Success Next Hunting Season Begins NOW

 

The time to look for a beautiful tract of hunting land or a good hunting club to join is NOW! Don't wait! ~postoak~

We have all heard the various sayings and cliches such as success in 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Or, the one that says successis defined by preparation and talent.I like to think a good hunter has some talent for the sport but, the preparation and planning, strategizing and execution of the plan are what sets the good hunters apart from the guys who still get excited when a spike walks by.

Hunting preparation’s first task is to have a good place to hunt. This time of year is the time to address that part of your hunting plan for next fall unless you are one of a dwindling, lucky few who owns their own hunting property and has the resources to manage it well and through your “dilligence and dollars” you are set for many seasons to come.

Most of us are not lucky enough to have a big tract of good hunting land or even a small tract of good hunting land. I own a couple of  very small tracts in west Alabama but my relatives consider that I live over here so they “hunt it like they own it”. That used to drive my Dad crazy and I always told him there is nothing you could do unless you want to make your kin folks hate you and I prefer not to do that!

I am fortunate that I have some relative who own a very nice farm in Tuscaloosa County and I get to go over to hunt and fish whenever I want. To me, that is almost better than owning a piece of land. The two pieces I own just cost me money to pay the taxes and keep them bushhogged! There is a good solution however, lease a tract for hunting or join a hunting club. I used to prefer to lease a tract and have my own place to hunt but, now that I am older, my desire to plant greenfields and clear access roads is not as strong as it was just a few years ago.

The past 10 years I have leased turkey hunting tracts from deer hunters who hold the general lease and that has worked well. I am looking to do that again for 2015 spring season. This last season I did join a club as well to turkey hunt and was mildly surprised by how well I enjoyed hunting with a few other turkey hunters and everyone displayed good hunting etiquette and were alll gracious to share. IF you can find a good club where folks are nice, a club can be a great way to find quality hunting and lead you to a succesful deer and turkey season.

THE KEY IS TO START LOOKING NOW FOR A GOOD HUNTING CLUB. The better ones have few openings and they generally have a waiting list or they fill up fast. Start checking out local papers, The Bulletin Board, Craigslist and bulletin boards at local sporting goods stores. All are good resources to help you find a club to join that could spell success in taking a trophy buck or gobbler in the 2014-15 Alabama Hunting seasons.

Next week, I will list some other resources and ways to get your own tract of hunting property or find a good hunting club. Don’t wait until late summer! Most hunting leases are quickly coming up for renewal and club leaders are looking for Paid members now!

~POST OAK~

2014 Turkey Season was a Good One!

Postoak with a late season gobbler in 2014 ~postoak~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today wrapped up my last hunt of the spring turkey season and I must say this season was a good one for me. I took 4 Alabama Gobblers and a huge Kentucky Gobbler. The highlight of the season was my grandaughter taking her first gobbler in a very exciting hunt where we were over-ran by 9 or 10 birds with about 6 or 7 of them being some very agressive Jakes who were fighting with the big gobbler as he “slugged” his was up the hill to our position. Even after she shot him we found that he had a feather from one of the other birds clenched in his beak when we inspected him!

There were also some great stories many of you sent me or posted on FB that were extremely enjoyable and showed some great turkey footage from around the country of gobblers showing off for the camera and doing some “kung fu” moves on decoys and each other as they came to the hunters for the “final show”. My nephew killed a great mulitple bearded bird that he has sent to the taxidermist and I have my grandaughter’s in the freezer awaiting transport to Capps Taxidermist over in Demopolis. Other gobblers I have clipped feathers off for the NWTF Jakes Day event we will have in Fort Toulouse this June.

The Jakes event is a great one to introduce kids to the sport of hunting and to the great work the NWTF and it’s volunteers around the country do each year to benefit all wildlife, not just the wild turkey. I am always pleased to see the enthusiasm exhibited by all the young folks who come out each year to enjoy the event. We are looking for event sponsors who would like to donate to make the event a success again this year. The NWTF donations are tax deductable as we are a 501 C3 organization dedicated to conservation and preservation of wildlife and the hunting heritage. Please email me if you want to know more about the event or how you can donate- postoakman@gmail.com is my email address and i would like to hear from you!

Another organization that is working to help improve Alabama’s wildlife is the Department of conservation – http://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/ Commissioner Gunter Guy, Deputy Commisioner Curtis Jones, Director Chuck Sikes and Ray Metzler, the acting Chief of the Wildlife and fisheries section have a number of updates on activities they have underway to improve our hunting future. Check out the information that have to make you a better informed sportsman in the great Alabama Outdoors!

