Finally, after an interminable winter, the kind we used to have back in the good old days, spring is ready to be sprung.

Finally, after an interminable winter, the kind we used to have back in the good old days, spring is ready to be sprung.


For turkey hunters that is, those North Texas nimrods — and I’m one of them — eagerly awaiting this weekend’s opening bell for the March 29-May 11 Rio Grande spring turkey hunting season across much of the northern two-thirds of the Lone Star State.


(Editor’s Note: Spring turkey hunting season for Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties falls under Texas’ Eastern turkey hunting regulation package and will not open up for another couple of weeks. That season runs from April 15-May 14.)


After weeks of below freezing low temperatures, several bouts of sleet and snow, and an almost constant north wind, what can spring turkey hunters expect over the next several weeks here in North Texas?


Warmer weather, some blooming bluebonnets and relatively good hunting says North Texas hunting outfitter J.J. Kent of Kent Outdoors in Pottsboro (www.kentoutdoors.com/; 903-271-5524).


"I think the hunting will be great this weekend," said Kent on Thursday. "I’ve checked out six of the properties I have in North Texas and southern Oklahoma (where the spring turkey season opens up on April 6) and everyone of them is loaded with birds!"


Kent says that North Texas hunters who have scouted their properties should do well this weekend, thanks in part to the abundant jake population of juvenile birds that are currently roaming the woods and prairies of North Texas.


"I think that we were able to get the right rainfall last spring and summer and it helped those young birds out," he said.


Kent says that the hunting will likely be easier during the first two weeks of the 2014 spring season until birds get a bit "educated."


But even then, the hunting should remain good through April and into May.


"As the season rolls on, the hens will completely separate from the gobblers and they will start moving to the nest," said Kent. "That will bring the opportunity to be able to fool some three and four-year old toms that will still be on the prowl looking for love."


While this has been a long, drawn out winter, Kent believes the cold weather has actually worked in the favor of spring hunters this season.


In fact, he believes North Texas Rio Grande turkeys are right on schedule with their strutting and gobbling activities.


"I think this cool weather has helped us as the birds are just now really getting fired up," he said. "Over the next week or two, it should only get better."


What kind of trophy gobbler prospects will hunters find this spring?


"There are a LOT of young jakes out there this year," said Kent. "I have seen several groups of upwards of 12 to 15 jakes in a group.


"As for trophy longbeards, they are out there, but you will have to sift through the young birds to get one."


Kent said for those willing to let the youngsters walk this spring, the stage will be set for an epic run of trophy longbeard hunting in 2015 and in 2016.


But that is then, this is now. And for now, the bottom line in Kent’s mind is that this spring should be a good one — if not a great one — for gobbling, strutting, and turkey hunting opportunity.


For those who are patient, the chance to bag a trophy bird sporting a double-digit longbeard and weighing upwards of 20-pounds can be had too.


So all in all, Kent expects this season to be a good year, if not a great one.


"The grass is getting green, the temps are climbing, and the birds are gobbling," he said. "I think things are shaping up for a GREAT spring turkey hunting season."