By: Owen Trumbull
With spring comes the sounds of birds back from winter migration. One easily distinguished sound from a bird, although not migratory, is the gobble of the Eastern Wild Turkey. With gobbles ramping up, it means one thing – spring turkey season is here. For new hunters all the way up to the seasoned veteran, The Squire is here to help. We got in touch with local Scandia tom killing legend and Eisenhower High School alumni, Paul Swanson, to learn more about preparing for spring gobbler season.
One of the first steps to bagging a spring gobbler is having the necessary gear to do so. The gear you will need depends on what kind of hunter you are. Some of the must haves include a shotgun, preferably a 12- or 20-gauge, camouflage clothes from head to toe, and some sort of a call. A seasoned veteran such as Paul recommends, “A hunting vest with a cushion and pockets for your calls, some good camouflage, and a decoy if that is your style.” Using these products will drastically increase your chance of success.
After you obtain all the proper gear to take on your spring turkey season extravaganza, all you need is turkeys! Turkeys tend to hang around areas that have wooded hills surrounded by fields. They like to roost in trees and then fly down to these fields come morning light. Check for areas that meet those requirements. If it just so happens that the area you have determined to be a good turkey habitat is private property, you must gain permission. We asked Paul the best way to go about this and he advised that interested hunters, “Find out who the landowner is, and ask them if anyone is hunting the property currently or not. If not, politely ask them if you would be able to hunt on it.” Now that you have access to this land, you need to pinpoint where exactly the turkeys are at.
Turkey hunting requires early mornings as well as some late nights in the woods of Pennsylvania. The act of locating turkeys prior to the morning of hunting is a necessity. There are a couple of different ways to do this that Paul filled us in on, “The best ways to find birds is to scout for sign such as scratch (leaves ruffled up from turkeys looking for food). Using locator calls in the evenings to listen for gobbles, or, if you’re late to the party, listening in the morning for gobbles as well.” Hearing gobbles help make your job a lot easier, as it informs you of what direction you need to travel to find the birds.
Now that you have all the information, the upcoming turkey season should be no challenge. There are just a few details that you should remember. As Paul said, “Don’t get discouraged if you don’t kill a turkey right away. I killed a bird my first two seasons and then went another seven seasons without any success.” Hunting is something that takes time, so be prepared for the waiting game. Always keep your head up and remember that you can do it! The best part is just hearing turkeys in their natural habitats.
With all your newfound knowledge in the activity of turkey hunting you are ready to get out there and make bagging a spring gobbler happen! Everyone at The Squire wishes all the hunters of Pennsylvania good luck for the 2021 spring turkey season!