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!
© 2017 Mike Joyner- Joyner Outdoor Media