Auburn, Alabama—It’s that time of year. Hundreds of Americans come out of their winter slumber and adorn their camouflage armor. Turkey season is in full swing, and not a minute can be wasted.
Turkey hunting is an exciting sport that takes place March 15 through April 30 in most parts of Alabama. Though normally compared to deer hunting, turkey hunting is vastly different.
“There is nothing in this world like turkey hunting,” says Auburn student Vince Bonner. “No other type of hunting can give you such an adrenaline rush.”
While turkey hunting may be different from deer hunting, it is still incredibly vital to practice safe hunting in this realm as well.Spenser Bradley, a regional Alabama Extension agent in Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources Management, stresses the importance of safe hunting.
“I seldom carry decoys, but if you do, keep them covered or have some hunter’s orange on to keep other hunters from mistaking you for a turkey,” Bradley said.
In the past couple years, reaping has become very popular. Reaping is a style of turkey hunting that was originally used by native americans to attract turkeys with a dried turkey fan. With this technique, you want the turkeys to see your decoy and challenge it to a fight. This draws the turkey close and allows the hunter to shoot it from a close distance. Jeremy McCarty and Chancy Walters coined the term and started sharing this type of practice on different promotional videos and YouTube.
“This can be very dangerous, as you are imitating a strutting turkey,” says Bradley. ” I would never recommend this method of hunting.”
Practicing safe hunting ensures a better experience for everyone. Aside from being safe, it is also important to integrate patience in your hunting style.
“It may seem obvious, but patience is extremely important,” added Bradley. “Just because you don’t hear a gobble in the morning, or your bird stops gobbling, doesn’t mean he is gone. Most of the birds I kill are in the late morning, after most of the other hunters have packed up and gone home.”
Though it is essential to be safe and be patient, also take some time to enjoy the experience.
“I love hunting in the spring, the weather is usually perfect, not too cold and not too hot,” says Bradley. “I love waking up well before day-light, and listening to whippoorwills while I wait for a gobble. A mature gobble bouncing off of the trees and hollers is indescribable to someone that has never heard it before.”
So go outside, enjoy some beautiful weather while hunting, but remember safety first!
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