Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'll Take Some Snow With My Turkeys, Thank You Very Much

First off - snow! This is the second actual measurable and semi-significant snowfall we've had this winter. Bonus points for falling with no wind. This happened between five a.m. and when I finally drug my butt outta bed. We have a slight chance for more today, but I ain't holdin' my breath. Plus, this is already melting.

The wheat is starting to green up - amazing considering how little moisture it's had this season. This little deluge will hold off the thirsting hordes of wheat plants for about three days if it doesn't get hot and windy. Otherwise, one day. Bet you didn't know wheat got thirsty or felt pain, eh? Farmers know. They can tell. They might not think much of Bill Clinton, but they can "feel your pain" as far as their crops go. When the wheat starts to lighten in color and get brown on the edges, the keening cuts right to their souls.

I got very excited when I saw these puppies. The last time anyone has seen wild turkeys in this 'hood was about eighteen years ago - by mine and my neighbor's reckoning. About three miles southwest of here is a huge shelterbelt on an old farm that held two to three turkeys for almost a year or so until they just disappeared. We all had our suspicions that a certain resident (not gonna say gentleman, who doesn't reside here any more) poached 'em.

The State of Kansas has divided the joint up into hunting sections, and the one The Poor Farm and a neighboring area have not allowed turkey hunting for years and years. This was because there were no turkeys living here in the first place. They seem to like areas with a little more water than we have here.

There is a sort of deer and game "trail" that runs from the southwest to the northeast from the Arkansas River on towards Jetmore. In that swath is where you'll generally find deer - a lot of that ground is in pasture, so there are remote stock tanks fed by windmills for them to get water. I expect the turkeys will be hanging close to stock tanks as well.

Some of ya might not be too excited to see a wild turkey. I certainly see a ton of 'em in my travels, so it's not like I never lay eyes on one. To see five of them right off my front porch, where I have never seen one in my life - well, that's thrilling to me.


drjim said...

I've never seen one in the wild.
Don't they spook very easily? I've always heard hunting turkeys is very difficult.

Jeffro said...

I've never hunted any either. I've also heard the same thing - that they are fairly smart and canny, and getting close enough for a head shot is pretty difficult even when calling them in and all camo'd up.

These were at least a hundred fifty yards away, and the snow really damped any noise I might have been making. The pheasants around here will startle further than that just hearing my front door opening.

drjim said...

My first hunting trip was with my Uncle Don and his dogs, and my Dad, to go pheasant hunting. I'll always remember the bright Fall day, and the dogs flushing them out. I got one with Uncle Don's 20ga, and he and my Dad got four more.
Fabulous way to spend a sunny day outdoors!

threecollie said...

I'll bet they like that wheat! They gobble the seeding down here, an amazing amount of it. Coincidentally I photographed some today too up behind the house.

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

'Round here turkeys are common. We have a flock that hangs around west of us by the oaks. It's not uncommon to see groups of 50 or more. In fact, some dummass got pinched last year for feeding a bunch of turkeys poisoned feed cuz they were damaging his crops (or cuz he's nuts). Hunting them is tough. They've got incredible eyesight and will flee at any movement.

Coupla years back we stayed over at a friend's house. We were woken around 5 by what I thought was a 12ga. blasting away. Turns out it was a big Tom banging on the downstairs patio door. He'd get all fanned out and just rap the glass with his beak. Crazy.

They can and will march across a field and eat every oat sprout that they see.

Anonymous said...

Gobble gobble. Several of us went to the trouble and expenses and released some wild ones in this area. Then the Game Fish and Parks told us we had to buy a license from them to hunt them. Guess we learned OUR lesson! I like to see them, especially when the hoppers get thick!

Bob's Blog said...

In George W. Bush's book Decision Points, he tells about taking the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on a tour of his ranch in Crawford. A wild turkey appeared in front of the Ford Pickup W. was driving. The Crown Prince thought it was a sign from Allah; their relationship suddenly improved, and they became friends. W. has never again seen another turkey in that part of the ranch.