This Saturday marked the opening of the spring turkey season, atleast for our youth hunters across the state.
Youth season, a weekend in advance of the opening day, gives our young hunters who are old enough to shoot a shotgun independently, the chance to get a small headstart on the adult hunters. I think it is one of the best programs the folks at the conservation department have created, ever. It is a fact that many of the folks in my generation and those in the 30′s, 40′s years are just not hunting in the same volume as they participated 20 to 30 years ago. The cost of hunting has dramatically increased, like most other things, and while I believe that is a big factor, a bigger one is that young men are not as outdoors oriented as when I grew up. More single parent homes where the children live with mom has created a vacuum for male bonding between fathers and sons.
Also, a more affluent, or atleast more urban centered life style has been huge in the decline of hunting, fishing and shooting sports. If a father decides to be a non hunter, then the skill and love of, is not passed to the next generation of boys or girls and is likely lost forever in that family.
The rise and proliferation of team sports draws large numbers of kids to opt for spending time playing baseball, softball, soccer, football, basketball, etc all take big chunks of a familes recreational time and money so hunting is lost as an option.
So, for those of us who love the sport of hunting, fishing, shooting, hiking. we should make it a point to provide for others who are non-hunters but, want to learn how to enjoy the woods like we do. The term we often hear is to “PAY IT FORWARD”. My dad spent countless hours teaching me hunting and fishing skills that I use without so much as a thought, they just come naturally after more than 50 years of enjoying the special places we simply call “the woods!”
Yesterday, I had another opportunity to pay it forward at the Bass Pro Shops, Prattville Store by teaching some folks about turkey calling, hunting tactics and decoy placement and selection. The crowd was small but, we all had a real good time and the questions from the youngsters got me thinking about how much knowledge is required and how much I take for granted that is contained in my old turkey addict noggin!
It reaffirmed to me as I answered questions and talked tactics, that helping others is one of the best things any hunter, who has been fortunate as me, can do in appreciation of my good fortune. I have been blessed to have taken more than my share of trophy Toms and trophy Bucks for a long time, and that time is winding down so it I am going to do my part to help others learn about the joys found out in the woods of Alabama, A place I love so much, that not to share them would just be wrong!
On getting ready, “prepartion is a main ingredient of success,” regardless of the type of success you are in pursuit of, and turkey hunting is real heavy on preparation, practice, and planning. I have more than 50 various turkey calls that I may use during any spring although, I use a mouth diaphram call most of the time. This was a topic yesterday during my seminar and I will say that I use a Red Wasp by WoodHaven calls since it is fairly easy to run, makes good raspy yelps, purrs easy and makes some great clucks, cackles and putts. I also really like the “preacher” mouth call by Knight and Hale. It is a smaller frame call and makes great low volume yelps, clucks, feeding purrs and is one of the best for “kee kee” calls that I have found.
This spring will be my 54th trekking through the magic bright green world that our Lord has blessed me to see and to be able to walk through. I plan to take full advantage of that miracle, be sure that you do too! And if you are an experienced hunter, you should consider training others and sharing the magic of THE WOODS!