By Louie Stout
A few weeks ago, we told you about the increase in fishing license sales, likely due to people being off work because of the Covid-19 shutdown.
Well, the shutdown apparently also sent more turkey hunters into the field last spring and they were remarkably successful.
The DNR estimates 74,500 hunters stalked turkeys last spring – a 25 percent increase over 2019.
Volunteers can help DNR learn more about Indiana’s wild turkey populations by reporting turkey broods from July 1 through Aug. 31.
Each summer, wildlife biologists and volunteers conduct brood surveys, counting the number of young wild turkeys observed with turkey hens to estimate how many young turkeys live through the summer. Summer brood survival is one of the primary factors influencing wild turkey population trends in various regions of the state and informs wild turkey management.
By Josh Lantz
Most turkey hunters believe the opening days of the spring turkey-hunting season offer the best chances at taking a bird. It’s probably true. Gobblers that haven’t been hunted in months can up the odds for success, but an abundance of weather-related variables can easily turn what should be prime turkey-killing days into disappointing outings that often leave less-experienced hunters scratching their heads. As with most confusing situations in life, observation, listening and patience can be the keys to success.
If opening day arrives on the heels of typical spring weather, hunters can usually expect toms to be fired up for breeding but frustrated by hens that aren’t quite ready. These are ideal conditions for the turkey hunter, as toms will be close to the hens and establishing dominance. These are birds that can be expected to respond favorably to effective calling – especially the less-dominant toms. More on that later.
A portable ground blind can be very helpful during the early season for a variety of reasons and a lightweight model is worth carrying. There’s a lot less vegetation at the start of the season, and turkeys are often less vocal, too. Silent birds can be on top of you before you know it. A blind can conceal your movement when repositioning your gun towards that old tom that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Of course, a ground blind also provides welcomed comfort and protection from spring’s unpredictable weather.
If the early season is particularly cold, don’t be surprised when the birds don’t crank up the way you want them to. Adapt by heading straight to spots you’ve observed with the greatest signs of turkey activity. Use a couple decoys and try a little calling, but don’t be surprised or too concerned if they don’t gobble. Have patience. Pack a lunch and hunt all day if your state allows it.