Gobble gobble gobble.
That is what the toms are finally doing. According to many turkey hunters, the toms are just now becoming more vocal. I, too, have noticed the absence of the toms answering the calls. Here are a few that have been able to call one in to the gun.
On the opening day of the youth hunt, Val DeCesare, his mom Diane of Scotia and I headed up a wooded hill in Lake Luzerne in hopes of getting him his first tom. It was a miserable day of rain and cold, and the birds were just not talking. Nothing answered my calls or appeared.
However, when the regular season opened, Val Jr. joined his dad and headed into the woods in Schroon Lake. Dad did the calling and was able to call in a real Adirondack tom. At 35 yards, Val Jr.’s Remington 16-gauge rewarded him with his first tom, and it was a beauty. It tipped the scales at 19.6 pounds, and carried a 91⁄2-inch beard and one-inch spurs.
Doug Bradley of Charlton has known Timothy Cotter since he was 5 years old, and over the years, he had told him and his family turkey hunting stories. Timothy said he wanted to go turkey hunting someday. That day was this year, shortly after Timothy and his dad, Dave, took the hunter safety course.
Timothy got to hear hens calling in the trees and thundering gobbles from the toms. However, an unseen hen busted the hunting group, and that was the last turkey they saw.
They returned to the same woods the next day and had hens calling and three long beards and four jakes were responding, all within 100 yards of them. When the birds took flight, Doug used his box call to get their attention, and they were coming.
Timothy was ready as two of the jakes came within 20 yards of the young hunter, and he had a choice: shoot or wait for the big ones. To keep their attention Doug made a soft yelp, and both jakes gobbled loudly which actually startled Timothy, but the birds held and Timothy squeezed the trigger on his Remington 870 and the young hunter had taken his first wild tom turkey. The jake weighed in at 18 pounds and carried a five-inch beard. As for dad, Doug took him out twice during the regular season, but unfortunately, he missed one.
Liz Reinhart, president of the Schoharie County Ridge Runners National Wild Turkey Federation chapter mentored young hunter Liam Viscossi and his dad on the opening morning of this year’s youth hunt on “The Walnut Hill Farm” in Root. It was not a long hunt.
It was over by 6:10 a.m. after Liz called in a trio of jakes and Liam dropped the biggest one at 20 yards. They then traveled to Mike Auriamma’s (Mohawk Valley Sharp Spur) house in Amsterdam to enter Liam’s tom in their contest. Liam finished eighth out of the 48 entries.
The www.adkhunter.com website had some photos of our local young turkey hunter successes during the weekend youth hunt. The biggest was a 22-pound, three-ounce gobbler taken in Mariaville by Amsterdam’s James Rumbaugh. The tom carried a 53⁄4-inch beard and 11⁄8-inch spurs.
Sam Phetteplace shot a 19.6 pounder with a 101⁄2-inch beard and 11⁄8-inch spurs, and Gabe Mann of Lake George got a Warren County tom that weighed 19 pounds carrying an eight-inch beard and three-quarter-inch spurs.
My weekly deer hunting on six out of the seven days I was in the turkey woods resulted in three passes on jakes and a hen that woke me up with her putts no more than 10 feet from where I was hiding. Actually, it was the biggest hen I have ever seen, and hope she is around come Oct. 1.
Please keep the turkey tales coming, especially those that were taken by the kids.