I had a chance to sneak out for a hunt with my dad this past week for season A of the Minnesota turkey season.
This year marked 15 years of hitting the bluffs and coulees of the Whitewater Valley in SE Minnesota together, and although we did not tag a bird, we had a great hunt. The weather was poor, and birds were henned up; hunting was tough, to say the least. The only bird that showed interest was a jake who put on quite a show for over 30 minutes. He was convinced that he had found his true love in our Avian X hen, he obviously has high standards.
Season A proved to be tough, and while weather and henned up gobblers had us fighting for a shot, my consensus is that the population of birds is down as well. After speaking with a few other hunters, we agreed that gobbling from the roost was far more spread out and less frequent than years past. A major ice storm hit the valley in January dumping heavy sheets of ice nearly half an inch thick. Many of the large white pines that frequently host birds as roosting sites were destroyed by the heavy coating of ice and I would assume the storm may have been hard on the local flocks. Time will tell as the season’s progress and more reports come in.
Spring turkey season is a great time to get back out in the field. Along with chasing down big Toms, it is a great time to scout for the upcoming whitetail season. Before it greens up, winter trails are blazed into the ground and very distinguishable. The open terrain makes scouting simple and new stand locations much easier to identify. Shed antlers reveal who made it through the winter and with a little luck, you can put together an early hit list of bucks on your property; assuming they are not temporary winter residents.
The season is still young, and more hunts are sure to follow. We will update you as we move through the season.