-By Randy Cooper
Now that deer season is over, I feel overwhelmed with everything I need to do and want to do in the coming months. There are so many things on my list that my head is spinning like Linda Blair in “THE EXCORIST.” I really wish I had the luxury of more time. Since I don’t, I have to cram as much as I possibly can into my weekends. Right now I’m having a hard time keeping my mind on any one thing.
I’m in the middle of my post-season scouting and still have more ground to cover. I’ve found some new funnels that I didn’t know about. I’ve also found new scraping areas with plenty of white oak trees for deer to feed under. I’ve marked a few places with surveyor’s ribbon, and on my topo map for further investigation. I’m not finished searching yet. It takes time, energy and lots of foot tracks on properties I THINK I know well. I’m always finding new places. Man, if I could only retire right now so that I could dedicate all of my time to this.
Post-season deer scouting is the perfect opportunity to prepare for turkey season. While I’ve been scouting, I’ve also been looking for turkey scratching, droppings and feathers. Even now, if you get into the woods about daylight you can hear hens fly down and give a cackle on the way. Hearing this is a good way to pinpoint favorite roost sights. Our turkey season opens on March 22nd. I’ve got some new shells to try in my shotgun as well as a new choke to see how it patterns. I’ll talk more on patterning my gun in another entry.
I love turkey season. It’s so much fun to hear a Gobbler and know he’s responded to my calling and is on his way. Between deer and turkey, my son always preferred turkey hunting. He loved hearing them fly down and start calling. That’s what really got him going. This year I’m going to try to get him into the woods again for the first time since his brain injury that changed his life. I’m looking for a ground blind with a floor in it big enough for me and my son in his wheel chair to get in. Hopefully, getting him back into the woods again will do wonders for his rehabilitation. He needs to be able to once again do those things he and I loved to do together so often before he became disabled.
Aside from scouting for both deer and turkey, I’ve been trying to take down my tree stands. With my wife’s help I’ve gotten a couple down. Like I said, just not enough time. It’s important to get them down not only for repair and to keep them from rusting, but the varmints will get a hold of them if they’re left in the woods too long. You have to protect your tree stands from squirrels, raccoons, opossums and especially the two-legged varmints who love to help themselves to stands.
I’ve also been busy taking soil samples and applying lime with my new Moultrie ATV broadcast spreader. It works great and has a remote control slide gate that, with a touch of your finger, lets you open up the gate as little or as much as you want depending on the kind of seed, lime or fertilizer you’re spreading. It was easy to set up and mount on my electric golf cart. It plugs right into a cigarette lighter and you’re in business. The motor is so quiet that you can’t hear it running at all. I really like it. It is another one of those tools that makes the chore of planting food plots and even liming or fertilizing your yard or garden a pleasure. Now I’m finished in a third of the time that it took me with a handheld spreader.
There is still so much to do! I’m going through all my hunting gear and putting it in scent-free containers. I’m separating other hunting equipment that I tried and just didn’t measure up. I’m tuning and practicing for 3-D archery shoots. With all that I have going on that’s deer and turkey hunting related, and with all the planting I have ahead of me, I think I’m going to put my two-day notice tomorrow - that means I’m quitting TODAY!!! A guy has got to have his priorities….RIGHT???? Well, at least I have some vacation coming to me (and a few sick days). Matter of fact, I’m feeling a little sick right now. I’d better go ahead and call in so I can be in the woods at first light. Next week I’ll continue with what’s ahead - getting ready for springtime planting, turkey season practice and some new equipment I’m using and how it works. I’ve got to go, daylight’s burning.