Gazette writer Zeke Wilson

Spring turkey tag holders are now permitted to hunt all day in search of their bearded bird.

After two weeks of hunting pressure ending at noon, the turkey have become accustomed to less activity in the afternoon. The population is healthy in the area, and despite many tags already filled, there should be a willing gobbler waiting for those looking to add some organic protein to their diet.

Hunting all day for anything can be a difficult proposition, and a hunter should be patient when limited hunting property is available. Marching through a 50-acre woodlot can push the turkey out of the area, although quite often they simply hunker down and go silent. The vast amount of public land hunting opportunity in the state gives everyone somewhere to hunt, although in a lot of tracts the turkey are educated or harvested at this point.

Walking into terrain that does not allow one to hear a gobble from the road can provide the chance of working a bird that has not been

harassed much, if at all. Each day is different, and sadly there are days when gobbling activity is severely limited.

A hunter should pay close attention to fresh scratching in the leaves because it is an indicator that turkey are in the area. Hens are the draw to the gobblers at this point in the season, and more time should be spent listening in woods that are known to hold hens. If a dominant gobbler was harvested in the area early in the season, there is a good chance that a subordinate bird has filled his shoes by now.

Patience will pay off when setting up and calling, and a hunter should pick a spot wisely and then be willing to wait at least an hour. While a gobbler may not answer your calls, they often will respond and come in to

investigate.

Bug spray should be used to deter mosquitoes and other insects that make it difficult to sit still.

If a hunter knows of a roost area that has been used by turkey this spring, an evening hunt can be an excellent way to fill a tag. While the gobbling activity will be limited or nonexistent, the turkey are still related to the roost. Setting up on a ridge uphill from a known roost will allow the chance at a shot on a turkey preparing to fly up in the evening. If a particular bird has been patterned in the morning hours. This information can be used to put him in range before legal shooting ends.

Calling should be done every 15 minutes, with a hunter scanning the area closely because in all likelihood the gobbler will not vocalize on his approach. Open areas in the timber or a field are good places to position yourself as the turkey prefers to have some open air in order to elevate to the roost. While they will fly straight up, being 50 to 75 yards above the anticipated roost trees will offer a good chance at the bird staging prior to flying up. If a shot is not offered, there is the chance of the bird gobbling after it flies up, giving the hunter a pinpoint position on the bird for the next morning’s hunt.

Hens are more apt to use the same roost tree regularly during the spring while a gobbler or jake can bounce around between several roosts.

The option to hunt turkey all day is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot hunt in the early part of the day due to commitments such as work.

If you are fortunate enough to have filled your tags, it can be

rewarding to assist another hunter in harvesting his or her turkey or traveling out of state in pursuit of turkey. The challenge of hunting a new area is an exciting endeavor and while the odds may be stacked against, rarely is there a bad day of hunting.