This old Gobbler is "resting in the clover" as his season is over. Mine too! ~postoak~

 

 

~postoak~ OUTDOORS

Turkey Season is Almost Gone!

 

Season's Best Alabama Gobbler taken by my granddaughter! ~postoak~

The 2014 Alabama spring turkey season  will be history in 10 more days, now I am always sad to see it go but, this one has not been one of my best so I can live with it!

On the plus side, I got to enjoy a new tract of hunting land that is 4600 acres of pretty fair property. The down side was the timber company thought it was a good piece of logging land and they stayed on it the entire turkey season making a lot of noise and destroying things as the most often do. But, everybodys got to make a living and I know paper is a very vital commodity so I just live with it and get along with them.I met some good fellow hunters who were nice guys to help me learn the “lay of the land” and of course the best part of the season was I called in my granddaughter a big gobbler for her first turkey! Although that one is going to cost me over $600. to get the big tom mounted so she can have one like “her pop pop” has mounted in the den.. Well, maybe she will still have it long after I am hunting those “gobblers in glory” and remember with fondness the great experience we shared that perfect spring morning!

Another good thing was I got to take a couple of gobblers, so far just one in Alabama, a feisty 2 year old who came in gobbling and strutting like the king of the spring woods he was trying to become. The gobbler I took in Kentucky was an old 4 year old 27 lb heavy weight with one broken spur and another one that was an inch and a half of sharp, fighting tool. He came in slow and proud in a full strut that he would not break out of even when I tried several times to get him putted up for a clean head shot. I finally took a focused aim and laid him low without doing any unintended damage so I was very happy to have my Kentucky trophy for the year. The 2 year old that I called in the last monring there was fun to make gobble and I took delight in making him gobble many times as he answered every cluck and purr I gave, even when he was 10 yards away!

Well, If my season stands on what has already gone by, that is ok. But, who knows? I will conitnue to get out in the spring woods a few more days then sit back and wait for 2015. I can do it!

~postoak~

Kentucky Gobbler Hunt was Great!

 

I had a great hunt in Kentucky, bagging this big opening morning Gobbler! ~postoak~

 

This past weekend I traveled up to west central Kentucky to hunt those big bluegrass gobblers and they did not dissapoint! A good friend of mine, invited me up again this year and since I had a couple of great hunts up there in prior years, it was an opportunity I could not say “no” to! We drove up on Friday to scout the tract a tille that afternoon and set up a couple of blinds since most of the tract was large corn fields that had been harvested last fall and had stubble stalk coverage since the spring green has not started up there yet. The trees were still bare and the woods on the tract were very open, old growth hardwoods that you could see 200 yards through in most places so there was not much chance of slipping up on a gobbler in his “strut zone”.

Saturday morning, the Kentucky turkey season started and the gobblers were blasting out their calls all across the farm. I heard 10 gobblers on the farm and 3 or 4 more on the adjoining property as the day broke to a clear, warm and somewhat windy day. With all the gobblers sounding off from the roost, I decided to give them time to get on the ground and then I gave a call with my Woodhaven Red Wasp diaphragm call and it got immediate replys from 3 eager toms. From 6:15 to 7:20 I called, they gobbled, but no one wanted to commit and come see what my “little Alabama hen” looked like. I had a big gobbler to make his way in behind me down in a hardwood bottom and he got close enough to see but, never presented a “100% shot” and he walked on by and exited the way he came in, back down the hardwood hollow.

About 30 minutes later a gobbler came out on the ridge in the corn field over to my right and broke into a strut. I snapped off a couple of loud cutts and he blasted back a booming gobble! He slowly made his way along the ridge and over to the ridge in front of my set up. I had an Avian x hen and the little “Funky Chicken” decoys set at 35 steps from my hiding spot and he stood about 15 to 20 yards out from them and gobbled repeatedly. I guess he was trying to get the hen to come to him, and while he was in easy shot distance, I was enjoying his gobbling and strutting performance too much to cut it short! After about 20 minutes, he slowly strutted on in to the hen and I was hoping to see him attack the little “fake jake” but, he just walked past him and up to the hen. He stood at her side and drummed, beat his wings on the ground and did a few wheeling turns for her before he decided to do his impression of a statue. After he stood absolutely still for about 5 minutes, I decided to end it and sent him a couple of loud putts in hopes of getting him to stick his head up but, he stayed frozen in the strut!  I said “ok” and sent a load of 4 shot downrange to him and he hit the ground without even a kick or a flop!

