Salt, it is great on fries, and most everything else I eat that is not sweet. Heck, I even like it on some sweets such as watermelon. But, I recently got introduced to a new kind of salt or at least an acronym that spells it.
As a turkey hunter, we have many names for the prey we hunt. Gobblers, Toms, Long beards, hook haulers,thunder chickens,swamp roosters,etc. are of course the type of turkey we seek, a BOSS gobbler is a dominant turkey male,usually an older male with long sharp spurs we call hooks, who has physically whipped the other gobblers in a particular section of the woods and has claimed it as his kingdom as far as breeding rights go. The Boss Gobbler will chase down and whip (by spurring, pecking, wing beating and kicking) any other gobbler that shows up in his area that struts, gobbles, or tries to mate with the hen turkeys. This is referred to as the “pecking order” and it is more than just a catch phrase if you are a wild turkey.
I have hunted areas before and am hunting several this season where it is clear a dominant, Boss gobbler is in control. In north Dallas County, the old boss lives in an area we hunters have labeled as “area 31”. The old Boss gobbler there has the other gobblers shut down and you never hear a peep out of them, although I have personally seen 5 other gobblers in the 31 area, he is the only one who ever gobbles.
The worst part is that his gobbles bring the hens in the area running to his location so he never has a need to gobble over three or four times from his roost limb just to let the “girls” know where he is and then he flies down to his “strut zone” where he struts, drums and displays how great he is and the hens just bow down and “get the job done”.
Now, as a turkey hunter, whose hope is that his man-made calls mimic the “sweetest hen“ around and those calls entice that lonesome gobbler to come looking for her, his antics are wrecking my turkey season! In areas where there are good populations of gobblers with no clearly dominant males, the gobblers use the strategy of who gets there first gets the “prize” of the hen’s affection. These are the turkey hunting woods that favors the hunter and when I can hunt in woods like that, I often get to meet the lonesome tom and greet him with a load of lead to the head.
On the tract of land I hunt in Greene county, Boss gobbler troubles have “bloomed” again this year ( I killed two boss gobblers over there last season) and the old boss over there is calling section number 8 and over to the “Horse Shoe Road” as his home range. However, even the gobblers in the adjoining sections are being very quiet so far this season. Add in the fact that the adjoining tract is being logged so there is a lot of tree cutting equipment noise to deal with as well! The other morning I had old # 8 gobbling good and walking to me getting closer with each gobble, then a log skidder cranked up and the back up beeper shut him down like a COLD SHOWER! I sat there for two more hours listening to the loggers rev engines and trees popping as the cutter blade hit them. I know they got to log, but not in turkey season!
Another part of the “Boss problem” equation, and one that may have even more weight in the matter, is the crazy spring weather. I know, I have lamented on it several times already this spring but, the very cold weather of March prohibited a lot of the turkeys from getting started so the breeding calendar appears to have been compressed so that there is an almost frenzy among the hens to not get left out and they are literally running to the dominant gobblers so they can get their nesting started.
The good news, if there is any, is that hopefully the hens will “cool down” quicker than a bride after the honeymoon and they will go “all maternal” on the old toms. When the hens turn to setting the nests with their “clutches” of eggs for the next 28 days, the gobblers will bust out and start gobbling again as they go looking for a last session with a “sweet hen”and I plan to be there sending out those calls when that happens, if it is before April 30th when the season closes!
I have managed to get a few gobblers to “come see” though. But, none were above average and several were not even worthy of a “Heavy Shot Samich”. I am saving that for the “Boss”. Besides those Heavy Shot shells cost $6.00 a pop! That is painful to me!
Ohh, and the S.A.L.T. acronym ? Let me explain, this is my first year in this particular club and I noticed on the sign in board, under game hunted, they did not list turkey, but, several listed S.A.L.T so I finally asked one of the guys and he just smiled and said “hunt here a few days and you will figure it out”. Well, I was sitting in the woods yesterday morning and once again not hearing any gobbles when it hit me, S.A.L.T stands for Sorry A## Lockjawed Turkeys! I almost laughed out loud!
Get to the turkey woods while you can.. season closes in 18 day and counting down too fast..
Post Oak…out.. saying ”hold the salt please”, it runs up my “pressuh” as we say in the country..