Out for Turkey!

Field and Forest: Prime Turkey Habitat

Geared up and ready for the road trip to Autumn Olive hunt camp near Dutton. It had been very wet; so much so that it delayed the trip by a day and shortened it by the same. I had only one night and one day to try and get my first Tom.

Spoiler alert: The upshot was no success in getting a Tom. In fact, I didn’t even see a turkey! Turkey vultures yes, Whitetail Deer yes, Garter snakes, Red-Tailed Hawk yes, and possible Juvenile Bald Eagle too, but no Turkey.

The morning began very early — 4:00 am to be precise, to enable a quick breakfast bar, a bad cup of coffee, the loading of the equipment, and the drive to the location on the ‘powerlines’ property near Iona Road just north of the 401. Two of us were dropped on the side of the road and walked through the corn stubble north towards the power line corridor. A third man drove around the valley and edged up the field to another location on the western side of the property. I set up my blind in near darkness at the very edge of a young forested gully, adjacent to a stalk-only corn field. And then the wait began. It was cool but clear, unlike much of the previously 8-10 days. I could see the Big Dipper. A nice change! The ground was wet but fairly firm underfoot. Surprising after the deluge of the previous few days. These soils clearly drain well.

The previous evening we had come from Toronto in the rain and stopped by the powerline fields for some recon before going to the Hunt camp. We had thought to hunt the northern part of the property, but when we struck out across the fields we quickly caking mud on mud. The field had been plowed under but not seeded yet. Clods of the red mud adhered to my boots. I was getting taller as I walked! So that area was out. It would have been hell to trudge through that in the wee hours of the morning. We decided on the southern end of the property instead. We did observe lots of young deer tracks, but no turkey tracks in the dirt, so that decision seemed sound.

The morning was slow and quite cool. The wind gusts were up to 50 km/h. I had to re-stake the corners of the blind several times due to sudden gust that threatened to lift it away.  I had put the decoys out in front, about 20 yards into the field. I think I need a more life like set.  One of the other hunters has a much more life like decoy.  He was across the field north of the powerline.  He had much more luck than I did.  He actually enticed three jakes to approach his jenny.  They got spooked and fled, but at least there was some action at his end of the field.

Following lunch in Glencoe, a very small place, which managed to have several churches and family restaurants (we ate at the Subway), we headed back and planned the afternoon. I must say that the afternoon locations, while a complete bust with respect to turkeys, was one of the nicest forest areas I have ever been in.  A mature forest stand, clearly managed for timber, full of mature oak, maple, and beech. The rich soil hosting a multitude of understorey spring flowers — white and purple trilliums, mayapple, wild ginseng, plus a bonus of abundant sporylating moss too. The sun was shining right through to the forest floor. The trees provided an excellent wind-break. All-in-all, it was an excellent location to bed down and wait for turkeys. None came, though I was visited by a snake who seems quite startled by my presence.  I even was able to doze for minutes at a time, cozy on the forest floor under my camo mesh!

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Hydro Corridor as it crosses a small rain-swollen creek

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