In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been some foul weather this spring.
Or is that fowl weather, as in the wild turkey kind?
Combine the recent rain, wind, cold and the annual breeding season madness and the result is that life is a little bit difficult these days for hunters — and guides — in North Texas and southern Oklahoma.
As the 2019 season rolls on towards the finish line next month, the first problem that most spring hunters are having right now is to try and overcome a good supply of mature longbeards.
As in wise, cagey old Ph.D gobblers, the kind with a season or two — or even three — under their belt.
While such birds are heavy in weight and provide plenty of succulent meat for the dinner table, not to mention long beards and sharp spurs, they are difficult to fool and tag.
Especially when there aren’t many jakes and two-year old birds out there this year, leaving little in the way of breeding competition as the wildflowers bloom and spring storms roll through.
That means that the problem of toms being henned up, always a problem and even more so this spring, is problem No. 1 to be overcome right now.
“Yes sir, they are henned up still, big time in fact,” said Dakota Stowers, head man for the North Texas Outfitters group (northtexasoutfitters.com; 903-815-9842).
“Our key piece of advice each day is that if you don’t get on ‘em right off the roost in the early morning, back out and catch them around 12 noon to 3 p.m. when the hens are off laying eggs,” said the guide from Denison.
In those midday hours. Stowers said gobblers will usually be alone and sometimes easier to kill.
Another recent problem are the paint peeling winds that storm systems are bringing to the area.
“This whole week has been windy as all get out,” said Stowers. “In addition to the gobblers being henned up, it’s also been some hard hunting because of the wind. If you don’t kill one early off the roost, as the day gets along and the wind picks up, they can’t hear you calling unless they are within 100 yards of you.”
How does a turkey hunter battle the wind?
“What we have been doing is setting up on property roads and cattle trails that we know the turkeys are using and it’s just a waiting game at that point,” said Stowers.
The guide said recent heavy rainfall isn’t helping either.
“The rain is — pardon the pun — putting a damper on us because our creeks will come out of their banks and flood the properties,” said Stowers. “In addition for making it messy and harder for us to get around, it also causes the turkeys to move to other properties.”
Meaning that Stowers and his guides are having to stay on top of things each day, able and willing to formulate a Plan B — or even a Plan C — along with staying mobile.
So far, that game plan is working.
“Despite all these challenges, all in all, we are still killing plenty of turkeys,” said Stowers. “We’re over 20 birds now for the season and we still have our three year streak of 100-percent opportunity to pull the trigger on a bird still intact.”
While there has been a miss or two over the last few years, Stowers and his guides are consistently putting clients on gobblers as each new day dawns.
And he’s hoping for more of the same as the 2019 season keeps rolling on.
“It’s been a great season so far,” said Stowers. “And hopefully it stays that way to the very end.”
Meaning that you too can find success on the property that you hunt.
Scout your ground, know the movement patterns and daily habits of the birds you are hunting, and have a couple of plans ready to go.
And with a little luck, you’ll soon need your favorite turkey recipe, even if the recent weather has been a little more foul than most turkey hunters would like.