Great weather makes the turkey hunt feel like so much more

Sunday, October 8, 2006

With weather more suited for fishing than hunting, several hunting seasons opened this past week, including the fall turkey firearm season that runs the entire month of October and the short first part of the Canada goose season.

Most goose hunters would prefer cooler weather, but others like Casey Jones, Stockton, went on his first goose hunt and was rewarded with a great hunt and plenty of action.

Jones, who was still excited several days after the hunt, said, "We put out decoys and got into the blind just in time for the first flight of Canadas to head our way. What a sight to see dozens of big geese setting their wings and moving into the decoys. We had several flights pass over the decoys and before long, the three of us had our limit of nine big geese. The next day we still had lots of action. but you could see that the birds get smart very fast, but we managed to drop six more. It was a great first goose hunt for me."

Don Butler, Warrensburg, was another first time goose hunter who got his limit on opening day, but never saw a bird the next day. "They soon learn where the hunters are," he said.

Meanwhile the number of opening weekend turkey hunters was low due to the warm weather.

Although the turkey hunting pressure isn't nearly as heavy as it is in the spring, this October the warm weather found even fewer hunters afield.

George Foster, Harrisonville, was like a lot of hunters. Foster said, "With weather like we had over the weekend, it's hard to think about hunting so I put my boat in the lake and went fishing while listing to the Chiefs game. It turned out fine as I caught several big crappie and the Chiefs won."

With lots of time left in the season, turkey hunters will have some decent hunting weather as Bill Clark, Richmond, said. "There's something to be said about fall turkey hunting. Of course it's not like the spring hunt, but there are a lot of pluses to fall hunting, including fall color, less cover, less competition and hunting all day as well as being able to shoot any bird and not just toms. I don't just hunt turkeys when I'm out in October, I also look for deer sign and learn where the deer hang out before the deer season opens in November."

Other rewards to fall hunting as opposed to the spring hunt in our family is it's a great time for my wife, Donna, to gather lots of things for decorating for the Thanksgiving table. She picks out bittersweet, wild grape vines, colorful leaves and nuts and often shoots the Thanksgiving bird as well.

This past week I was reminded why I love the fall. While turkey hunting near a pond, I saw plenty of game, but not a turkey.

First off, just as the sun popped up, a turkey answered my call, but wouldn't come any closer than the dam of the pond. We talked for about an hour before the big bird left the area. Next off a 10-point buck came to the pond for a drink, followed in a few minutes by a pair of bobcats. Then a flock of wood ducks sailed into the pond while at least a dozen squirrels came down to the water's edge for a drink. All kinds of birds, including dove, also dropped in for a drink, adding to the colorful scene. Trees were starting to add a lot of color around the pond and while admiring the sight, a big bass surfaced and that ended my hunt.

I headed back to the house for some fishing gear and then back to the pond where nearly every cast brought in a big bluegill or bass. For years I had passed up fishing the small pond not knowing it contained some good size fish.

We are planning a family fish fry soon and should we not have enough fish, I know where I can catch some in a hurry.

Fall turkey hunting is different from spring gobbler hunting when the big toms are sounding off. The birds talk a lot, but say different things. Both seasons are good and with the high population of turkeys in the state, hunters are happy with both.

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