Back in the Woods
By Jim Bulger, Hunter Outreach Program Coordinator
The spring snows continue to come but soon they will fade to the green leaves of a new season’s birth for Colorado. Turkey season is just a month away and I find myself tuning calls, checking my old turkey vest and at times, day dreaming about those gobbles at first light.
I thought about how we might approach this new season for the novice hunter and will work to provide some insight in print about what the reader should attempt to put in practice in the woods this spring. Let’s begin this season with some quick tips about getting prepared for the season.
Quick Tip #1
If you are new to turkey hunting and do not know about using a call, go buy a simple box call and practice making a cluck and a yelp. Practice making the calls softly, then gaining volume. A basic box call is your best starting point.
Quick Tip #2
If you are new to the hunt, do not go spend a bunch of money on gear. A basic shotgun (12 or 20 gauge), some dark clothing, if not camouflage, a basic pack to carry your gear and a game plan is a good start.
Quick Tip # 3
Read turkey hunting books and watch some videos to learn about turkey habitat, behavior and areas of Colorado which can be hunted with an unlimited license.
Quick Tip #4
Do some scouting in areas you may wish to hunt. If you see some turkeys, just sit at a distance and watch them through a set of binoculars. Watch them interact, feed and communicate. See if you can tell the difference between hens, jakes and toms. Doing this when you are not in “hunt” mode will pay great benefits.
As you think about your hunt this spring, you need to consider some safety aspects of the hunt:
- Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return.
- Know where others may be hunting in your vicinity and do not assume you are the only one there.
- Be a defensive hunter. Set up in a position that you can see but are not able to be seen. Find a big tree to sit against and protect your backside.
- Be sure of the target and what is beyond it. Know the law for harvesting a “bearded” bird in the spring and what constitutes a beard on a turkey.
- Share the Woods with others. People come to Colorado to hike, bike, fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors. We must all share the land and enjoy our individual way of recreating in this state.