I don’t like to shoot a gobbler in a full strut since it is easy to damage the beard or the breast meat but, my shot was a good one and just slapped him in the head and neck for an immediate “smackdown”. The 4 year old gobbler had a long sharp spur on his left leg and the one on his right was  broken so badly it was not worth saving. He weighed a whopping 27 lbs and had a 10.5 inch beard that was thick and sort of paint brush style. A really nice Kentucky gobbler!

On Sunday morning, the weather was warm, cloudy and the gobblers were all silent. It was amazing, given the number of birds we had heard the pervious morning, but that is the way turkey hunting goes some days. I decided to travel across a couple of the large fields to sit in the woodline on the east side of the property where I had heard several gobblers the morning before. About 6:30 I did a fly-down cackle a few loud cutts and finished with a hen yelp. I got an instant gobble back from across the fence line and down in the woods. Then I heard some jakes yelping that horse sounding call and a poorly assembled gobble so I was not surprised when 2 big jake gobblers came up the hill and nearly stepped on me as they walked out of the woods. They walked out to my decoys and looked them over, then started to scratch and feed around them, like they were just looking for some companions. They stayed out in the field for more than an hour and would look my way when I yelped but seemed at ease so I did not let them inhibite my hunt.

About 7:40 I got a gobble response and he started closing the distance to me pretty quickly gobbling fervently as the distance between us closed. Then I saw his head pop up over the ridge and I thought about taking the shot since he was only 10 yards away. But, I wanted to check out his beard and spurs since you only get 2 gobblers in Kentucky a year. I found him to be just a loud mouthed 2 year old with about a 6 inch beard so decided not to shoot him but, I had a blast making him gobble over and over as he walked around my location. He then got frustrated and jumped on my little Funky Chicken jake decoy and beat him all the way down to the ground by kicking, pecking and wing slapping! Then he went to the hen and pecked her several times before wandering on out in the field.

A little after 9:00 I stood up to gather my decoys and end the hunt when I saw 2 long beards running flat out toward my position so I knelt back down and watched them come on in. At about 75 yards, they abruptly stopped, looked up at the decoys and then hit the woods. Apparently they had seen that game before! I gave them around 15 minutes, hoping they would come back out in the field and when I yelped both of them blasted back a gobble! Seeing the situation as not hopeless, I gave a few more light calls and they answered each with single and double gobbles then, they came back to the field but, they would not come on in. My cell phone went off at 10:00 and I had to call it a done hunt and left those long beards to roam around some more! But, I hope to go back in  a couple of weeks!

~postoak~

 

Gobblers are Starting to Peak When you can Find a Clear Day!

 

My Grandaughter is all smiles toting a big gobbler this past Saturday! ~postoak~

 

The gobblers are getting very active and some hens are starting to nest as the first peak of the spring breeding season is going well in most of Alabama. Hunters that I communicate with via email and face book are showing up smiling and posing with some very nice long beards and some awesome “hooks” (spurs).

I have been hearing a good many birds when I get a chance to get in the woods so long as it is not raining. I am also starting to see a larger number of single hens along side roads and fields during the mid morning which can indicate they are moving into the laying and nesting portion of the spring breeding season. From now through June be very careful about riding through the fields where there is Sage, Johnson, or other tall grass and certainly if you are bush-hogging watch out for hens nesting! Every year, a number of turkey nests are needlessly destroyed by folks bush-hogging tall warm season grasses that hens like to nest in or by riders of four wheelers or trucks who are just out “wood riding”. I enjoy riding my four wheeler but, I watch for nests and try to stay out of areas where a hen could have her clutch of eggs hidden.

The hen will generally lay an egg a day, after she is bred, and when she gets 12, she will start to sit on them and trigger the gestation period which is almost always 28 days. The poults will all usually start to pip out from inside the egg and they most often hatch within a few hours of each other. The hen has various calls, mostly purrs and soft clucks of encouragement to get the poults to work their way out of the shell and after they dry off, usually only about 30 minutes from out of the shell to dry, stand up and find “momma” who will get them all away from the nest since the smell of turkey eggs will bring predators around in just a little while.

Since the number of hens that are receptive to the advances of the gobblers will start to decrease rapidly between now and the end of the season on April 30th, the gobblers will become more vocal and get a little bit less picky about the hen that is calling to them to “come on over”. This shifts the advantage just a little bit more toward the hunter if patience is practiced and some realistic hen calling is done “just right” to sound irresistable to that gobbler who is near the top of the pecking order and is intent on passing along his genes to the next generation of wild turkeys.

