Tomorrow is the opener of our Nebraska spring shotgun turkey season. Yessssssss! Actually, many Nebraska hunters have been actively hunting spring toms since March 25 with bow, crossbows and arrows. And beginning last Saturday youth permit holders could get after ’em with a shotgun. But, the next time the sun rises, it will be “on” for the rest of us.
My kids and my hunt started a couple of weeks ago now. To be successful, we have learned to spend as much time as possible “in the woods”, or more appropriately “in the field”, scouting, before the actual season opens. The more we can learn about the birds and their habits, the more likely we will be in the right place at the right time. I consider the “pre-season” scouting to be a part of the hunt, actually the best part of the hunt, even though I spend all those days in the field without any weapon, without any intent of harvesting a tom. I love being in the field watching and listening to those beautiful, big birds! When it comes time to jelly-head one, that will just be the cherry on top!
A couple of years ago I took some guys for a hunt in that beautiful, rugged canyon country south and east of North Platte. It was a cold morning, in fact there was snow on the ground. We were running a little late because I had a nephew with us and it took him some time to find a warm coat that morning. We got to our hunting area and I hurried to the top of the first ridge to listen for a bird gobbling on the roost. The guys came huffing-and-puffing up behind me and then we stood there in the cold north wind listening. . . . Nothing. I pulled out my coyote howler, toms will gobble when they hear a coyote howl, still nothing. I rushed down the ridge a few hundred yards to another good listening spot. . . . Nothing. “Yip–yip, hoorrooooooo” once again. After several seconds, way off to the south, just barely audible, I heard it, “Gobble-obble-obble”. I turned to the guys behind me, they had heard nothing. “Did you hear that? Let’s Go!” They thought I was crazy, probably because this is the look I had on my face:
There is a lot going on in the Nebraska outdoors right now; the fish are biting, the mushrooms are popping, the turkeys are gobbling. Get out there and enjoy it, whatever it may be, it will be time well spent!