As April prepares to roll into town early next week, the North Texas spring turkey season is ready to begin.
Specifically, the gobbler getting campaign in the state’s 101 North Zone counties — which includes Cooke and Denton counties — begins in the morning, running from March 30-May 12 this spring.
If you’re a hunter here in Grayson County, you’ll have to wait a little while longer since the April 22-May 14 season for Eastern turkeys doesn’t begin for another few weeks.
That’s also true in Fannin and Lamar counties, which like Grayson County, fall under the Lone Star State’s 13 county regulation package for the Eastern wild turkey.
Across the Red River in Oklahoma, the Sooner State’s gobbler getting campaign is ready to begin too, starting next Saturday morning and running April 6-May 6 in most of the state. There’s also an April 22-May 6 season in several southeastern Oklahoma counties where Eastern turkey numbers are down a bit in recent years.
No matter where you hunt, as spring weather continues to take hold in both states, there are more and more reports coming in of longbeards starting to sound off and show off.
“Yes sir, they’ve been gobbling and strutting pretty good for about week and a half,” said Dakota Stowers, head man for the North Texas Outfitters (www.northtexasoutfitters.com; 903-815-9842) group out near Wichita Falls. “Turkey numbers are down a little bit where we are at, but not by much.”
Stowers and his crew had a phenomenal season last spring and he’s expecting more of the same this year.
“During the fall of 2017, you would see on every one of our properties something like 100 birds grouped up,” he said. “And last spring was superb for our turkey hunters out here. This year (during the fall of 2018), we were seeing 70 to 75 birds grouped up over the winter. So like I said, they’re down a little bit but not by too much.”
With gobblers not being terribly henned up just yet in the parts of southwestern Oklahoma and northwestern Texas where his crew guides hunters, Stowers is hoping for good opening bell hunts.
“We’re expecting another great season,” he said. “And were expecting a pretty good youth hunt in Oklahoma, which starts on Saturday. All in all, we expect to hammer down on them again this spring.”
If you plan on being in the turkey woods over the next few weeks, Stowers has some advice.
“First, Be where the turkeys want to be for early season,” he said. “Find out where they are roosting and then set up 100 yards away from it well before daylight.
“Second, go easy on the calling with a few yelps early on just to let them know you are there,” added the Avian-X and Zink Calls pro staffer and ex Denison Yellow Jackets football player.
What’s Stowers final piece of advice? Shoot straight when Mr. Johnny Longbeard struts into shotgun range!
You’ll recognize him of course thanks to his long beard, sharp spurs and inability to keep his mouth shut on a beautiful spring morning.
Until you give him a can’t refuse invitation to the dinner table, that is.