The Vermont farmer gave me permission to hunt his big property. “Just don’t shoot one of the cows,” he said in his dry, Yankee way.
By the end of it I thought I might have to in self-defense. I parked my rig, scaled the fence, and started my way through his pasture. Seeing me, over a hundred cows first drifted off, then started my way.
At one point somebody in the group panicked – and they started going in about a dozen directions. Cattle wheeled and wheezed around me, the ground thudding with raw power. When my flashlight found an opening I ran toward it – fast.
The drama was worth it.
Not long after daybreak I called several gobblers with a few hens in – killed the strutting tom, and then a subdominant spring gobbler that just stood there wondering what just happened (filling your two spring tags in one day is legal in Vermont).
I felt like Santa coming out of there: one turkey on my shoulder and one in my vest.
This time the cows moved off as I approached, not wanting to fool with my big profile, I guess.
3. Deer Disturbances
Yearling deer often seem overly curious when it comes to turkey hunting decoys. I've even called them in with my yelping. You too?
Hunter numbers show whitetails are the top-hunted species in the country and an easy favorite for many.
Turkey hunting places a consistent second. You may love whitetails, sure . . . but a lot of you deer hunters also chase spring turkeys.
In fact, coyote, hog and turkey hunting are often intermingled. I've seen hog stampedes on turkey hunts. I've had those rascals take over a field while working a gobbler, and felt they ran the bird off . . .
But sometimes, with the right attitude, you can go with a Plan B. On hogs.
Turkey hunting can be tough. You can push hard for birds, encounter henned-up spring flocks and situations where killing a turkey seems downright impossible. It can also be easy, and you'll find yourself suddenly tagged out.
Both situations seem to promote hog hunting.
Florida. Texas. California. Spot-and-stalk. Hogs with dogs. Rifle hunts. These states and others offer opportunities.
Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.