NY Southern Tier Fall Turkey Opener

 

Today marks the day of the Southern Tier opener for fall turkey hunting in the great Empire State.  Although the afternoon is reported to be very warm, the morning greets us with abundant sunshine and crisp temperatures. The turkey woods I have had a few occasions to step foot in so far are loaded with acorns, beechnuts. The apple and fruit trees, berry bushes have bore fruit this year, maybe not as much as some years. Most likely they’ll forego the fields for acorns, and other nuts and seeds as grasshoppers and crickets are about done for the season.  The reports of sightings so far have been very mixed from jakes and Jennies nearly the size of adult hens to the size of pheasants and yet again the size of ruffed grouse, A mix of first, second and third nestings. In my neck of the woods, the seven valleys of Cortland County, the numbers are still suppressed compared to five years ago, but I would submit a bit better than the prior two years, We have a way to go with warm dry springs and reduced bag limits to bring the flocks back up. Poaching remains as an issue  and a scourge among our fraternity.

The past two fall reports show the reported takes are down which is the goal of the changes in the fall seasons. I am steadfast in the opinion that recommendations of gobblers only in the fall and restriction of taking turkeys from elevated platforms would further reduce the fall take while favoring the enjoyment of those who purposely wear a turkey vest in the fall and or engages in the time honored pastime of using turkey dogs to break the flocks.  As a professed bowhunter I do understand the desire of incidental opportunities from a tree stand. However the numbers of those with the single minded purpose of pursuing turkeys in the fall are dwarfed by those that bag a turkey as happenstance while on deer watch. I find it ass-backwards that the seasons were not directly influenced/changed to suit fall turkey hunters, turkey doggers rather than the sidebar interests of deer hunters. It is still a bit disconcerting as to the decision making by our folks at the NYSDEC.

Opening day is of importance as given to national holidays and religious observances. This year finds me going into work to put in a 12-14 hour day and spending a little bit of the morning working on my laptop, with my bride and our two weimaraners.  Despite long days, I do need to make a guest appearance at home from time to time. Although I might view not being afield a moral offense, I appreciate having gainful work and good customers which I’m smart enough to keep as customers.

 

 

Our beloved Jake who is turkey crazy and would love nothing more than to break a flock of turkeys. Actually he tries to catch them, not break them, it works. Yesterday he had surgery to remove what is believed to be a malignant skin growth (mass tumor)  and will not be chasing much of anything until after the season has ended here. It is worrisome and we await to learn the prognosis.  As in your homes, our weims are essential family members and we spoil them as you do yours.  Abby, our female weim loves to chase turkeys, will bark at the break, but since having surgery seven years ago to remove a 10″ abscess, encapsulating a malignant tumor on her small intestine, her stamina has been reduced and does not range far or can go for more than short excursions.

With demands of my professional life, and not being able to bring along my favored turkey chaser with me, I’ll enjoy the stories I learn from your grand days afield later as the day marches on.  I expect I will catch a few hours here and there over the two weeks of our season as a few hours in the turkey woods is a welcomed reprieve in what will be long days at work. There was a planned fall hunt in Maine that I looked forward too, but with the current demands of my tech company we’ll make the trip next spring.

From all of us at Joyner Outdoor Media we wish you a grand day in the turkey woods, full of adventures and memories to be had by all!

 

-MJ

 

© 2017 Mike Joyner- Joyner Outdoor Media

50/58 Year Anniversaries Of Wild Turkey Seasons In New York

As the New York Southern Tier wild turkey fall season is set to open on October 21st, it will mark the 58 year anniversary of the fall season going all the way back to 1959. The spring turkey season this past spring shares a 50 year milestone with the founding of the New York Outdoor Writers Association (NYSOWA) which was celebrated this past weekend in Lake George, New York.

The first fall season held in the fall of 1959 premiered as a three-day either-sex season, limited to two southern tier counties (Allegany and Cattaraugus.) It was reported that there were two hundred and fifty successful hunters in the inaugural modern day season.

The first modern day spring turkey season in New York premiered in 1968 and was held in five Southern Tier counties (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, and Steuben.) It was reported that there were one hundred and thirty five gobblers (males, bearded) successfully tagged in the inaugural modern day season.

The anniversaries are a significant marker in the historical timeline when reviewed against the backdrop of a grand conservation story of the wild turkey and its restoration from nearing the brink of extinction, from alarming low numbers. At the turn of the century (1900’s) the logging and farm practices of the day coupled with unrestricted harvesting for individual subsistence and market hunting wreaked havoc on wild turkey flocks.  These practices reduced the populations to the point it was thought they were eradicated entirely from New York.   Currently, the estimated population in New York would dwarf the estimated population of the entire Continental United States a hundred years ago, dipping as low as an estimated 30,000 birds.

As modern day sportsmen/wildlife conservation practices took hold, they were adopted by state wildlife agencies and implemented across the United States. In the early 1950’s efforts were made to introduce farm raised turkeys but with little to no success due to their inability to evade predators. With the adopting of live trapping, furthered by the use of net cannons, the process of trap and transfer began coincidentally in 1959. In the years leading up to these programs, wild turkeys established flourishing populations in Pennsylvania that expanded northward into southwestern New York prompting both a three day fall season and to kick off trap and transfer operations. Since the early trap and transfer program began in Allegheny State Park, turkeys have been reintroduced to nearly every county within the Empire State and reestablished themselves with these efforts, conservation practices, and ethical hunting by sportsmen. Flocks can be found across the entire state in nearly every county including feathered sightings in Manhattan, Staten Island and well established flocks out on Long Island. New York wild turkeys were also used to help restore populations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Province of Ontario.

Although the estimated peak populations are reported to have occurred in the mid to late 1990’s with some northern counties peaking five to ten years later, the peak estimates of 250,0000-300,000 birds during the golden age of restoration has pulled back to estimates of 160,000- 180,000 currently. As conservation efforts and research continues, weather impact on brooding success models, land use studies, landholding capacity models,  and avian (and other) disease studies are put forth to provide scientific tools for wildlife agencies to help manage populations, set seasons and bag limits to maintain healthy and flourishing populations for many years to come.

We celebrate a grand milestone in the conservation success story of the wild turkey restoration and comeback in New York. The thousands of hours of efforts of wildlife professionals, conservationists, volunteers,  modern day hunting practices of ethical sportsmen, funds raised from earmarked taxation of hunting and fishing equipment purchases along with funds raised by thousands of donations, superfund dollars and grants from the National Wild Turkey Federation have made this success story in New York possible.

-MJ

© 2017 Mike Joyner- Joyner Outdoor Media 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not forgotten 9/11

As the anniversary of 9/11 arrives. 16 years have passed… 2,977 were murdered for simply being at work, 6000+ injured for also showing up for work. Heroes in uniform, some not in uniform also perished or died later on from various cancers and fatal lung diseases believed to be caused from conditions at ground zero.

