Home » Barbs and Backlashes » Spring is in the air, and a boy’s thoughts turn to. . . .GOBBLERS!

Spring is in the air, and a boy’s thoughts turn to. . . .GOBBLERS!

Every year about this time I warn you that I mostly blog about fish and fishing except when those beautiful, big, Tom turkeys are gobbling.  That time is NOW.  I will still be on the water when I get a chance, but there is so much to do in Nebraska’s great outdoors in the coming weeks, so you will have to forgive me if my one-track fishing mind is a little distracted.  Do not worry, I will continue to share those adventures with you.

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Photo by my buddy Greg Wagner.  (I believe Greg has already filled one tag this spring, Six Steps. . . )

Nebraska’s shotgun turkey season opened last weekend.  With the long season I am relatively casual about my turkey hunting.  Oh, I will be out every chance I get, you can count on that, but that does not necessarily mean I will be in the field at O’dark thirty every morning.  My kids and I slipped out for a bit last Saturday evening, but that ended up being an uneventful hunt.  Emily came really, really close to punching a tag last night (if only Tom had been on the left instead of clear over on the right).  Don’t mean nothing, we have only just begun!

A couple of months ago I picked up a well-known hunting magazine and read through most of it.  If I told you the name of the publication, most of you would recognize it.  Of course it caught my attention because it was a spring turkey primer.  However, I was a little disgusted when I finished reading the spring turkey hunting stories; every one of them was promoting new shotguns, fancy chokes, and new loads designed to reach out and kill a turkey at longer and longer distances.  I am no purist stuck in the past, and I know that good ole American ingenuity and capitalism makes the world go round.  I am all for using quality equipment, it makes the time on the water or in the woods more enjoyable and successful.  But, I have a problem with this arms race to kill turkeys with shotguns at long range.  Sorry, I am not impressed.

It is about the hunt, it is about the process, it is about respect.  You may think you have a shotgun that can reach out there and roll a Tom turkey at 40, 50 or even 60 yards.  But, it is still a shotgun and at those ranges the odds of crippling and losing a bird are much greater.  I love those big, beautiful toms too much to take any unnecessary chances when I decide to squeeze the trigger and punch a tag.  You will not impress me with stories of long shots.  No, if you want to impress me, tell me about how you called that Tom in on a string and had him standing at perfect range, about 20-25 yards, when you rolled him over.  I will be way more impressed with how close you were able to get him, than by how far away you were able to lob some pellets on him.

Get ’em close.  Shoot ’em in the face.

Have a great season everyone!

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May all your roost trees be full of gobblers!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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