Posted on

Why not extend youth turkey hunt into the week?

Why not extend youth turkey hunt into the week? Why not extend youth turkey hunt into the week?

For the first time in a long time, youth hunters enjoyed some nice weather on Saturday, for the statewide youth turkey hunt. Despite Sunday’s weather, some youth hunters bagged turkeys. To those who braved the weather, congratulations and thank you for preserving the heritage by hunting.

I do wonder why we don’t make the youth hunt a few days longer. Not that everyone is planning on taking Little Johnny out of school to hunt turkeys for a week. But he and Little Joanie could hunt before school or after school in a normal year.

And, on the years when the youth hunt falls on Easter weekend and over spring break week, it’s possible they might have a better chance of finding at least one day with decent weather.

And what about those in professions that require them to work weekends, including our National Guard soldiers? I can tell you from experience that your weekend to work always seems to fall on the youth hunt — and there is no taking vacation on your weekend to work and switching is almost impossible. Those kids lose out.

I suppose it just makes too much common sense to extend the youth hunt.

Turkey hunting in Wisconsin was designed as a high quality hunt, and the season’s framework still reflects that. Spread out over six weeks, and with leftover tags available, it can provide much more opportunity than an over-the-counter hunt.

I know of hunters who hunt five out of those six periods and then guide someone else during the period they don’t have a tag for. Periods now run from Wednesday through the following Tuesday, for a seven day period.

We can hunt all day long, but the early hours still hold the allure of turkeys gobbling in the roost, before even the faintest amount of daylight begins to enter into the day.

If you don’t have a turkey tag, there are still some tags available to purchase from the DNR, mostly for the later time periods in May.

The first time period for the regular turkey hunt started today before sunrise, and a new one will kick off every Wednesday, until the last period starts on May 20. Any period can be good, and I’ve killed more turkeys in the last time period than the first time period over the years.

Now that we have a full week to hunt turkeys and can hunt statewide, it seems like fewer hunters take time off for hunting. Instead, they hunt on the days they have off in their time period, and before or after work. When I took time off, I liked to do so after the fishing season had opened. That way, if the turkey hunt went well, I could fish the rest of my vacation. And the later time periods offer much better concealment with foliage. Whether you like the early season or late season, every turkey bagged is a trophy. What looks like batch of brown drab feathers comes alive with more colors than you can imagine as you look at them individually. The pattern of the tail fan is something to wonder over. And you know you are holding something when you pick up a turkey.

But the best thing is, turkeys taste good. I like to deep fry them, but have enjoyed excellent smoked turkey as well. Roasted, grilled, ground, it all provides excellent delicacies. And a pot of wild turkey soup often rounds out the menu.

Turkey hunting has its own safety concerns, so please keep safety your highest level of concern. Don’t ever shoot at movement. Don’t stalk yelping or other hen sounds. Don’t wave at approaching hunters — call out to them. Try to sit with your back to a tree as wide as your shoulders.

Don’t wear anything with the colors red, blue or white on them. Always correctly identify the whole turkey as a tom or jake. And if you are just walking along, you should realize that you might get lucky, but turkey decoys are pretty realistic.

Some hunters actually use real turkey fans on tom decoys, and many of those decoys move. Always follow the four main safety rules.

It started at just before sunrise today, so I wish you all luck who hunt this period and the five that come after this one. Pick out a big one, share a picture or two, and enjoy the hunting. But as always please remember that “Safe Hunting is No Accident!”