First and foremost get out your turkey vest from last year and empty its contents. Don’t act innocent, you know you haven’t looked in it since you hung it on the peg last May. Do an inventory of everything to prepare for a shopping trip. Most mouth diaphragm calls are made of latex, a material that dries up over time so you’ll probably need some new ones. Rough up the slate call so it will make that seductive purr to draw in that dominant Tom. Chalk up the box call. Where’s the chalk? Yeah, if you are like me you misplace it every year and have to buy some more. Add that to the shopping list.
If you are like most hunters you have to try out something new each year. There are several new turkey loads on the market worthy of your attention. One that’s getting a lot of buzz this year is Winchester Long Beard XR. If you are going to try it out add some turkey profile targets to the shopping list to pattern test it. This is something all turkey hunters should take more seriously, patterning their shot. I’d suspect more turkeys would end up in the bag if hunters knew how their shotgun patterned a given load.
March weather is unpredictable but if you find time on an inviting day walk through the woods in the area you plan to hunt. Look for turkey signs such as scratching on the ground. Try to plan your walk early in the morning to listen for gobblers on the roost. Also toms start gobbling well before the season actually starts to it’s a good time to pattern the birds.
And if you have never turkey hunted before but are interested in getting started the WRC has both introductory and advanced classes coming up. The introductory seminar includes biology, hunting methods, calls and decoys, firearms and ammo selection, camouflage clothing, and turkey cleaning and cooking techniques. The advanced seminar is for experienced turkey hunters. They will focus on advanced biology, and more complex hunting tactics, calls and decoys. Advanced seminars also will include tips and strategies for dealing with stubborn, hard-to-hunt gobblers. Sessions are April 1 (Intro) and April 2 (Advanced) N.C. State University Cooperative Extension, Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center, 455 Research Dr., Mills River. Contact for more information is 828-684-3562.
Just a reminder about the upcoming public input session for Cold Mountain Game Lands. The meeting is scheduled for March 9th, 6 p.m. at Haywood Community College. As mentioned before, this is a gem of high altitude wildlife habitat in our mountains and as the newest of our mountain Game Lands still has a lot of undeveloped potential for grouse, deer, and turkey habitat.