ZEKE WILSON: Nest is a success
July 23, 2013 10:40 AM
by ZEKE WILSON

Several weeks ago as I mowed around several tree stumps and remnants of a burn pile I spotted a nest of turkey eggs. Upon this discovery I abandoned the effort, feeling badly about eliminating vegetation so close to the nest.

In the time that followed I checked the nest, only to see there was no hen, but once I did see her feeding in the area, although I questioned whether she had abandoned the effort.

After driving past an unfinished project daily for so long so late in the year, I decided to check the nest to see if the eggs were still there, and if they were, to see if they were fertile. As I crept toward the cherry stump that was the backing for the nest, I was pleased to see what appeared to be a successful nesting.

Just hours later as I sheared some firs I spotted a turkey on the far tree line of the farm, and she was moving very deliberately. Slowly I moved to my truck and was able to magnify the situation, revealing eight young turkey poults. At perhaps only a day-or-so-old, these birds will not have much time to fatten up before the first frost falls.

Another hen had been seen in the area, and with hope her efforts were of equal success.

Later in the day, a doe and two fawns made an appearance, emphasizing the young wildlife theme.

• A lot of hay has been cut recently, and as weather allows, more fields should fall. Groundhog hunting is heating up, and bug spray is right there with ammunition as essentials.

While I have not noticed a shortage of groundhogs in the fields or along the road, hunting pressure can impact an area until new migrants can move in.

Archery hunting can really open up some hunting opportunities for groundhogs in areas that are off limits for gun hunters. Finding an arrow in a field can be difficult at times, and paying special attention to where the groundhog is prior to drawing will allow quicker retrieval.

Depending on rainfall an arrow can either skip or bury itself, with either instance making it difficult to find. Hitting the target is the best way to aid in arrow recovery, although coming to full draw and sealing the deal is tough on anything, including groundhogs.

While some archers shoot throughout the year at various venues, most stick to their backyard or local range in the months leading up to the season. Making time to shoot can be difficult at times, but it is well worth the effort to be in good practice come opening day. I have missed some opportunities early in the season because I was not quick enough on the trigger or simply missed.

The first few days of archery season are often the best to hunt until the rutting activity begins to pick up. Regular practice in the preseason can allow the hunter to take advantage of the best odds right out of the gate.

If the weather allows, I like to arrow an antlerless deer on the first morning of the season. Doing so takes the deer out sooner rather than later, preserving resources for other game and helping to build shooter confidence.

It has been a few years since I arrowed a buck, but despite the dry spell I have no reason to second-guess myself or equipment. With the availability of ammunition still questionable and consequently expensive, shooting a bow can allow for more affordable entertainment.

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