This past Friday and Saturday, I had the joy of having my granddaughter, Anna Faye to hunt with me and we had a totally marvelous time in the turkey woods!  Friday morning we heard three gobblers but found that two of them were on an adjoining property across a creek and high fence so we made our way to the third gobbler only to find that another club member was also in pursuit of him so we backed off and tried to find another one but came out empty handed.

On Saturday morning our luck changed as we got on a hot gobbling bird right at daybreak and were able to slip in and set up within a hundred yards of his roosting location. No sooner than he flew down in the small green field we had hoped to reach, he was attacked by a gang of racous jakes that numbered 6 or 7 and they put on quite a show of wing beating, spurring, kicking, pecking and feather pulling! fighting purrs and loud putts rang out as the gobbler, still intent on answering my calls made his way up the hill toward our location. A hen ran in to our left and I decided to move my arms enough to “shoo” her away since she was looking at us and sounded some alarm putts.

The gobbler and his jake adversaries were so busy fighting they paid her no heed and they literally “roiled up” in front of us as we watched in amazement! Suddenly, the big gobbler ran directly toward us around the palmetto fronds we were hiding behind as he attempted to allude the jake attackers and he wound up about 3 feet from the end of Anna Faye’s gun barrel! I was hissing “shoot him!”, “shoot him!” and she snapped out of her mesmirized state and fired! Her 20 gauge rolled him over and he stumbled backwards back out in the little logging road and I told her to run and put her foot on his head and don’t let him up! Sitting there, watching her with her boot on his head and his wings beating her and the ground furiously I was so proud of the moment that I let out a shout! She was still in shock about the whole happening that she asked me “did I do good Pop-Pop-?!?

I replied that you are awesome! and we hugged and checked out her prize gobbler! He had a 10.5 inch beard, 1 and a quarter inch sharp hook spurs and he weighed 17.2 lbs! I guessed him to be a 4 year old due to his long spurs and large frame that he was noticeably “skinny”. That told me he had been so intent on chasing hens that feeding had been halted for some time.

 It was a TOTALLY  Great hunt and one that will be a great shared memory for us the rest of our lives! Best turkey hunt EVER! and that is comparing it to several hundred good gobblers I have taken or called in for others over the last 54 years of turkey hunting!

Take your kids hunting! it makes for some great days in the woods and life long memories!

~postoak ~

Gobblers Getting “Wound Up”

 

This gobbler was wound up Wednesday morning by Postoak!

 

The phrase “wound up” could mean “just about through” or “almost done”. IT could also mean “getting cranked”, “Getting fired up”. For the gobblers in central Alabama, thankfully it means getting started for real and gobbling pretty good. I am hearing from many fellow hunters that they are hearing and a few are taking some Toms for a truck ride home!

I took a couple of days off this past week and finally hit a good morning on Wednesday even though it was a cold 28 degrees when I got out of my truck. The gobblers did not seem to mind however, I heard six different gobblers in response to my owl hoot at dawn so I chose to walk to the closest one. I only had to walk about 150 yards down a small logging trail and when I gave him my first yelp on the red wasp diaphram, He blew back a gobble that was so close that I hurredly found a tree that offered some cover and dove under it, hoping he had not spotted me since he was less than 50 yards away through some open hardwoods near a small green field.

I decided to not call any more until he gobbled again and I didn’t have to wait long for that to happen! He blasted out another gobble from just out of sight down the logging trail so I gave him a couple of loud clucks and he blasted back another gobble! I knew he was going to come on in at that point so I enjoyed his drumming and wing dragging as he strutted to within 20 steps. I decided I better close the deal and almost reluctantly pulled the trigger. It was one of those “wham bam turkey slam” hunts that was over too soon but, I was not going to complain about one being too easy since I have had way too many old hard headed Toms that have been standing out there gobbling from 70 or 80 yards and would not come on in close enough for a shot.

At 7:07 a.m. I looked at my watch as I stood over the bird and filled out my game check form. I shouldered him and made the short walk back to my truck, took a couple of I-photos and then called in for my confirmation number. As I dialed the robo-operator to record the taking of the turkey as now required by law, I thought “what would my grand dad think about this technology? or even my dad, would he be shocked about the changes in our hunting ways and hunting rules? I almost envied them for their not still being here to deal with the ever shrinking world. But, both of them always taught me to “abide in the law” so I always do. But, when a man’s word is no longer sufficient in the eyes of the law, it is a sad time in America in some respects. Oh well, Let me get off my soap box….

