Now and for the next six weeks, turkeys are in the spotlight, sashaying about for hens, hunters and anyone who can tolerate a 20-plus pound gobbler displaying in an ostentatious manner to attract attention.
This method of displaying has brought hunters and photographers to their knees, holding back pulling a trigger, releasing an arrow, or pressing a shutter-release button on a camera.
So mesmerizing is this showoff ordeal that it becomes a grand formality that one finds it automatic to still oneself, listen and respect. Hunters often follow an unwritten rule to not shoot at a tom in strut for the likelihood of missing a vital region.
Photographers and bird watchers have other excuses; they sometimes prefer to view the show without missing it by manipulating a camera.
Learn-to-hunt novices were out last weekend; youth hunters, those younger than 16, had their try April 13-14; and finally the fanatics begin, depending on their authorization, no earlier than Wednesday, April 17.
Hunters in those groups may continue their pursuits by buying a bonus authorization. Youth hunters, if they did not connect during their early try, can look at the authorization date and hunt that later period, too.
Equipment creators tell all that there is always something better than the traditional decoys, calls, shot loads and camouflage patterns, but what is really important is remaining muzzled, veiled and fixed until the moment of surprise.
In most cases, if the three musts are followed, the old stuff is as good as the must-have new stuff and money does not talk better than a knowledgeable hunter.
Avoid sky-lighting one’s self while approaching a location. Step lightly and hope for help from moisture-laden leaves. Scout if possible just to see how many mistakes the big bird will tolerate. Don a face mask at all times. There is something about the human face, particularly the white race, that is unattractive to deer, turkeys, other birds and mammals, too.
Most rafts of turkeys are about to begin their dispersal stage. They are slimming their flock size and some are going off alone, all of which makes a gobbler to prefer artificial turkey talk as much as the hens’ real version.
Jerry Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.