By JIM FOSTER
Special to the Parade
Even after years of hunting opening day makes me anxious. Spring turkey season in Texas is no exception and it’s only a few days away.
Last season on opening day I was sitting on the hood of my truck staring at the eastern sky. I knew that if I stared long enough, sunrise would come quicker.
With the new dawn came the sound I was waiting for. A distant gobble, then more followed by another and followed by the sound of my footsteps as I headed toward the sound.
I walked with a quick pace in the dim light. I was carrying a collapsible turkey hen decoy and its stake, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a vest filled with the stuff I can’t hunt without. Items like flashlights, spare turkey calls, extra face nets, camo face paint, camo ground cloth, assorted candy bars and a water jug.
The gobbler sounded off again and I froze. He was much closer. I looked around for a place to set up. A small mesquite filled the bill. I settled in, setting up the decoy and donning my camo gloves and head net. About the time I started to give a call, the gobbler sounded off again. The gobbler was rather close.
I adjusted my seat and was about to call again when a mature gobbler strutted into view. I had been caught with my gun down.
In his haste to impress the plastic hen the gobbler turned his back to me. When he did, the 12 gauge came up.
The bird made another complete circle and strutted right up to the decoy. As he cleared the decoy for the second time, he stopped, deflated and stood erect looking in my direction. At that instant I moved the gun barrel a few inches to the left, centered the bead on the gobbler’s neck and pulled the trigger all in one movement.
Turkey hunters should find hunting good this spring with a respectable number of mature birds in most South Texas counties. Even the effects of the drought should not be felt this season. Good nesting results the last several years will help hunters find mature gobbles.
Rio Grande turkey hunting season opens March 19 in South Texas and runs through April 28.
The spring Eastern turkey season is open in 28 East Texas counties from April 15 through May 14. Eastern birds are limited to shotgun only and a one-gobbler bag limit. Eastern turkeys must be checked at mandatory check stations set up in the counties having an open spring Eastern turkey season.
Rain or no rain this should be a good turkey season for Texas hunters. Several hunters will be trying for their first Texas Eastern wild turkey this year and I will be awaiting the results of their trip.
Editor’s Note: To see more of Jim’s writing and photography go to: http://fosteroutdoors.blogspot.com/. If you have comments or news for Jim Foster, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.