 

I had several friends to take gobblers this week so I think the season is more normal this year than the last one. Last spring was as wierd as I have experienced in my 54 years of turkey hunting and many others said the same thing. Gobblers did not gobble much and certainly would not come to a call like they do at some point most springs. Glad to see and hear this spring is shaping up to be all we hope for! And I hope those gobblers are about to get “wound up”!

This morning, I took my grandaughter along for the hunt and she was so excited, I guess you could say she was “wound up”. We got out of the truck at daylight and I was able to get four gobblers to respond to my old hoot owl call which she thought was the neatest thing and we quickly went down the same lane where I had taken the gobbler on wednesday. I brought a hen decoy to help distract the gobbler from her movements and to hopefully bring him on in to our location on the edge of a small green field. He responded to my calls on the diaphram and in just a few minutes I saw his white crown coming as he made his way through the woods to the field’s edge. He walked up on a dirt pile near the edge and stood there for moment but, apparently did not like the decoy and he turned and walked away! Then I heard several hens cackling in the woods behind him and he was gone! He gobbled at my yelps a few times as he faded out of hearing and it was over… Oh well, Thats why they call it turkey hunting!

Until next week!

~postoak~ OUT!

 

Early Season Report – All Henned Up!

 

Dirt Nap -What I like to see a Gobbler do! (courtesy Eric Christian)

 

Eight days in on the 2014 spring turkey season and between the weather and the hens, all I have to show so far is a sore left ankle and several good morning walks trekking around a new turkey property trying to find a gobbler who is callable.

I have had a couple of poor mornings of cold, wet weather, including this morning where I thought the gobbler was going to come on in but, they just stand out among the harem of hens and answer my calls. I think his gobbles translated into something like this ” come on over and joing our party cause I sure ain’t leaving all these hens to come see you!”  And so it has been on my trips to the spring turkey woods so far in 2014! They are HENNED UP! This is not unusual for the early part of spring season but, often I can find an old tom or a young boisterous two year tom who will come check out my “little hen talk” and find some number fours and a dirt nap.

This spring, jakes are the only ones to venture in and while they are funny and sometimes a bother, they are not welcome in front of my benelli. Sometimes if they are an agressive bunch, they will cause a grown gobbler to go the other way. This morning, the same four jakes that ran to my calls yesterday and stopped me from moving up on a good gobbler, were roosted in the same area about 100 yards from where I park and they started cackling and calking at the other gobblers when they sounded off but, I was able to slip past them without bumping them from the roost since I got the jump on them a little early and made it on down to the swamp before daylight and waited at a cross road down in the swamp to listen for the gobblers calling from the roost.

With the cloudy weather only a couple of gobblers sounded off at daylight so I made my way slowy toward the closest one, even though he was over 500 yards on down in the swamp. As so often happens, even though I stayed “put” until 6:50, I had not gome 100 yards before I busted a group of hens out of a tall pine at the last little hill side before the creek bottom and they made so much fuss flying off that the gobbler hushed and I sat for the next two hours waiting for things to calm down.

At ten minutes after nine, a gobbler sounded off out in the swamp so I resumed my slip and eased out toward him, covering 300 yards until the bottom opened up into a wide expanse of nice hardwood swamp and I knew it would not be a good idea to walk out in there and be spotted by any turkey that could be close. I nestled in by a big oak and sat for 10 minutes listening and enjoying the morning. At my first yelp, the gobbler belted back a gobble but, he was still over 300 yards away! I peered across the open woods and caught movement but, quickly determined it was deer, 7 or 8 of them were trotting toward me and to my left so I sat another 15 minutes to let them get out of the way and he gobbled again before I could yelp and he was even farther away! I yelped at him louder and with more urgency and he gobbled right back! Then BOOM!  And the fellow hunting on the property next door had himself a good morning! I got up and walked back to my truck in the rain and headed on home..

Open Swamp Hardwoods, Beautiful to hunt in but, hard to slip on a Gobbler! ~postoak~

Yesterday morning the weather was the best I have had this season for a morning in the turkey woods and I was treated to the beauty of numerous gobblers as I listed from the top of a big ridge but every gobbler I yelped to that responded also caused clucks, cackles and lots of ‘hen-noise” until everything faded into no responses around 10:30. I sat until 1:00 doing some blind calling and called up a couple of hens before calling it a day.

