us teenage boys to do that as a testament to how tough it was to kill a turkey when he was a boy in the late 1800s. It made for a very special hunt for us to take a gobbler “pioneer style” and I only did it once in the late 1960s to prove to him that I could have been a good pioneer! One thing is for sure, I would have been a “thin pioneer” as that was some tough hunting! I hunted with the cane caller for 8 mornings before I Finally got a turkey close enough in for a kill shot! He did remind us that they shot hens as well as gobblers since they were trying to find meat for the table and our being limited to gobblers was a great deal tougher to pull off.

Some of my favorite turkey calling "tools" ~Post Oak~

Today, I use a wide variety of turkey calls to entice that gobbler to my position. I use an owl hooter and a crow call to make a gobbler “shock gobble” from the limb or shortly after fly-down so I can locate him and work in close  then call him on in the remaining distance with one of my hen turkey callers. This is of course a “best case scenario” for a morning of turkey hunting in the great Alabama spring woods! There are many things that can and often do wreck the hunt such as other gobblers or hens, coyotes, stray dogs and other hunters. Betwen now and March 15th, I hope to share some of my 50 plus years of turkey hunting with you in a way that just might help you enjoy the spring gobbling season for the Eastern Wild Turkey we are lucky to have in our world!

In the countdown to spring gobbler hunting there is still time to chase some squirrels, rabbits, quail, hogs or coyotes and each one can make for a great memory IF you take a child with you and invest some time teaching them about our great Central Alabama Outdoors!

~POST OAK~