Yamaha Outdoors Tip - Study Turkey Kill Data Now
By Steve Hickoff
It’s not too early to start planning spring turkey hunts.
- State wildlife agencies post turkey kill reports where it’s required for a hunter to register a bird. Maybe your state does too. Here in northern New England, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont all do. I hunt them all. As a result, I study town and kill numbers routinely.
- Doing so helps me lock into areas where kill numbers are consistently high each season. I plot trends, study public land features, contact people I know in such areas (and those I don’t). This allows me to scout without even being there.
- Now while it’s true some guys might register gobblers under the veil of secrecy, fibbing the town of kill to protect their spots, I think many of us are proud of the land we hunt, and where we take a bird. We register honestly. The kill data reflects this.
- How can you use it? Keep manila hard-copy folders or computer files on annual turkey kill data. In the off-season (and especially pre-season) you can study new town locations where registration numbers are high. County data also reflects trends. Use it to hunt better on the road.
- Talk to biologists and landowners too. Book those hunts. Think ahead and lock in dates.
Why bother? A few spring gobbler seasons ago, I drove just over two hours to cross the Vermont border a little after Opening Day fly-down time. I’d studied state turkey kill numbers that winter as usual, and picked a public land spot to stake my claim. Not long after arriving, I located three birds (two gobblers and a hen), and moved on them. They spooked at my rushed approach.
No matter. I settled in, let the woods calm down. I offered some calls, and waited; waited a bit more. Suddenly, a dark movement, and the turkeys—first the hen, then the trailing gobbler duo—worked to my position. I dropped the nearest gobbler, checked the turkey, drove two-plus-hours, and made it home just after noon.
It’s not the first time . . .
Plan your 2012 spring turkey hunts now while you have the time; it may be too late later.