Danny Gillis slipped up on this old "henned up" Tom in Autauga County! Good Job Danny! (courtesy Eric Christian)

My good friend Eric Christian, the Operations Manager at Bass Pro in Prattville had a good hunt yesterday morning. He teamed up with his buddy, Danny Gillis, who took a nice 20 lb, sharp spurred old Tom in Autauga county. Eric said they had found the gobblers up there to be all henned up but, Danny was able to do a masterful stalk and get in position to drop the old gobbler, who was field strutting in front of 8 of his lady friends! Glad somebody had some luck in the turkey woods!

Until next week,

~POSTOAK~

Otha Barham’s “Spring Bekonings” A Great Read Between Hunts

Otha Barham's Turkey Hunting book, A great read in between turkey hunts this spring.

Otha Barham of Meridian Mississippi is afflicted with a desease many of us know all too well. No, it is not Lyme desease. Although it does come from a bite, a bug, atleast a figurative kind of bug, not one of those disgusting little deer ticks that make hunter and animal alike both suffer.

The desease is one that affects the heart and soul of a “gobbler addict.” And yes, it does take one to really know one. It takes one to turn each page of the book he has so masterfully crafted and to enjoy the story as written and yet, many of the chapters strike parallel chords to my own years of turkey hunting memories, stirring the memories of hunts enjoyed with father and grandfather, who are both long gone on. Hunting stories that restoke the fires of my seasonal addiction to harvest another limit of long spurred, hard gobbling, old toms, not the stupid jakes, or the wild eyed two year old toms that gobble at every sound and come running to the call like they are in a race to die.

No, I dream of the gobbler who is “not sold”, the gobbler who is an old skeptic, made wise by the sting of lead from a desperate shooter two years ago. The old gobbler who ran to the call with his three brothers and his was the fate to survive while his brother lay in the field beating their wings in vain after the thunder clapped on a clear spring morning. This old gobbler who has learned to avoid the humans and will stay quiet most mornings, only gobbling when he is convinced he is talking to a real hen, one who is not loud and raucous, but just clucking, purring and patient for him to take his time closing the distance to where he can make a safe entrance and exit.

Otha Barham clearly understands the art of turkey hunting and turkey calling and he entertains the reader with 37 turkey hunting stories that weave across hunts and storiies of different hunters and times that sure brought memories, chuckles and almost a tear a couple of times. For reading in the spring woods, it is a great book to savor in between “fixes” of turkey gobbler addicition!  I highly recommend you get this one! just contact Mr. Barham  obarham@comcast.com.net    The book title is Spring Beckoning, Gobblers call and we must go. IF you are a turkey hunting addict, you know what we mean.

Looking for a great family activity outdoors? look no further than the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s home in Millbrook! Enjoy nature at its best at the 10th Annual Alabama Flora and Fauna Arts Festival at Lanark in Millbrook, Alabama on Saturday, April 12, 2014. This artistic celebration of Alabama’s magnificent plants and wildlife will feature the original nature-themed works of Alabama artists in a variety of mediums and style, to include ready-to hang wildlife and floral paintings, wood, stone and metal sculpted items, fine prints, gourd art, photography and much more! The Alabama Flora and Fauna Arts Festival is a free admission event on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 8 am to 6 pm.                                 

Festival Day will also include plant presentations with guest speakers, vendors and the Lanark Annual Plant Sale; proceeds benefitting the Lanark Gardens. Master Gardeners from various counties will have information tables, and  there will be activities for the children. Speakers include Jane Mobley, Advanced Master Gardener to speak on Butterfly Gardens and Dan Jones Professor Emeritus from UAB to speak on wildflowers.

After you have been all-inspired at the Festival, stay to hike the trails and enjoy beautiful flowers and nature’s splendor.

The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization.  The mission of the AWF, a 501©3 non-profit group supported by membership dues and donations, is to promote conservation and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources as a basis for economic and social prosperity.  To learn more about AWF, including membership details, programs and projects, call 1-800-822-WILD or visit www.alabamawildlife.org.

Until next week, great hunting wishes for that spring gobbler to come your way!

~POSTOAK~

 

 

Paying Forward and Getting Ready..

 

I had a great time putting on a Turkey Calling Seminar yesterday at Bass Pro Shops in Prattville. Mr. Eric Christian of Bass Pro was a great host!

 

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!

Enjoyed talkin' turkey with Rocky Mims yesterday at Bass Pro Shops in Prattville ~postoak~

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!

POST OAK

 

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.