When it comes to spring turkey hunting, it simply doesn’t get much better than the action in the state of Texas.
With upwards of 500,000 wild turkeys, most of those Rio Grandes, the hunting is Grade A Number 1 in many of the state’s counties that have yearly spring gobbler seasons.
But while that is the case in many counties across the state’s Brush Country, Hill Country, Rolling Plains and Cross Timbers ecological regions, it isn’t always so right here in Grayson County where the April 15 to May 14 spring season opens up this weekend.
But this year, local prospects are good after a couple of years of superb precipitation and the resulting good habitat that such rainfall brings.
That has left good numbers of turkeys in portions of Grayson County to go along with plenty of mature longbeards.
Meaning that all in all, the turkey hunting this spring should be fairly good in the local backyard.
But much like the county’s fabled bowhunting action is for big whitetail bucks, just how good the turkey hunting is locally depends on one key thing.
And that is a hunter’s location thanks to only a modest population of Rio Grande birds in the local woods.
Put simply, Grayson County doesn’t have a wealth of bucks and gobblers. But if you happen to find yourself in the right spot around Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, the southern shoreline of Lake Texoma or on one of the major creek drainages in the county, then the hunting can be good.
But if you hunt away from such prime real estate, then those odds of hunting success will lessen considerably.
With that idea aside, what can spring turkey hunters expect overall this year here in Grayson County?
Probably similar action to what North Texas hunters are finding west of here out in the Wichita Falls area where Dakota Stowers and the Kent Outdoors crew (www.kentoutdoors.com; 903-271-5524) are having an outstanding season.
“The birds are responding great,” said Stowers after an exceptional week of hunting that saw upwards of 10 gobblers get tagged out of the Bucks & Ducks Hunting Lodge near Bellevue, Texas.
“They are not henned up too bad and the gobblers were actually still grouped up pretty good until last week,” he added. “The great thing is that we’re seeing plenty of mature birds.”
What has that meant in the field?
Well, during the first week of the North Texas Rio Grande season (which opened up two weeks ago on April 1), Stowers and his guides had their clients batting seven for seven on mature gobblers.
Add in a one for one effort in southern Oklahoma (where the season opened up on April 6 across most of the state) and that was a pretty good week.
And this week? Even better if you can believe that.
“Man, we have been tagging plenty of mature birds in Texas,” said Stowers on Thursday. “We are still 100 percent everyday of the season so far in terms of hunter opportunity, although we did have a couple of misses.”
And before any of you ask, nope, yours truly didn’t miss one of those gobbling toms this past week. As some of my hunting pals love to keep pointing out, that’s something I’ve unfortunately done before in the past.
On Monday of this week however, there wasn’t any missing at all as the turkey hunting action was all but on fire for the Kent Outdoors crew and their clients.
“(Monday) was the best day of turkey hunting that I have ever experienced,” said guide Zane Fudge in a social media post. “We killed seven huge longbeards in one day, that’s right seven!”
And since then? The great turkey hunting action has continued with several more mature gobblers getting tagged on both sides of the Red River.
“So far, in two great weeks of hunting, the bird with the best single beard has been a longbeard that measured 12 3/8 inches,” said Stowers. “The gobbler with the best spurs so far had hooks measuring out at 1 1/2 inches.
If that’s how good the hunting has been a few counties to the west of the Denison/Sherman area, Stowers is expecting similar success here in Grayson County as the 2017 season opens up this weekend.
The bottom line according to Stowers is that if the local property being hunted has had turkeys in previous springs, expect solid action again.
“Grayson County properties with birds are looking great,” said Stowers. “From the sounds of them gobbling during our scouting missions, it looks like it is going to kick off just right in terms of timing.
“I think in Grayson, it will be hard and heavy hunting just like the rest of our season has been out west, he added.
What advice does Stowers have for local hunters? Don’t be late he said with a laugh.
“They have been gobbling a lot early on in the morning and into the mid-morning hours, then it has been cutting off,” said Stowers, a Zink Game Calls and Avian-X Decoys pro-staffer.
“Then it gets kind of quiet until maybe a few birds sound off again towards dusk.”
All in all, the signs seem to indicate that hunters can expect a great spring of turkey hunting action here in Grayson County as the 2017 campaign begins.
As long as you’re in the right place that is.
And as long as you don’t miss when Mr. Longbeard gobbles his head off and comes strutting right in.