 

 

‘The memories, the feelings from that day have not faded, nor diminished. It was to be a perfect blue bird day in September,‘ as I wrote this time last year. This near perfect September day morphed, shattered for these ten thousand (more to be counted as time marches on) victims in mere seconds for many, some in agonizing, terror filled minutes, hours yet for others. Our world view, my world view would change from what would be learned later as we begun to understand the evil that transpired. In the ripples of life, our greatest loss is to never know or benefit from what great deeds and accomplishments from all those lost. All too clear for their families, their lives changed beyond our comprehension.

I have not forgotten… It holds far more relevance as we witness a great divide among us now. Have we forgotten how we felt having fellow citizens mass murdered as a political, psychotic twisted religious statement? We united as Americans. We still are Americans, you just wouldn’t know it by the constant barrage of Trump Derangement Syndrome afflicted pundits, reporters and domestic terrorists such as Anti-Fa with the liberal left actually supporting the likes of Anti-Fa , or even more surprising, supporting the suppression of free speech. Who knew?

With too many similarities to the very terrorists that slaughtered thousands of innocent fellow Americans, It is incomprehensible that we have not retained, and held close to our hearts the lessons taught in blood, that of unity, empathy and compassion for one another in the most adverse circumstances. The willful ignoring, even embracing these left winged. marxist terrorists groups for political gain is a national disgrace. We condemn the extreme right such as the KKK and other supremacist groups and yet we have an ideology (liberal, left) prevalent in our country that cannot bring itself to condemn all groups that promote extreme hate and violence. 9/11 painted a stark face on hate based in irrational ideology, religious extremism that depicts one superior over the other. Even the national disasters of epic hurricanes evokes politicizing while innocent lives perish. We are far better people than this.  

We are Americans. With God, Family, and Country as our foundation, there is no room for party affiliation or Ideology to be first above our most important priorities. We came together in the aftermath of 9/11.

 

I have not forgotten those that perished on this fateful day of September 11th, 2001.

I have not forgotten those that gave all in order save lives. Heroes that walk among us to this day.

I have not forgotten those  who survived only to succumb to it days, months, and years later.

I have not forgotten that we came together as Americans.

I have not forgotten that we are all equal by way of our maker.   

 

This is republish each year as I find it so important to include:

Each anniversary of 9/11, my thoughts return to two fellow NWTF members Cynthia Giugliano & Walter Weaver that we lost that day. A memorial webpage can be found at http://www.turkey-talk.com/9_11_01_memorial.htm

As you toe up on the start line of your favorite road race or triathlon or enjoy another fall season hunting our nation’s forests, fishing the lakes and streams of our great land, I ask that each of you give thought to those that serve us. In your travels I ask that you take the time to thank those that serve us, and continue to support what they do for our country.

Along with counting your blessings, say a prayer for all innocent victims, and that you do something on your part to make the world just a little bit better for those around you. We can all benefit from a little emphasis on acts of kindness.

 

© 2017 Mike Joyner- Joyner Outdoor Media 

Jerry Antley- Legendary Call Maker Inducted In The Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame

Jerry Antley, Peyton Mckinnie (r)

Some time ago, in fact, a little over a year I was contacted by Peyton Mckinnie hailing from Marion, Louisiana about possibly doing a story on a gentleman from his home state known by many turkey hunters as Jerry Antley.  As I lay out a few known facts attributed to Jerry  you will come to a similar conclusion as I, that he is a family man, man of faith, an outdoorsman with a firm dedication to his passions and his craft.  Steadfast is a term that came to me while reviewing and researching materials to write this story worthy of a man of his stature.

As I briefly review a partial list of Jerry’s history  and noteworthy accomplishments, he will be newly inducted into The Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame, class of 2017.

 

Jerry Antley

A lifelong resident of Downsville, Louisiana  Jerry continues to make calls at Cedar Hill Game Calls (which he founded) to this day. Although he does not publicly list his age, it is known he was married to Vicki Allen for nearly fifty four years until her passing in 2013.  With four children now grown, along with nine grandchildren, and six great grandchildren it is a wonder when he has the time to make all these calls.

It is stated that he began hunting in 1963 for whitetails, and added turkey hunting to his pursuits in 1972.  Nearing a hundred wild turkeys carried back home over his shoulder it is reported that the local bachelor groups of longbeards are plotting/planning for his early retirement from the sport.  As you begin to notice, a pattern emerges as to his dedication to matters at hand. Jerry extended his passions for the forests of his home state, the pursuit of whitetails, wild turkeys and turned it to vibrant and healthy game call business. This would be the beginning of Cedar Hill Game Calls, LLC which he founded in 1981, He would later expand his company with the acquisition of  CamoCord, LLC in 2003.

 

Jerry Antley

The most well known call that Jerry produces was also the first entry into  the market. The Legendary “Little Scratch Box!”. They have sold over 50,000  all of which are hand-made here in the U.S.A..  Being constructed of cedar which is well known among turkey hunters and call makers alike to produce clucks, purrs, and yelps that not only please our calling sensibilities but more importantly fools a gobbler to take one step too many in your direction. With a little bit of instruction even I could have you clucking and purring before you left the room, yelping with a little bit of practice. The clucks are done the best on this cedar scratch box, more convincing than by use of other styles of calls in my opinion. You could close your eyes and swear you could hear the hen’s beak snapping shut as she clucked. Yes, it is that good in the turkey woods.  The company also offers deer calls, duck calls, elk calls, predator calls. a variety of other turkey calls, and a host of hunter accessories that would be ‘must have’ for your trips afield.

 

Joining the NWTF in 1977, Jerry would become a charter member and served as president of the North Central  Louisiana NWTF Chapter. He would later become a charter member of his local chapter , the Union Long Spurs, served as President for the first three years. Currently  serving on the Board of Directors. His volunteer service has spanned so far an impressive thirty seven consecutive years. In that time Jerry would also serve as Louisiana State Chapter President, and VP, serving  Louisiana State NWTF Board of Directors. for twelve years.  Jerry  was elected to the National Board of Directors for the NWTF in 1984 serving for six years,

Other notable history with the NWTF:

•  Silver Life Member of NWTF •Runner-Up 1983 Louisiana State Turkey Calling Championship.  •“Grand Champion” 1984 Louisiana State Turkey Calling Championship.

• Grand National Calling Contest Judge for NWTF the past 20 years.

Along with his call making business, and what has to be a busy time with family, Jerry is a Southern Baptist by faith, serving as a Deacon at Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, Downsville, La. Since 1978. In addition to his role as Deacon, he has also served as Chairman of the Deacon Board for the past twenty years.

