Turkey hunting can quickly become an addiction, especially in the spring. Spring turkey hunting is more fun than fall hunting, because the birds respond better to calls this time of year. This is their mating season, so they’re often pretty quick to rush to defend their territory and their hens from what they think is another male trying to put the moves on his girls.
That’s not to say they’re less wary in the spring, though. Some of these birds have been hunted before, and even if they’re suffering from a raging case of testosterone poisoning, they still have a deeply ingrained sense of self preservation. But if you know what you’re doing with a call, and if you’re able to sit perfectly still when they come to see who’s trying to cut in on their action, you stand a good chance of taking home a tom.
If you’re hunting for meat, you don’t have to hold out for a mature tom. You can take a jake, as long as the turkey has a visible beard. Females are protected in the spring, because they’re the ones who produce the next generation of turkeys. Make sure you can see a beard on the bird before you pull the trigger.
You still have plenty of time to hunt turkeys. The season lasts well into May, so if they’re not yet strutting and calling in your hunt area, come back again next weekend, or the weekend after that. Spring storms often interrupt the mating rituals of these strange-looking birds, but if they still have romantic notions, they’ll start up again after the storm has come and gone.
When the birds are done hooking up, it’ll get harder to call one in again. But they should keep at it for a few more weeks, so you ought to have plenty of time to lure one in. But you have to get out there to do it, so get going.