By Alex Comstock
Turkeys are a fascinating animal to me. I'd venture to say that most whitetail hunters who chase gobblers in the spring would tend to agree. This weekend I'll be headed to Nebraska for only my second ever turkey hunt and I'm quite excited. As I was thinking of why I was so pumped to get down there and hopefully shoot a turkey again, I wanted to go over a few reasons us whitetail hunters love to hunt turkeys as much as we do. Here's what I came up with!
1. We Need To Hunt Something That Breaths This Time of Year
For most hardcore whitetail hunters, a majority of the late winter and early spring is spent either scouting or hunting for shed antlers. Shed hunting can consume a lot of time, is a ton of fun and enjoyable, is challenging and rewarding, yet there is just something different about hunting something that can't elude you once locating. Turkeys provide that during a time of the year when we get antsy to hunt a living animal. It gives us something to go after and hone our skills hunting animals as we patiently wait to be able to be in a treestand again. It gives me an excuse to spend time shooting my bow (it might be your shotgun too) and getting it sighted in and ready to hunt with. Their not deer, but turkey hunting can still help you improve your overall hunting skills.
2. Turkey Hunting Can Be Wildly Different Than Deer Hunting
What really blew me away my first time turkey hunting is how different it really is than deer hunting, yet still so enjoyable. I think for a lot of hardcore deer hunters like myself, we take deer hunting to the max when it comes to the level of seriousness. When the time turns to chasing turkeys, it's much more laid back, and more of the type of fun where if you miss one, make a mistake, etc. it's not as heartbreaking. It's still frustrating, but just not to the same level as if you just shot under a mature buck.
Another facet of turkey hunting that is so much different than deer hunting is just the way in which you can set up on turkeys with a ground blind and decoys. I know there's obviously many ways to hunt turkeys, but in my first go at it, we went running and gunning with decoys and a blind, set up the decoys, popped up the blind and got to work. The first spot didn't produce, so we moved to another spot, did the same thing, and minutes later I was tagged out. I suppose one could argue it's similar to running and gunning for whitetails, but the biggest difference to me was the fact you could set up the blind out in the open, throw the decoys out in front of it, and call it good. Any blind I've set up for whitetails usually takes a lot of effort brushing in, and blending it in with its surroundings as well as possible.
3. You Still Get That Adrenaline Rush
One thing that is so special about deer hunting is the unique adrenaline rush. Either the moment you decide you're going to shoot a deer, or that split second you notice tines coming through the woods, your heart rate instantly escalates, you might start shaking, it can be hard to keep your composure, and we love it. There's nothing quite like that feeling. When it comes to turkey hunting, that adrenaline rush is still there, just in a different way. I know the first gobble I heard made the hairs on my neck stand up, and it got me pumped up. And then the whole act of calling in a gobbler is an adrenaline rush in itself. Going back and forth with one, and then when it actually comes in view and approaches the decoy is pretty special. Not to mention the whole act of watching one gobble. It's simply awesome, and there's nothing quite like that adrenaline rush either.
As I prepare for only my second turkey hunting trip of my life this weekend, I can't wait. I'm looking forward to finally being out hunting something again, and am hoping for success once again. It will be interesting to compare it to last year, see what I learn, and then reflect on it while I continue preparing for deer season this fall.