We congratulate Jerry on a stellar career, dedicated volunteer service, and a well deserved award of recognitions for all that you have done and contributed for our natural resources and to our greater benefit.

http://www.legendsoftheoutdoors.com/

http://www.cedarhillgamecalls.com 

 

-MJ

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media

 

 

The 2017 Lake Erie Experience- A “Must Do” Destination- Dunkirk Harbor

The great Empire State by any casual observation is one of our nation’s meccas for natural resources and endless opportunities for recreational pursuits. With a critical eye it is by reasonable opinion one of the top five states arranged only by personal recreational preferences.

It is now entirely possible to nudge a hard core turkey hunter to enjoy nearly as much, another sportsman’s activity such as fishing. It is a most somber admission after a quarter century of long beard mania madness. In all honesty fishing came first as a wee young lad, whitetails in my mid-twenties, and in 1993, gobbler chasing took over everything. Prior priorities were relegated to distant second and third rankings of outdoor passions.

I accepted the invite with eager anticipation to attend the 9th Annual VIP Fishing Day taking place out of Chadwick Bay Marina in Dunkirk Harbor. Timing with my workload fell into a rare alignment of the stars making it feasible to get away. It would turn out to be a great mid-week getaway to enjoy several days of great fishing, camaraderie, and an opportunity to meet with local leaders, and tourism professionals to exchange thoughts and ideas as well as the requisite tall tales of fishing adventures.

Dave Barus had set up ‘Chautauqua County Media Fish Camp 2017’ for us to take in and experience what the area has to offer. I cannot thank him enough for handling the logistics and details of the excursion. He has a bright future in herding cats as outdoor writers are an independent group of individuals. Sunset Bay Cottage would be base camp for the duration. Located in Sunset Bay it is a great place to meet up, enjoy the beach and dining establishments, all within short walking distances. Past NYSOWA President Wayne Brewer, Leon Archer, Steve Colley, Wade Robertson and Collin Voss would be fellow camp mates and made for a great fish camp. Steve and Wade hailing from Northern Pennsylvania would join us for the latter two days while Collin, our youngest member in camp would endure initiation rights and would enjoy the third day out on the lake. Ultimately Collin out fished us all and kept his shirt tail intact. The conversations and storytelling at camp are the very reasons we cherish our time there!

First morning out we would head to Dunkirk Harbor only to find rough conditions which had already forced a number of boats back to the marina. We met up with local bass pro’s Scott Gauld and Scott Callen and decided to head over to Cassadaga Lake for bass, both smallmouth, and largemouth on much calmer waters. We fished the upper lake and enjoyed a relaxed and fun time catching smallmouths along with a few muskies. A special thank you to their sponsors Denali Rods, Kamooki Lures, and Venom Lures for being perfect equipment choices for our time on the lake. After a morning of ‘impromptu testing’, I will be adding them to my A-list for ‘must have’ gear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Later in the day we paid a visit to Merritt Estate Winery located in Forestville, New York. We met up with Bill Merritt the owner and enjoyed a fine tasting of current offerings. With my ties to the industry in the Cortland area, I hope to see their offerings there. The staff is to be commended for their prompt and friendly service. They present a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy the fine wines they craft. Being a big fan of New York craft beers, distilled spirits and wines, the offerings at Merritt Estate Winery was worth the trip. My wife and I routinely stock our wine racks with New York wines and will add Merritt estate wines to our preferred vino to have on hand.

We would take a short walk over to Cabana Sam’s Sunset Bay Grill later that evening to sample the dining fare of the area. Blacken Grouper Reuben was my choice, and I would go out of my way to go back there again just for that. I’ll express empathy to my other camp mates that could not be there for the dinner outing as it was a meal not to miss.

There are many other wineries, craft beer companies, and distillers in the area. It is my only regret of the trip that I could not stay an extra day or two to enjoy tastings at each of them and further enjoy the many dining choices of the area. It is my thought that the Tourism Bureau has a lot of great offerings to work with and promote. I will return to the area for that very reason.

Our second full day in Dunkirk would have us out on the Great Lake Experience Event with conditions a bit more hospitable for fishing. Although I purchased nearly the full accordion worth of licenses each year to hunt and fish, it was appreciated that the day was deemed a free fishing day as to attract invited guests experiencing their first time on the lake. The event matched up boat captains with outdoor writers such as myself, many folks from the surrounding county tourism bureaus, NYSDEC, local politicians, county dignitaries, state legislators, and Congressmen. It was estimated that over sixty participants were paired up with twenty-two well-experienced boat captains who went above and beyond to show all of us a great morning out on Lake Erie.

After being assigned to come aboard 365 Sportfishing Charters, I headed out with Chautauqua County Executive- Vince Horrigan, fellow outdoor writer Paula Piatt, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO- Todd Tranum, Congressmen Tom Reed Staffers- Jaqueline Phelps (Regional Director) & Alison Hunt(District Director), with Captain Mark Hitcome at the helm. We were after walleyes, as were the other charters. After navigating several miles out into the lake, we were in the thick of it at water depths of 70-100 feet. With a full complement of planar boards and down riggers rigged, we soon had one pole after another set hook, and there was plenty of action. Everyone caught a pile of walleyes along with a few silver bass. There were seven or eight just under the 15″ legal size, and we kept seventeen walleyes altogether. We came in an hour before the appointed time due to the lake kicking up five-foot waves. One of the walleyes I caught was one of several that came in just shy of four pounds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once docked and the fish taken care of we headed to the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. A luncheon get together was scheduled with invites for all the participants and special guests including NYSDEC Chief, Bureau of Fish and Wildlife Services- Steve Hurst, Chautauqua County Executive- Vince Horrigan, City of Dunkirk Mayor- Willie Rosas, NYS Assemblyman District 150- Andy Goodell, and US 23rd District Congressman Tom Reed along with other local dignitaries. Zen Olow, chairman of the Great Lakes Experience event and Club President MC’d the affair. Presentations covered issues concerning pollution in the Great Lakes that eventually flows into Lake Erie and on to Lake Ontario, upcoming/pending legislation initiatives, club awards, and comments from distinguished guests. The main course on the menu as you may have guessed was walleye cutlets which in my opinion is the tastiest culinary delight of any game fish caught in New York State. I would have to admit that begrudgingly. As a young boy, I totally believed that Northern Pike was the best fish to eat. My grandfather cubed them into one-inch pieces within minutes of being taken from the live well and placed directly into a fresh pot of fish chowder simmering on grandma’s stove. I can still remember his old F-100 coming down the driveway with giant Northern’s still jumping in the bed of the pickup. The delicious smell of fresh chowder simmering is one that stays with you all your days. Now that I leave you hungry… With over a hundred people attending, it was as much fine eating and education that you could possibly pack in between the four walls of the club.

Our second evening was spent in camp with home cooking courtesy of our host, fine wines, and the best of company. David’s grandson Collin, would join us that evening and was a welcomed addition to our camp. Collin is an impressive young man and a exemplary example of his upbringing. The fact that he out fished all of us is something we’ll have to let go of and come to grips with eventually… all kidding aside it is a pleasure to have him in camp.

