Turkeys , the word has many uses its true form describing natures tasty white meat, and "hey you turkey! put that cookie back in the jar". I find the word turkey is more useful that way... I got to thinking.. I do that every now and then, its funny how words have double meanings and multiple uses. Turkey however got its other derogatory meaning from its original owner... the epic bird of elusive splendor. If you have ever hunted these flying feathered fowl then you know what I am talking about. Every year as far back as the pilgrims, these birds have been hunted around the third Thursday of November. It's tradition for the birds as well and so they usually are no where to be found until the thanksgiving leftovers are being consumed. Thankfully there are two times of the year at which us hunter gatherer men ...(real men ) can legally hunt these long legged walkingbirds...... Ahhh.. spring season when the male turkeys (toms, old males, or jakes, adolescents) are preoccupied with more important matters then the ones pertaining to their safety.
During spring season turkey sound reproducers or calls are used. With these, an experienced caller can ask a turkey what he or she is having for lunch and the time. But more importantly to flirt. Yes I know it sounds a bit risqu'e however it is done tastefully... really it is entirely about taste. The calls aren't the only aid in turkey talking, fake turkeys (decoys) are used. I use the most pathetic looking jake turkey decoy no muscle tone on him and the shortest scraggliest beard no more then 4 or 5 whiskers in it, (4 if I'm hungry 5 if i am trophy hunting) too big of a jake could intimidate the bird you want to come in. The most important decoy however is the hen. You see during the spring season 2 male birds are allowed to be harvested, because it is the males we want, you need to have the female hen decoy to bring them in. Although its not likely a hen would come to a male decoy to even if he was a real icon . The hen decoy however needs to be a real looker. My own personal secret is to use a little flare. Hoop earrings are a good start and depending on how many toms you want to bring in you can add or remove some feathers.
These pictures are of some friends that came up for a successful spring turkey hunt. The top picture is Bruno with a tom that was good size, however he liked a close shave and had recently done so. Its a hunter's tradition to measure the beard and the spurs on a turkey for our records and story telling, (aka bragging rights). Its ok Bruno you can't eat the beard and you can use it on your jake decoy. The next picture is of Wally Coppini and his tom. Wally is the owner of North Coast Outfitters and it was a real treat being able to take him for a spring turkey hunt. We had a good time. The turkey hunt was my way of thanking him for a pheasant hunt he guided my father and I on.