Hunter’s Corner: Behind the scenes of a successful turkey season

For the Monitor
Published: 7/29/2019 7:51:47 PM

We have just experienced an incredible spring turkey season and understanding how it came about is interesting. The success started in the spring of 2018 with the breeding season. The chicks became poults and expanded the overall flocks. The next element was the winter that same year. It was a very kind winter to the turkey population. We now enter into the breeding season of 2019. For the most part, hens are on nests when the May spring turkey season begins.

A change in the law on hunting was also instrumental to the success, and that was allowing hunters to take two bearded turkeys in the spring season rather than one in the spring and one bearded or non-bearded turkey in the fall. A total of 903 toms were taken under this provision.

Right now, there are several Wildlife Managements Units (WMU) that have turkey population that equals or exceeds the habitat carrying capacity of the units. The largest tom checked in weighed 28 pounds. I can’t remember if, or when, a 28-pound tom was last checked in.

The spring-summer brood survey is now underway. What happens in the turkey life cycle is that hen turkey will sit on a clutch of eggs until they hatch. The chicks will start to develop flight feathers and they are referred to as poults. At this time, hens will create a mixed flock with poults of different broods with different hatching dates. A hen without a brood may join in the activities as a foster mother. I have seen a picture of a mixed flock taken at Jensen’s. These poults were hatched in early May and looked to be in great shape.

I am starting to get reports on this year’s acorn crop and it looks like it could be a bumper crop year. Last year was a disappointment when it came to acorns. What happens with the deer herd is their feeding habits change to accommodate what is available. Right now, deer are on their summer feeding range. There is so much available to feast on that they will not alter their feeding habits until acorns start to drop.

Last year, one of the areas we hunted, that in years past always had deer, had none because there were no acorns. Other spots produced deer as these were breeding areas. Both of these areas also did not have any acorns either. This was a very kind winter on the deer herd. I am very optimistic at the prospects of this year’s deer season – both from the aspect of an expanded size of the herd and hard mast possibilities.

The hot temperatures force the deer to bed down during the day and feed at dusk and dawn. They will also be drawn to areas containing water be it a small stream or pond. This time of year, there is incredible vegetation available to feast on and they can be viewed feeding in fields during the cooler parts of the day.

With August just approaching, if you are a tree stand hunter, the time has come to place your tree stand on your favorite runway.

There will be two distinct runway possibilities, both involve bedding areas. The first involves the runway between bedding areas and feeding areas and the second involves bedding areas and breeding areas. The first will change as feeding options change. The second will remain firm once the rut begins.

The advantage setting the stands now is there is no reason for deer to look up and as the season continues deer will view the stand as a natural addition. Be advised that in order to prune around your stand and establish shooting lanes you need written permission from the land owner.

With the surface temperature of Lake Winnipesaukee approaching bathwater, the thermal inclines have yet to set up. This means trophy sized salmon have gone deep, and to catch them, you have to go deep to present your streamer fly or lure in a position above then so that the fish is in a position at attack the offering.

What you are looking for on your fish finder are bait plumes. They appear as a column of bait fish. Salmon, lake trout and rainbow trout will be feeding on the outer edges of the plume. Trolling through or near the plume will increase your chances of a hook-up.

I checked in with Bob Wyatt and he confirmed that the thermal incline has yet to set up. Even without the incline, he is catching 4 ½-pound salmon. Wyatt charters on the big lakes and is an expert on putting you on big fish. If you want some fishing excitement in your life call Captain Bobby at 344-8698 to book a charter.

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