Our last morning on the lake would pair myself, Leon and local area outdoor writer Gene Pauszek with Sassafras Fishing Charters. Captain Lance Ehrhardt along with Zen Olow would be in charge of another great day out on Lake Erie. the lake would be a bit calmer than the day prior. Once all the rigging was complete we would not wait long for the hooks to set and the reeling to start. Although a little slower pace than the day before we would limit out on walleye. With calmer waters, we relaxed, told tall stories, cheesy jokes and caught plenty of walleyes! A bit of back story as few days prior to the V.I.P. event, I would learn that Eastern Lake Erie Charter Association members Lance and Zen, along with Joe Jemiolo (passed away in 2014) were the main forces behind the creation of the annual V.I.P. fishing event. All the walleyes cooked up for the grand luncheon were made possible by Eastern Lake Erie Charter Association Members in concert with Sunset Bay Shoot Out, Razor’s Big Dawg tournaments. We were in the company of great people, great volunteers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is a focused opportunity to couple what we so love and are endeared to as sportsmen to convey, to educate those that promote tourism opportunities, and ultimately makes decisions, crafting legislation that impacts our sport. It is also an opportunity for outdoor professionals & sportsmen to learn and gain insights as to how decisions are formulated. We as sportsmen can provide data or participate in the research needed to enhance our great pastime, and attract newcomers to a grand recreational experience.

Maintaining and improving the natural resources, a world class fishery was the topic at hand. I’ll speak for all that attended in that we enjoyed a grand experience of a vibrant and healthy fishery. It is a fine example of what can be achieved in the Empire State. As if you need further prodding, the word among the group was that the current state of the fishery on Lake Erie promises to be great fishing for years to come given the abundant and diverse age classes of walleye and of other fish species.

As I titled this scattered collection of impressions and honest opinion it holds so true that it is a “Must do in Chautauqua County from Dunkirk Harbor” destination. It is a gem of our great state and one that I will return to with my wife to enjoy the great fishing, as well as the other offerings that the area excels at. As an outside observer, it is impressive the number of groups, people from very different interests working together to build up a healthy ecosystem, a vibrant fishery, and a destination well worth the trip. All of us who cherish the state’s natural resources, the quality of its fisheries extend a very large thank you to all that have made it so successful.

-MJ

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media

Trespass In NY- Turkey Hunter? Deer Hunter? Fisherman?

For those of you that are not familiar with the great Empire State, it is a very short drive from one of the largest cities in the world, even shorter drive from the lesser known cities to find yourself amongst the great farmlands, forests, mountains and fisheries of New York where I call home. Despite bizarre politics, stifling regulations, punitive taxation (#1, highest in the Nation) that has driven out industry and the prosperity that goes with it, it is one of the most resource diverse states when you come to appreciate the four million plus acres of public lands, nearly another million more acres under conservation easements, the raw natural beauty, and recreational opportunities we have here. I reside with my bride in one of the seven valleys of Cortland County which I am more than fond of. The topic at hand actually applies across our great nation and not soley unique to New York.  As I truly love what I have here as my little piece of paradise, I’ll refer to my beloved state as my frame of reference.

With such highly coveted resources, much of which is available to everyone as public lands and public waterways, the subject of trespass, destruction of property, theft and other criminal behavior appears to be more common even in the off seasons, despite numerous large tracts of state and federal lands for all to share. My comments are aimed specifically towards sportsmen and sportswomen. Criminals, common thieves, polluters are not likely to be moved or swayed by any opinions you, or I may have or convey. As a landowner and as a member on a hunting lease from time to time I have that set of perspectives. I also hunt and fish on a mix of state game lands, waterways and a fair amount of private holdings that have granted me the right to spend time on and enjoy. I’ll break down my thoughts in lists for each view point.

As a hunter:

  • Do we show ourselves as being fortunate and privileged to be granted access to private lands that another pay taxes on,  farms, maintains for their business or homestead, manages for wildlife? Do we show respect for them and their property? Do we fundamentally understand that landowner rights take priority over any right or desire we may feel to hunt or fish?
  • On lands that are commonly known for open access do we  make it a point to learn of the owner’s name as a courtesy to thank them or to learn of any concerns they may have? Helps to avoid future problems. Do we we take for granted these lands and treat them as a free for all, our personal playgrounds?
  • On state lands do we treat it as if we  own it? In a round about reasoning we do via the income taxes that are paid.  Being respectful, having regard for our resources should not be a conditional thought or action.
  • Challenging a landowner or another hunter in general is not the smartest idea, nor a step in improving hunter/land owner relations. The exception is the arrogant slob hunter who is not authorised to patrol a property  or trespassing themselves and  falsely claiming a spot.  Too many stories of others trying to throw people off that have permission including landowners off their own property.
  • Items we may come across  while hunting without regard to who owns the land, do we leave undisturbed, unmolested unless clearly lost (such as a jacket, wallet, personal camera, game call).  Stealing or destroying treestands, game cameras, blinds, traps, etc. is a despicable, lowly  act to inflict on a fellow hunter. Even when we find such items on our own places that are not suppose to be there, do we attempt to find out whom they belong to first and get the word out? If that fails to produce a result in instances I have come across, I bring it back to the house and attempt to find the owner while notifying the county Sheriff’s/ NYSDEC ECO, and they can retrieve their items after a intimate chat with law enforcement. Charges may  apply if egregious, or not your first time trespassing. In principle do we take take another’s property not knowing fully the circumstances.?
  • While being respectful of the lands hunted, it is good practice to extend that to fellow hunters. Having someone purposely interfering with your time in the woods is greatly unappreciated. A common occurrence with the mentality of having to get your gobbler or buck before the other hunter does. As sportsmen, sportswomen we are better than that.
  • Access to hunting properties have dropped while the behavior of  some fellow hunters deters hunter recruitment or makes the hunting experience on state lands or private lands less desirable for the recreational hunter, fisherman. The same foolishness, monkey business that is assumed all too common on public grounds in known to be just as much a problem on private holdings. Private land is not immune to breaches in ethical  or sportsman like conduct. There is no legitimate  excuse for treating fellow hunters and fisherman in the poor manner that occurs. Trespass shows disrespect for the land owners and fellow hunters alike
  • Of our sport, our passions we so dearly love. are we humbled and appreciative of the great forests and waterways? Are we humbled and appreciative towards our fellow hunters and fishermen that we share these great resources with?

