-By Brandon Wikman
The forest ground has transformed from milky white to a refreshing Irish green! The songbirds have begun chirping tunes of sweet grace, while turkeys are proclaiming dominance with echoes of booming, limb-high gobbles. It is turkey season in Wisconsin.
This past weekend I escaped home, away from my college dorm confinements and into the woods for a quick crash course of turkey scouting. Before starting my walk, I tossed on my camouflage, grabbed a few locator calls and stuffed them into my pockets.
I approached an old logging trail with my eyes glued on any signs of turkey. I noticed a few turkey tracks scuffed into the dirt. Luckily enough within minutes I had already enough proof to know that there were turkeys hidden somewhere within my parents hardwood forest. It made my confidence soar and assured me that at least a few survived the harsh winter.
My main objective was to gather enough definitive turkey information, such as travel routines, food sources, and roosting areas, so when I returned home later this week, I’d be ready to put a bird down.
The afternoon sun began fading behind the clouds and flirting with the horizon. I visited a couple of old turkey-dusting sites before noticing a few deer creep craftily along the edge of the woods en route to a crop field. It seems that when deer leave their comfort zone of the thickets, turkeys enter it 20-ft high. I made my way to a few white pines and stopped to listen for any birds launching off the ground and into the pine needles. I didn’t hear a thing. The only noises were those of the forest; bugs, insects, and wood bearing creatures. Fortunately, I brought my trusty owl hoot tube and struck a note that would send chills up the spine of the infamous James Brown. I was reluctant to receive a snappy response from two toms. That was the only sound I needed to hear before driving back home for the night.
I learned over the past few years that pegging a bird is the best tool in tracking him down the next morning into shotgun barrel range. There’s no guesswork come morning and the anticipation of laying out a solid game plan is exciting. It gives you a concrete chance to toss around ideas with your buddy and make an attempt to figure out his next move.
Wisconsin turkey season is constructed rather differently than many other states across the US. Wisconsin consists of 6 seasons, which last only 5 days long. The season begins Wednesday morning and ends Sunday night. This is a great way to keep the bird’s mindset off being pressured by hunters. The downfall is that it only lasts 5 days. That is why scouting before season is critical to the success of having a tubby tom in your vest by afternoon.
I will follow up next week with my turkey hunt. The conditions look promising. The weather has been warm, birds sound aggressive and I’m about as ready as I’ve ever been. Hopefully I’ll be able to bust into the Wisconsin turkey season with a little edge of acquired knowledge and some luck to show forth.