It may seem like you just cleaned up from the holidays, but already our nation’s first spring turkey seasons are about to open. In fact, South Florida has the distinction of being the very first one with an opening date of March 4.
From there opening days proceed northward with Georgia, Alabama and others following just a couple of weeks later. Even if you’re in the wild turkey’s most northern United States (or Canadian) ranges, where seasons don’t open until May and run even into June, now is the time you need to turn your attention toward getting ready for your warmer weather pursuit of America’s favorite gamebird.
Following is a list of key of issues to address before you ever plan on calling to that first gobbler.
Check the Camo – Camo fades, it tears, it simply wears out over time. Go through your camo clothing and check its condition, wash it if it’s been stored awhile and take it out and hang it against a back drop of trees or bushes—find a background that will be similar in color to what you’ll be hunting those first days of the season if you can. Why? One of the biggest things that happens to camo over time—like any colored clothing—is it fades; it fades almost to a whitish hue that stands out like a light from a distance when set up among a darker, natural background. The good thing with turkey hunting, generally done when temperatures are milder, if not downright warm, is you don’t need a $400 set of high-tech performance wear. But avoid do avoid cotton. Go with a lighter, quick-drying fabric that will wick moisture away from the body, but dry quickly if you get caught in an unexpected spring rain storm.
Check the Calls – Make sure calls are clean, working and making the sounds they should. If you plan to use old mouth calls from the previous season, rinse them or soak them for a short time in mouth wash to kill any lingering germs. Old, used mouth calls, sitting around from last season are a source of sore throats and other cold-like symptoms when not cleaned first. Calls can also dry rot or if left in an area with direct sun or wildly fluctuating temperatures can tear, stick together or simply sound dead when blown. The good thing is these are among the least expensive calls to replace and in most situations, you should simply buy a few new ones before getting started.
Practice, Practice, Practice – At the recent National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Calling Championships, what did the best callers in the world do each time before walking on the stage? They practiced. You should too. If it’s been since last year when you last ran a call, you might be surprised how squeaky or imperfect some of your vocalizations are. Get back into the swing of things and start practicing a little each day while sitting around the house. Your spouse will love you!