 

As a landowner or lease/club member:

  • Vast amounts of money are involved to purchase, pay county & school taxes, or fees to lease.  Land taxes have risen well ahead of inflation to the tune of 2X-3X over other states in the union. Can be viewed as legalized theft in some lines of thought. As a landowner it is a thought process quickly learned and a reality.  Leases have risen due to taxes, and the popularity of outdoor focused leasing /realty companies. The continual loss of farms and increase in development further increase the cost and demand for recreational properties.  Maintaining a property for wildlife involves plenty of funds and sweat equity.
  • Because your past three generations of family hunted there, it does not trump or replace courtesy, respect or asking permission. Your ignorant boasting of entitlement to hunt wherever you want is a false premise. It is all too common a complaint about local hunters. Your family or those that passed on are not maintaining, nor paying taxes on the property.  You can easily change that, be a great neighbor.
  • Fisherman do not get a pass on self granted rights to trespass as access to private honey holes are not a entitled right of way. In New York navigable waters have a separate set of laws that apply.
  • Poor behavior, trespass, destruction of property, theft, infighting between hunting parties, poaching, ignoring specific instructions or requests are all legitimate reasons why landowners say no, or rescind your permissions. As a land owner saying no is their right that may or may not come with a explanation.
  • It is a major irritation to expend time and money to thwart, report and or prosecute trespassers only to see them given a slap on the wrist or a minor fine. $50 to$250 fines are not enough to deter the disrespect, the ignorance that exists in the hunting community.
  • How many of you visit to help a landowner in the off season or in season, send thank you’s or visit to thank on person? Do you invite them for a home cooked meal, or in general conduct yourself as a good neighbor, an ethical hunter that appreciates the privilege?

With the acceptance of game cams as scouting tools, it has become an additional season of installing and checking in the summer months. With the competitive nature of some in our ranks, the quest for boon’r buck or record setting long beard or the best fishing hole in the county causes some to steal memory cards, game cams, or destroy them and any stands or blinds they come across. In the past few years the frequency of this type of criminal activity is increasing if judged by posts on social media. Whether there is increased trespass or that we now have better tools to capture it it is made far worst that it is being done in many occurrences by fellow hunters. Clicking through the various hunting groups on social media it is astounding the number of reports of tree stands stolen or rendered unusable, deer cams broken or stolen, SD memory cards stolen.

In the following list are links to NYS sites that deal specifically with trespass, regulations, posting info etc. I have included other useful links as well one to a prior blog on game cam strategies.

As a landowner I can tell you first hand you will quickly expand your fan base in a less than desirable way by wanting to control your property in any configuration. Some folks feel or even insist they have a right to your place.  You and I may have an adverse response to such arrogant entitlement thinking. Trust me it is out there as many that are not shy about it, in fact boastful.

Diligence and willingness to press charges does pay off as it eventually reduces trespass once they learn you have a spine and will do what is needed to fully enjoy your place as owner of the property. I can tell you that sending a certified notice against trespass or having the local sheriff deliver it in person is and effective way to get your point across. Posting, maintaining signs, the expense of cameras, batteries,and other items just to secure your place takes away from time and money otherwise spent enjoying it.

Poor behavior is not a one way street, as we all know that one special landowner that tries to claim rights to other properties, accosts  anyone that comes near their boundary or travels an adjacent road along their place. It makes for hostile or worse interactions. I have been privy to one property owner near me that claimed to own the county road that disected her place .  Unnecessary conflict and bad relations for all involved.

It is my well learned opinion that we New Yorkers have easy access to thousands upon thousands of the best public hunting grounds to be found in our great nation. Our waterways are world renowned and something to cherish.  As ethical sportsmen and sportswomen,  criminal trespass is an abhorrent act towards each other and especially land owners. As hunters, as fisherman, as landowners there is much room to improve relationships with only a little effort and a large dose of mutual respect. We all deserve this from each other.

 

-MJ

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media

 

Social Media A Great Tool For Hunters?

There are several ways one could hit the ground and run with this. Anti-hunting advocates vs hunters are one aspect of social media online to dive into. You might win the hearts and minds of non-hunters with principled ideas, rational behavior, any and all of the great things we love about our impassioned time honored way of life. As to the anti-hunting crowd, you might find other more constructive things to do. Rational, sound logical reasoning falls on deaf ears of those unable to think beyond the propaganda, the over hyped irrational emotional responses. It is a telling picture to see such unhinged individuals crying and screaming in the streets. As a hunter you can be assured of outbursts of pure rage against a legal activity, an instinctive natural way of eating and surviving as further back than biblical scholars can find as well as scientists who chronicle the story of evolution.

My thoughts for today’s wanderings lead me to social media vs hunters. A recent post concerning ‘real’ women hunters vs camo bikini clad wanna-be female pro staffers gave me pause as to why with all the great attributes of instant communications do some within our hunting community subscribe to the worse attributes of social media that are typically displayed by our anti-hunting foes?

To those of us that lay claim to bearing some semblance of adult like behavior, enjoy the company of fellow hunters, and not suffering sociopathic tendencies there is much to enjoy and take advantage of Facebook, Instagram, and any other of the choices of online communities to connect with each other.

I’ll lay claim that I barely squeak by in fitting it with the ‘normal, socially adjusted group.’ In doing so I will list what I think are the main positives associated with the online experience.

• With a little effort and time, online one can quickly seek and find like minded hunters to any level of specialty that you want to hook up with. My passions are turkey hunting, and deer hunting, archery, rifle/shotgun/pistol shooting. Easy to find folks that share my interests. Many friends and friendly acquaintances can be made. If you singularly focus on hunting with 1800’s era flint lock firearms wearing only period correct clothing you are in luck as you will find your tribe.
• As with news in general, anything outdoor related, happening in the world down to your hometown can be learned that week, much of it the day that it occurs. New products, records broken, Changes in seasons and regulations, weather conditions.
• Sharing of stories, sharing or pictures afield soon after returning home or in the field as it happens. Facebook a post that you sunk your 4×4 to the axles while getting your elk out will rally the troops to your rescue. You can blame your truck and swear profusely on live Facebook for additional effect.
• Social media can be a great tool for researching your future hunts, outfitters, things to see and do on your next adventure. Personal contacts give you a much better insight.

Personally, I love having such great friends online (whom I have spent time with in hunt camp), to learn their stories, to share mine. Same with pics from successful hunts or the scenes so breathtaking you just have to capture it. Facebook has been great to meet up on hunts, meet up while traveling. I try to learn from what other successful hunters do and share amongst us. I enjoy seeing the pics, especially those that took the time to make a great pic in respect of their quarry. As much as I like the efficiency of the online experience and at any hour. It does not replace what you get from a phone call or time shared together. I view social media as a useful tool to embellish my experiences that I have with those I have had the privilege to spend time with but do not live close enough to see frequently.

What is it with some of our ranks that are compelled to eat our own? The downside of the social media experience is the embolden behavior of keyboard trolls that lack social graces that help us all get along. I’m not going to distract with a lengthy discussion on sociopaths or anti-social behavior. Is it reasonable to put up with such ill-mannered, fragile ego’s or those bent on tearing other fellow hunters down? It takes only a single picture of a record book deer or a monster gobbler to attract the worse responses. Even pictures of kids after a successful hunt will gain uncivil responses. I expect that from the anti-hunting zealots, not fellow hunters.

