In the pre-dawn hours, under cover of darkness, local hunters will weave through the woods or pastures, heading to where they hope the turkeys will roost. Ideally, you’ve checked for good call locations as well as alternates, about a hundred yards away but not too close.
Consider routes that will take you to the area in the dark. Remember that even in the gray light of dawn, a turkey perched high in a leafy tree can see a camouflaged hunter making its way across an open field. Go in the dark and hopefully under cover of trees and brush.
Look for a tall tree that you can sit against and wide enough to protect and cover your back. This is important for safety to protect you from unethical or dangerous hunters who may carelessly shoot in your direction. It also helps against the hell coyote or bobcat which can come in calls and pounce from behind when they see movement. A tall tree or windfall will disguise your wary turkey eyeliner.
Consider where you will place your lure if you plan to use one. It should be visible to an approaching tom and hopefully draw it into an area where you can take a photo. Take the time to assess the distance of a possible shot.
Consider all the things that can cause a turkey to “hang up” and not answer your call. Are there any potential obstacles like small streams, stone walls, fences, etc. between you and the route of the bird?
Remember that although the bird can easily get over these obstacles, it will rarely do so. After all, you are dealing with a creature with a brain the size of a small walnut.
Have alternative spots. Not only could the turkeys move their area, but you might find another hunter in the area when you get there on opening morning.
Be safe and ethical and go elsewhere.
Early in the season, when there is little or no foliage, sounds will travel farther. It also means the turkeys can see you clearly from a greater distance.
Don’t sit too close to the roost and try to pick a spot where the turkeys can’t spot you. No matter how well camouflaged you are, if they identify the sound and don’t see a hen nearby, they will become suspicious and avoid the area.
If the tom is on the perch, don’t call too much or too loudly. Give a few soft yelps or chuckles to let them know where you are. If you’re using a box call to yelp, swing the paddle in one motion rather than pulling it out of the call. This gives a more realistic sound of “Yee – awk”. To purr your box call, hold the call horizontally and use the heel of your hand to gently stretch the paddle out to the side of the box, lifting it sharply at the end.
While some veteran hunters are good at the “run and shoot” tactic of walking and calling to find active toms, the average hunter is better off staying put and waiting for a tom to return to the area. How much you should call is still a debate, but for most people fewer calls are better.
I always give my hunting pants, especially the lower legs, and my boots a permethrin spray a few days before opening. Avoid getting it on your skin when it’s wet and let it dry completely. If you haven’t treated your clothes with permethrin, apply a good coat of insect repellent with DEET. This will keep ticks away for a few hours.
I also like to wear a pair of camouflage gaiters around my wrists and on my ankles to further protect me from ticks. Mosquitoes and black flies are already out with the onset of warm weather, so take bug spray or your Thermacell device repellent.
Reminder – Wear your lifejacket
Remember that anyone on board a watercraft under 21 feet, including rowboats, canoes and kayaks along the way, must wear a PFD (life jacket) from November 16 to May 1. It’s also a good idea to wear it at all times, especially in cold weather or when paddling colder waters early in the season. The cold water shock can easily lead to drowning, and the lower temperature can cause hypothermia. For more information, contact the NYS Office of Parks and Recreation.
Atlantic salmon release
The Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club has scheduled a fish outing for Saturday, April 23. Jim Lawler and Jason will drive the salmon fry from Vermont to Taberg. Estimated time of arrival is 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Annsville City Hall (9196 Main St. Taberg). Those who want to help with the stocking are asked to meet in groups and caravans at the various release points that have been set up. Participants are asked to bring clean 5 gallon buckets for salmon distribution. Volunteers are welcome to help the club. If you have any questions, contact Paul
Sportsman’s flea market
The Mohawk Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be sponsoring a sports flea market on Saturday May 7th. Location is at the Whitestown Vets Club, 174 Whitesboro St., Yorkville, NY 13495 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is the opportunity to do business. on new and used sports equipment. There will be rods, reels, tackle, books and outdoor gear of all kinds. There will also be fly tying, raffles and casting contests for children! Admission is $2 for adults and free for children under 12!
The vet club kitchen will be open for burgers, hot dogs, etc. The annual draw for the Mohawk Valley Chapter will take place at the end. For vendors, tables are available at $10 each. TU also appreciates a donation of 10% of sales. Vendors can set up between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Please reserve your table before May 3 by contacting Steve Prievo at [email protected] or by calling 315-956-9124.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve opens May 1
The Adirondack Mountain Preserve, a large tract of private land in the High Peaks near the headwaters of the East Fork of the Ausable River, allows limited hiking on roads and access to two of the High Peaks, Noonmark and Round through a conservation easement. Due to congestion and limited parking issues, they instituted a parking reservation system last year.
Once again they will operate a limited reservation system from May 1, 2022. Once the lot is full they will not allow any further entries. This will control overcrowding, illegal parking along Route 73, and ensure hikers have a place to park and hike when they arrive. Reservations are free but must be made through Hikingamr.org.
Vernon R&G BBQ Chicken
The Vernon Rod & The Gun Club organizes one of its famous chicken barbecues to fund youth activities. The BBQ chicken will be on Saturday April 30 from 12pm until all are gone. The event will be take-out only, rain or shine.
These sell out early so don’t delay. The cost is $10 for the full dinner; $6 half. The menu includes half barbecue chicken, a roll, coleslaw, salt potato and dessert.
Landlocked salmon breeding enclosure – Champlain
DEC, in partnership with Plattsburgh Boat Basin, USFWS, Lake Champlain Trout Unlimited, and SUNY Plattsburgh, is launching a two-year pen-rearing program for landlocked Atlantic salmon. The Lake Champlain program is modeled after successful Lake Ontario programs. This is created to improve stocking survival and the footprint on young landlocked salmon to return to the Plattsburgh area tributaries of Lake Champlain. Landlocked Atlantic salmon is one of the most exciting fish to catch, so hopefully this will improve the fishing there.