Whitesburg KY
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

Struttin’ Time

Turkey hunting 'drought' nearing end

From the last gobble of spring until the first day of archery season, turkey hunters endure a long drought called summer. Although it now seems we’re living in a rain forest (Is this rain ever going to stop?), the summer break also gives us time to pay penance for all of the things we’ve neglected, such as work, cutting grass, and even seeing the family.

Wild turkeys also need time to do their summer thing. Poults hatch and hens are busy raising their young. Gobblers lose their breeding drive and join up with other strutters, thinking more about eating than anything else. In June and July you saw brood after brood along the roads. Poults hatched just a few weeks ago are flying, feeding, and growing.

With August now here, you can take note of regular sightings of batches of gobblers. By the end of August your camouflage and archery hunting gear will be standing at the ready. Archery season will be here before you know it.

Let me offer some good advice here. Our deer season and fall turkey season open together, so pay attention to what I am about to tell you. If you bait for deer, do not, repeat, do not shoot a turkey that comes into your bait pile. In Kentucky it is against the law to bait turkeys. I also recommend that you stick with long beards, although any turkey is legal. Let’s leave mommy hen to raise babies.

A friend of mine, Raymond Brown, told me a good story the other day about the time his dad gave him three rocks and a sling shot to go squirrel hunting. Said he came back with two squirrels and his dad asked him where the other rock was. Raymond couldn’t explain, so the next time he went out he was given only the rocks. Yes, life has some funny stories, and Raymond is one of the funniest guys I know.

One of the methods the flatlanders try to pass on about fall turkey hunting is to bust the flock. Rest assured, that won’t work in our area. Bust a flock behind my house and they will fly to Dry Fork Market. The best plan I have found for fall turkeys is to find a good food source (there are plenty of oak and beechnut flats), set up in a blind and use the fighting purrs call. Most of the time that call will bring the big boys running to see a good fight. The calls we used in the spring are useless for calling in the fall.

Remember to take a kid hunting on August 15. That is the opening day of squirrel season. It may save our sport. Smile and make someone’s day better.

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