I’ve been accused of “eating our own” by opposing turkey hunters for not hunting like I do over my position on reaping or fanning methods despite clear reasoning on safety issues and what I regard as unreasonable risks in many (not all) turkey hunting scenarios. Even after consistently acknowledging how exciting the method is, I am labeled an elitist for my opposition. There are many forms or styles of hunting that I do not participate in or find alluring. As such I read those stories and enjoy the after hunt pictures like I do others. On matters of safety I am not one to compromise. As to what bow you use, or what specific caliber bullet you shoot, whether you sit in a blind all day or hunt ridges as I may do, I don’t have the urge to criticize you because it may not be my preferred choice. Let’s skip that nonsense and tell me of your epic story.

With the prior blog posting I saw this morning concerning female hunters or huntresses as mentioned, it causes me to comment on where this comes from, the source if you will. The frustration that is becoming more visible within our ranks does come from the over marketing, the overzealous behavior of prostaff, huntresses, TV hunting shows, game call companies and the list goes on at the irritation of the hunting community, a market segment they are hoping to gain an audience with.

As to huntresses, I have only a few brief observations. I know many women who hunt, have been for many years, and as hardcore as any male hunter I have shared camp with. I find that female hunters in general to be more conscientious, more deliberate in their shooting, less likely to take risks. In that they show the concept of huntress in a very good light. I am pleased to see more moms and their kids join our ranks as well as single women. Always welcomed in any camp I may attend. The whole thing with sex’d up camo pinup models that appear to be pampered, fully catered huntresses is to be expected in the old marketing model that sex sells just about anything. In my opinion, I think that once you take away all the pampering, the glamor shots you are left with little if the experience of being self-sufficient, immersed in the turkey woods is lost in favor of a thong. Some of the same mentality applies to male celebrity hunters who are known to be lost themselves without a fully catered hunt.

It is nearly impossible to watch a thirty-minute hunting show without it being saturated with commercials and the storyline constantly pulled back at every turn to hawk a product. As a medium for hunters to learn from, to enjoy, it fails miserably as a nonstop infomercial in the guise of a hunting show. It is a business model that compromises the viewer’s enjoyment over ad space sold.

As with the over marketing that is rampant with TV shows it is just as much a part of the dialog that occurs on Facebook, Instagram and others. With that comes the emphasis of who has the most likes, the most Facebook friends. It has become so absurd, to the point it was posted on Facebook that a hunter made the claim that they were a better hunter because they had more likes? Difficult to wrap any logic around that. Having reached the 5K limit on Facebook, I have yet to enjoy that arousal of “better than thou hunter” that I am told about. I worked at it over a long period of time to broaden my base of possible readers of books I have published and will publish in the future. Efforts with my keyboard help make that happen, what abilities or skills I do have in the turkey woods are from lessons learned from time afield, from hunting with others and for me it has been many hours over many seasons.

The competitive nature of some of us produces an unhealthy interaction, focused on numbers, not people. I am concerned with being a ‘good hunter’ as I believe you are. I am also concerned with being a ‘better hunter’ when compared to myself five years ago. Whatever measure you wish. If we all strive to be good hunters then may our freezers be full. Is it not fair, a good thought that we all try each day to be better as people, as hunters?

What I see occurring in the realm of social media is the parallel, the concept of TV ratings becoming a parameter in which we measure ourselves on Facebook, Instagram, or any of the other social media offerings. Would I lose the love of family if my friends list shrunk or likes on my posts dwindled away?

There is the danger in that should you make a mistake, honest or deliberate, it is known in such a short time by all that is nearly unmeasurable. Bad news travels fast. Commit a game violation and your hunting buds will know more about your case than you do before you return home from your trip. Poach a record book elk and by tomorrow you may be a Facebook featured post!

For those that believe a picture is worth a thousand words, it is, for the most part, a truism until one pulls it up in photoshop, and modifies it to suit ego or other less than admirable purpose. A game contest is useful for exposing such less noble attributes in hunters that sport overblown egos. Posting in social media has taken these lesser ideals and supersized them as you might expect. I’ve seen lots of turkey hunters holding up their gobblers with a bent elbow and claim 25-28lbs all day long. I have witnessed far too many gobblers that weigh no more than the average 18-19 pounds to know what the girth of the bird appears as, and span of the wing butts to know that in only a few cases does the bird actually match the claimed weight. Only in a few select areas of the country, is the average weight much higher. Such heavy weights appear as if another subspecies in the turkey woods when accurate. Deer are often posed and angles chosen to appear much larger. Photoshopping antlers is not uncommon.

Other ill social media acts include ‘borrowing’ other hunter photos for product ads or photoshopping to appear taken by another hunter. Unless the deed is executed by a skilled person excelling in photography and lighting theory as a background it is all too easy to spot where edits were done. For the more sophisticated edits, a few applied filters and exposure adjustments reveal the modified pixels.

The sins of boasting, false story telling (ok for fisherman though) hoax photo’s are an offering of the dark side of the social media. In of itself, it is not new, but the modern day equivalent is much faster in producing it. The false perceived pressure of having to achieve more friends, more likes, more hits, more web traffic comes at the expense of impressing profiles of people you have never hunted with, shared a beer with or even met on the street. In the end to fall into that trap side steps real friendships, and causes one to miss the sheer joy of time spent in the hunting grounds of their choice.

My opinion is that social media is a great tool for hunters, especially for myself as an outdoor writer/author, as with all things it is neither perfect or the end of all things in communicating with one another. To understand it and to use it at face value is a very useful way to keep track of and share with all those that you care to include. As we refute those with less than good intentions we make it a better space to share these bits and pieces of our daily lives.

-MJ

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media

Joyner Outdoor Media, State of the Union, Book Projects

Now that spring turkey season is officially over in the northern hemisphere, I thought it was high time to update the mega fan base, facebook followers, and especial those awaiting a few titles that are long overdue. Joyner Outdoor Media (named for the obvious origins of heritage) in short form is the business umbrella that is used to publish and promote my books, blogs, writings, and occasionally other like minded authors that wish to join us.

Many projects on the back burner since the winter of 2012-2013 At the tender young age of 52, I found myself out on the street the 18th of December, making a worrisome Christmas. The company I was a founding partner in, later acquired and later sold to our VP of Sales. After a fourteen year stint, given the politics with the new owner, It was an impossibility to work together. Fate, Karma is a cruel master at times and there is a tragic story that follows. I’ll not divulge further. Only days after being put out to pasture I formed Town Line Technologies, LLC  on what was a very quiet Sunday morning looking at office spaces. I had an offer for contract work for the US Navy through the old company, cashed in my 401K, no safety net, no benefits. Five years of working hard and still going. It is the primary reason why projects slowed, put on hold and accelerated my aging.

