Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 10, 2012

Autumn turkey hunting real deal

To me, nothing feels more like hunting than turkey hunting during the fall season. Just something about it.

Tradition I guess.

Fall turkey hunting is no longer a tradition, though. Like all small game hunting, it has been usurped by the fascination with big bucks and bows. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Each person has only so much time and has to individually choose the most desirable hunting activity.

I’ll admit, if I haven’t taken a Maryland bow buck by the time the one-week turkey season arrives, I am a bit double minded while in the woods.

In fact, some of the biggest and easiest bucks to kill with a bow and arrow would be the ones I have seen over the years while I have been slipping through the mountain with my shotgun in hand.

Seven times I have had green-eyed bucks walk near with no indication they knew of my presence. Even at ground level it would have been a simple matter to dispatch them via stick and string.

But then I got to thinking, I wouldn’t be in those same spots if I was bowhunting. I’d be in a treestand or ground blind and may have not even seen these bucks.

I think the fact that Maryland has legalized crossbows changes that scenario. With a crossbow, it would be much easier to still-hunt, that is slip ever so slowly and secretively through the woods attempting to get near the quarry.

I recently had a young hunter tell me he had never heard of that kind of hunting. That didn’t surprise me. Not many people do it anymore. Most deer and even turkey hunting now is a matter of sitting in a treestand or ground blind.

I am one of these crazy, aging hunters who believes that every deer and every turkey is a trophy, that the success of the hunt is in the experience and the harvest, not necessarily in the size of bone or feathers.

I know. I’m in the minority.

I plunked a young gobbler on Nov. 1. Sat against a tree and waited in a spot I know turkeys like. The afternoon wait wasn’t long, though, and I took the first bird that came into shotgun range from a group of nine.

The bird, with black-tipped breast feathers and an itty-bitty snood, weighed an even 10 pounds, which is a pretty chunky November weight for this year’s boy bird. The sylvan smorgasbord is loaded this autumn and gobblers are — what else — gobbling it up.

In this gobbler’s crop were a substantial amount of small, hard red berries, one large acorn from a chestnut oak and a katydid. Even turkeys like balanced meals.

When I walk out of the woods carrying a young turkey in November I feel like I am the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of Saturday Evening Post.

Now, if only I could find paper shotgun shells again.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014