Turkey Season 2016 Review

I love turkey hunting more than any other outdoor activity I pursue.  Theres so much about it to love that I cannot pinpoint what it is that makes me an insane person every spring.  From the obvious thrill of making a bird gobble, to the hen encounters where you get a free lesson in subtle turkey talk, I enjoy it all.

This spring season was like most of the rest, comprised of highs and lows, lots of miles traveled, good times with good friends, and a few dead turkeys.  My wife even had our first child before season ended so that was a bonus.  Here are some photos in chronological order of my 2016 season.


My dad drew first blood in Oklahoma.  He killed these two birds the first morning after working them up out of a wooded bottom.


My first day was a bit slower, but the second morning my luck changed when a gang of six or seven gobblers worked their way to me out of a rocky, rattlesnake filled canyon.  The survivors were still gobbling when I left.  If only I had more tags.


After we finished in Oklahoma, we headed north to Kansas.  The action was a bit slower than in years before, but again it was my dad who struck first.  He killed this bird the second evening.


Shortly after, this bird tried to sneak by and caught a load of 6’s in his face for his efforts.  He’s 4 for 4 so far.


I’d been hunting my favorite Kansas farm for two whole days and the there were two big longbeards that I came close on a couple times, but it just never worked out.  One time even included a harrowing stalk down a fence line complete with ticks, spiders, and briars.  I got set up and called them across a wheat field, but they gave up looking for me at 90 yards and I never saw them again.  The final day I hunted a new place on an Amish farm and had been there literally 30 minutes before I called up 4 strutters through some timber.  One shot collected these two gobblers.  We had planned to continue on to Missouri but with my wife being as pregnant as she was I didn’t think it was a good idea to be 12 hours away if stuff started to go down.  We packed up and headed east.


While I had to return to work in Pennsylvania, my dad set his sights on the West Virginia season opener.  It took a couple days but he connected on this Fayette County gobbler.


Dealing with turkeys that are reluctant to gobble is tough.  Add terrible weather to that equation and it gets downright difficult.  By the second week though, Pops had his second West Virginia bird in the bag.  Up north, however, I was having a rough go of it.  The only West Virginia land I have to hunt where I live is about an hour south near Morgantown and it is as public as it gets.  I killed turkeys here when I was in college but I could hunt every day and generally had a pulse on what was happening.  I came in blind and fighting rainy weather.  I heard birds gobble but they sounded 4 miles away.  No turkey.  Back to work.  Pennsylvania season opened April 30 and unlike West Virginia, I have some good private ground with lots of non boogered turkeys.  I hunted a few days before work and had one morning where I thought it was going to happen but some hens took them away.  I made note of where they went and made my battle plan for the next day.  When I woke up at 4 the next morning, my wife (who never stirs when I leave) was wide awake.  “I’m in labor,” she said.   The turkeys will have to wait.


On May 4, we welcomed John Steven.  Our first born and a boy, to boot.  Way better than any stinky old turkey.  When my parents brought me home from the hospital my dad put a camo hat on me and took a picture.  I did the same.  Welcome to the world, boy.  I hope you like doing this as much as I do.


With the new baby at home, I took off work and my parents came to stay for a few days.  While my wife and mother got to spend some time together with the new baby, the newly minted grandpa and I hit the woods.  The rain that had set in weeks before had failed to clear and we spent several mornings getting wet but hearing lots of birds and even had a gobbler almost to gun range before a trespasser scared it off.  Pennsylvanians love trespassing on ground they have no permission on.  It’s their favorite thing to do.  On my first day back to work, we snuck out for one last hurrah before I had to go in at 830.  The bird that gave me the slip on the 2nd of May was roosted by himself when we managed to get within 60 yards of his tree.  Due to the thick fog, he stayed put until almost 7:30 but when he hit the ground, he was 30 yards in front of me.  Game over mister turkey.

While it is technically season here until May 31, I’m finished.  It has been a great season and I made a lot of memories and gained a hunting partner.  Only about 300 days to go until it starts up again.