With some things freeing up, I am bringing to the fore front the existing on-going projects that I am all too happy to get back to. ‘Grand Days in the Turkey Woods’ was a bit of an unexpected event in my timeline as an author. As it is common for me to write up or at least outline memorable stories as they occur each season, I found back in 2014 that I have more than enough memories/stories stored off in a future projects file that I was able to quickly publish as a story book which is in keeping with ‘Hills of Truxton: Stories & Travels of a Turkey Hunter’, and ‘Tales from the Turkey Woods: Mornings of My Better Days’

I will update in order- books currently available, current projects, and intentions of future works which will not march full steam ahead until my current projects are out in print.

Books in print:

Hills of Truxton: Stories & Travels of a Turkey Hunter Currently available online at Amazon and other online book stores in paperback, hardcover, and kindle format. Hills Of Truxton Paperbacks and hardcovers are also available from me, signed with bookmarks and post cards tipped in. Author’s Online Store

A 2.0 version is coming with a new cover, a few updated pictures and the typical text corrections and small edits  in the effort to follow in some semblance of the Queen’s English. A hardcover w/ dust cover will also follow in the 2.0 version and will mark the end of the laminated hardcover edition. Release of 2.0 will be announced later this summer

Tales from the Turkey Woods: Mornings of My Better Days Currently available online at Amazon and other online book stores in paperback, hardcover, and kindle format. Tales From The Turkey Woods  Paperbacks and hardcovers are also available from me, signed with bookmarks and post cards tipped in. Author’s Online Store

A 2.0 version  is  also coming with a new cover, a few updated pictures and the typical text corrections and small edits  as with my first title.  A hardcover w/ dust cover will also follow in the 2.0 version  Release of 2.0 will be announced later this fall.

Grand Days in the Turkey Woods: Currently available online at Amazon and other online book stores in paperback, hardcover, and kindle format. Grand Days In The Turkey Woods  Paperbacks and hardcovers are also available from me, signed with bookmarks and post cards tipped in. Author’s Online Store

 

Current Book Projects:

D.D. Adams, Evolutionary Turkey Call Pioneer: For those that I have contacted or attempted to contact at the beginning of the project: I will complete interviews this summer. I have just a few very key interviews to complete so time is short as I need to commit to a writing schedule.

If you knew DD personally and have insights or a great story to share I would love to interview you for the project. I have a lot of pictures, more than enough to show a comprehensive view of his call creations. Working toward the goal of a Christmas 2017 book release.

Empire State Limb Hangers- New York Wild Turkey Records: For those that I have contacted or attempted to contact at the beginning of the project: Your stories will be available to review as I complete them.

If you haven’t been interviewed and would like to be included, please contact me, I would love to include as many as possible that met the original score criteria. The placings have shifted some, however I am still going by my original list as what was unique and noteworthy then still is of course. I am working toward a Spring 2018 book release. There will be future editions as records are broken and those I attempted to include, catch up with the project. The more hunters that come on board that I originally sought to interview, the better.

Any record book gobblers bagged in NY during the 2016-2017 spring/fall seasons? or years prior? If your bird meets the following scoring criteria, I would love to talk to you about being included in the book!

Typical score > 75.0000 (weight x1 + beard x 2 + spur(s) x 10)

Non-Typical score > 105.0000 (weight x1 + beard(s) x 2 + spur(s) x 10)

Weight > 26.5000 lbs. (verified certified weight)      

Beard > 12.0000″ (verified length)      

Spurs> 1.6250″ (verified length)

Father and Son- A Life’s Journey Together in the Turkey Woods: Somewhere between 2/3rds and 3/4’s written first pass, the project has been on hold due to external circumstances. It is uncertain as to project milestones or expected time line of completion, release date.

 

Future Projects: Other than some very preliminary housekeeping, outlines etc, future projects are on low priority until completion of the current Que. In all fairness to the hunters I interviewed some time ago, my efforts are focused on completing these anticipated works. There are several ideas for a scifi novel and a hunting themed novel.  Very far out there, but  possibility’s for a time not as hectic at the moment.

Roost ‘n Time Tales: Will be a continuation of stories as told around camp, the local diners and the back of pickup trucks parked at the gate. It is expected to take any number of years, dependent on travel plans, funds, and a 55 gallon drum of good-luck and fortune to capture another memorable collection of experiences in the great turkey woods.

Old Turkey Tree: A collection of my favorite stories from current titles and future ones. Expect additional perspectives, additional photo’s and other surprises to those following my previous works. May include other unpublished stories worthy of inclusion with such grand memories.

Forever Roost: An introspective view of why I hunt,  deeper meanings and how it is much more significant in modern times as well as my  later years if a full and meaningful life.

 

I would be remiss if I neglected to appeal to those contemplating your own works as self published or assisted publishing. If interested in engaging Joyner Outdoor Media to help your project get off the ground or hire us to work up graphics, covers for your book give me a shout at:   mjoyner@joyneroutdoormedia.com

I would also encourage you to check out the New York Outdoor Writer Association or on facebook as a writing professional or inspired up and coming author.

 

-MJ

 

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media

 

Fat Lady Sings…. Hard Spring Turkey Season In New York

It all came down to the final days to get it done in New York. With a change in plans, I hunted solo the last few days of the season. The last Saturday of the season I called in a full fan Jake on public game land that would coarse yelp and strut at the calling but declined to gobble. Coming no closer than several hundred yards across a hay field, I re-positioned and twenty minutes later he decided to stop feeding long enough to walk within gun range. After hunting in the pouring rain on a morning that was predicted to be 5% chance of rain, it was a consolation to tote a turkey back to the truck. I have little faith in the weatherman or climate change experts as they cannot get it straight as to the weather on any opening day or any other day during turkey season. Not much better for deer season either.

2017 1st gobbler

Down to the last day, I woke up early to find it raining again and went back to bed. Without any birds roosted (which had been the story of the season,) I woke up in time for breakfast, then headed out to hunt the few remaining hours left in the season. It was bright and sunny out when I headed out the door. Not my usual “O-Dark Thirty” start on a spring turkey hunt

On such days that I enjoy an extended time afield, it has to be balanced with customer concerns, and results with me in the office until 9PM-10PM at night or working at home on the laptop. My wife and our two Weimaraner’s have their preferences of quality time together as well. On the days that I did manage to get out, it was something more akin to “Time Displacement” rather than time off. It is typical for those that own a business.

