While the spring turkey is still a month away, several friends of mine say the toms have been quite vocal, gobbling their heads off in several areas across the state.
In an effort to curb population declines, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to limit the statewide season bag limit to one tom rather than the longtime limit of three toms. I, for one, along with a lot of my compadres say switching the bag limit to one tom is sorely needed.
The general spring turkey hunting season will begin on April 16th in all areas. All regular turkey seasons end on May 16th.
Youth spring turkey season is open the weekend of April 8th and 9th. One tom turkey statewide regardless of method of take. The harvest of non-bearded turkeys is prohibited.
A turkey taken during the youth spring season counts toward the regular spring turkey season limit of one turkey. Youth hunters who do not harvest a turkey during the spring youth turkey season may use their unfilled turkey license during the regular spring turkey season. Check your hunting regulations for further instructions.
Here are a few tips for turkey hunting. As with most hunting, nothing takes the place of scouting and boots on the ground.
If you don’t have access to private property, there are a number of opportunities and resources available to hunt turkeys on public land.
The one thing I’ve learned about turkeys is that many times there’s no rhyme or reason for some of the things they do. I’ve witnessed a mature and very wild tom turkey, seeing his reflection, peck the reflective, shiny bumper of a Ford F150 pickup truck, which happened to be mine. Also, and not funny at the time, a gentleman, with a classic 1956 or 1957 Chevrolet, was staying in an area state park. He requested a report be taken for his auto insurance.
You guessed it, a tom had indeed done some serious damage having pecked off the paint almost to the point that it looked as though someone had peppered it with buckshot.
There are a number of easy-to-use calls on the market. If you have time
most recently accomplished by Nick Piccininni during the 2020 season. Wyatt Sheets is on pace to crack the top 10 in total bouts for a career in OSU history. With 143 matches under his belt, Sheets’ at-large bid to the NCAA
to practice and have an understanding family, including your loyal canine, the diaphragm mouth calls are some of the most practical simply because they reduce movement and free up both hands. Do yourself a favor. If you have a set of shooting sticks— take them with you. If not, save your pennies and invest in a set of them or a stable gun rest. A gun gets heavy when you’re having to sit motionless.
The keys to a successful spring turkey season are locating an area with turkeys and scouting to learn the terrain looking for turkey tracks and turkey scat. Find areas along creek bottoms or ridges where they tend to roost in mature trees. Having a plan in place and knowledge of the area will help swing things your way.
If you can hear a turkey gobble, he is closer than you think. Hen and tom decoys work well together or even a hen decoy by itself. One rule of thumb that I have learned over the years is, the less you call, the better off you are.
Overcalling is tempting, but doesn’t always yield results. Let the tom dictate the conversation. If you have a bird coming your way and hasn’t gobbled in some time, the chances are he’s coming in silent.
In the Green Country area of Oklahoma, we have the Eastern, Rio Grande and Eastern/Rio Grande hybrid breed of turkeys. The Rio Grande breed tends to be more vocal than the Eastern breed. A Rio Grande tends to be easier to call in, at least in my experience. Throughout the central and western of Oklahoma, you will find the Rio Grande breed. In the far western panhandle of the state, there are a mix of Rio Grande’s and Merriam’s breed of turkeys.
The Osceola breed is located only in parts of Florida. If you complete the harvesting of all of these four breeds of turkey, it is considered a “Grand Slam”.
For a “World Slam”, you add in the Gould’s wild turkey which is found in Old Mexico, and small parts of New Mexico and Arizona.
Generally, turkeys, many times, hang up just out of range. One bit of advice — patience, patience, and patience.
Reach Kilgore at [email protected]
Championships guarantees him at least a tie for 10th place with Jamal Parks at 145 matches. He has been a staple in the Oklahoma State lineup since the 2018-19 season as he prepares to close out his college career this week.