Back to the last day… I “ear and eye checked” a number of spots before heading to a secret, favorite state game land spot I’ll not disclose other than being located in Cortland County. With an hour and a half left in the season, I settled in. At 11AM sharp came three distinct “where are you clucks” somewhere very close in the pine woods. The turkey (unsure which variety) never appeared within my line of sight despite my prompt responses. Being very calm, and the bird very close made the clucks seem all the louder. Good fun as at least I was talking to a turkey. Twenty minutes later a series of yelps produced a gobble from across an old hay field. The bird gobbled one time, one time only. To my extreme pleasure, I saw the top of a fan pop up a hundred and fifty yards out. The gobbler wasted little time coming as once I saw the fan, he made steady progress towards my position. Without issuing another call, he came across and off the field into the pinewoods where I would finalize our chance encounter. 11:28AM I was done with a half hour to spare.

2017 last day gobbler

As with last spring season in New York where I had a much more bizarre circumstance with a last day, last hour gobbler, both gobblers had sustained serious injuries. Last day gobbler of Spring 2016 had been body shot, had many spur punctures to both breast areas leaving unhealed wounds, the bird was in advanced stages of gangrene, leaving the meat unfit to eat. It was surmised that the bird was ganged up on after the errant shooting and my deed put an end to the story at 11:02AM. Fast forward to yesterday, my late hour gobbler had broken tail feathers, a broken spur with one 1-1/4″ good spur remaining, and a beard that looked to have been subjected to a power tool. several strands remained attached stretching to 11″ Although not in the advanced stages of infection as the prior spring bird, this tough fellow had five spur puncture wounds to the breasts that appeared to be from recent encounters with a significant foe. I’d like to meet up with that gobbler. As before the meat had a foul smell and would defeat in part my plans for venison backstraps and wild turkey speedies/kabobs for the summer. It is not likely the gobbler would survive his injuries. A bittersweet end to the season.

June 1st, the fat lady has sung… Whatever grand schemes you may have had, master plans to win the game will have to wait until the fall season if you are like me, or if not, you have a longer wait until the next spring season.

My observations are that of Cortland and Madison Counties with a brief excursion to Cooperstown. Over the past twenty-five seasons like many of the enthusiastic turkey hunters out there, I have a bunch of hot spots and backup spots for finding gobblers to chase. It changes year to year sometimes. I have lost some prime spots due to changes in land owners, sales of farms, hunting partners, lease members dropping out, and so on. With a nearly even mix of private land vs state game lands, there are literally too many places to cover in a given season.

I’ll prefix my experiences this spring by saying that it comes down to location and timing. Right place, right time. My good friend Randy Russell Of Auburn NY was tagged out on day two. He had a hot gobbler the first day, a silent bird the second. I know of a few others that tagged out early. On a blue moon with a rare alignment of the stars, I have tagged out early in past seasons. Reports of hot gobbling birds were scattered, and the difficulty I experienced was shared by many.

With the exception of a very enthusiastic Jake running from place to place with sneakers on opening day, it was the only hot gobbling interlude of the season. To be fair my days afield were limited due to our family cancer scares, and work obligations. I got out a dozen mornings, most were until 7AM-9AM and off to the office or doctor visits.

A few of my fellow outdoor writers, Dan Ladd, Leo Maloney, Ed Noonan, my wife (Lee) and I got together at Leather Stocking Guide Service in Milford, NY for a weekend of turkey chasing, camaraderie and to attend to some business matters and meetings for the NYSOWA (New York State Outdoor Writers Assoc.). Leon Archer joined us for meetings on Friday after we came in from hunting. Bob Partridge and his crew made for a great weekend and set us out to our own devices on some of the nicest properties I have ever hunted in. We were in great turkey hunting territory, as good or arguably better than back home. With a possible future Spring Safari in Cooperstown, I’ll look forward to spending time there again. If you are a baseball fan it is a great destination stop. As you would expect it is easy to eat well there, and if you are a fan of craft beer, NY wines, or NY distilled spirits, there are several great stops to make all within short drives of each other. The gobbling activity was like we had going on back home, and despite the great weather, despite calling in one hen after another, no gobblers took the truck express back to camp.

Our season here in CNY started out with an early lull, followed by a mid-season lull, and cashed out with a late-season lull. Serious… Again, I know some hunters were right on top of gobbling birds. I was not one of them. The season started out cool and wet and it is thought the first nesting may have been affected. I personally found five different nests that were destroyed. Yet, my wife saw a hen with six poults in tow crossing the road onto our property last evening which is a welcomed sighting. More sightings will be even better.

Every season is a bit different in one way or another, for me it was nearly nonexistent for the traditional: “Bird gobbles, and you work him to the gun, gobbling on the way in.” I’ll gladly take what luck I did have with eventually filling both tags, and will enjoy the great memories of most excellent mornings in the Turkey Woods. The time to take in all that the turkey woods offers, to relax and collect one’s thoughts are all good times afield. Toting out a big gobbler after an epic battle is a grand time we all seek.

-MJ

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media

Mother’s Day hunt

Some years I get out for a quick hunt before activities commence on this special day, some years mamma has plans. Today I got out for a few hours despite other plans and work commitments. With my work responsibilities and currently family health issues I hadn’t put many miles on my boots that I might normally do. With what few times I had gone out for the New York Spring season, it has been little to no action on our property and in our favored haunts in and around Cortland County. It is an odd and unusual start of the season, can’t buy a gobble. Yet I hear much more promising reports not 30 to 50 miles from here.

With the very wet and cool weather it is not surprising in some respects and there are concerns on the success of first nesting’s this spring. I am hopeful that warmer and drier conditions lay ahead in Central New York and with that the gobbling to improve along with it.

We started out the morning on state lands located in Cortland County (I’ll not name the forest, but there are more than several to choose from.) We were greeted with moderate temperatures and no wind. You could hear for a country mile and then some. We were also greeted by patches of heavy fog and have experienced that in the past to go either way with turkeys. With only a few “I think it might be a gobble” that were far beyond our ability to judge miles in distance, we had no up front and blowing your hair back gobbling… anywhere.

In our travels this morning we passed by properties I have guided many years on for the annual ladies hunt in the fall as there are always birds to be found. I do love spotting them although I don’t hunt these places other than the annual hunt. Today’s travels produced plenty of strutting gobblers and hens that should be good news come the fall.  I bit of eye candy is always good for the soul while chasing gobblers. Paul and I hunt public land nearly as much as private properties, some years even more. Within relatively short driving distances there are tens of thousands of acres near my home and surrounding Maddison and Thompkins Counties. As always we have a good time harassing gobblers or in the efforts to do so.

Our last stop of the day we found a trio of stutters and a single hen to pursue. After a very long walk we came up on three hens (only knew of the one) that did not appreciate our pleas for company and marched off (along with the gobblers) and more importantly away across the rolling terrain. We got close, but no free rides back to the truck for our feathered friends.

On a day that I intensely mourn my mother’s passing a year ago, an easy going hunt with an old friend was what was needed to ease my soul, come to grips with this day and enjoy/honor the very special women that I am so grateful to have as family.

 

-MJ

 

© 2017 Mike Joyner- Joyner Outdoor Media

%d bloggers like this: