The 2016 South Carolina turkey season is going to be one of adjustment for hunters.
It lasts longer. Sunday is the opener on private land and the season continues through May 5. Public lands open to hunting on April 1.
The season limit for gobblers has been reduced from five birds to three.
That translates to lots of possibilities and things to ponder, but after all, isn’t the nature of turkey hunting one of uncertainties and head scratching?
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You may want to think twice about shooting a jake.
I have no problem with this. It is legal and on occasions adolescents gobblers can act just as unpredictably, and with as much uncertainty, as adults. In certain situations they gobble lustily.
Similarly, in situations where you have an opportunity to take two birds with a single shot or two birds in the course of a day’s hunt, a bit of a mental pause might be in order. It is perfectly legal, but the flip side is it could leave you with lots of days yet to hunt and only a single tag to be filled.
Those arepersonal decision that didn’t exist in the past.
Along with them here are some tips to add savor and flavor to your overall hunting experience.
▪ Pay attention to what’s at your feet. The spring turkey season closely coincides with the peak of spring wildflower bloom. The observant eye will spot a great deal of beauty at his feet.
▪ Another reason to look at the forest floor is one of the finest wild delicacies imaginable, morel mushrooms. Difficult to spot and unpredictable to a considerable degree when it comes to where they might or might not be found, morels occur with surprising frequency in this area.
Morels are far and away the easiest of all mushrooms to identify, and they pop from the ground during turkey season every year. There’s a world of information available on-line. Once you begin hunting and finding them, there’s every likelihood you’ll be hooked.
▪ Carry two or three one-gallon Ziploc bags in your turkey vest. They come in handy in multiple ways. If you get caught in a driving rain, something that’s always possible in a South Carolina spring, a bag or two can be used to protect calls that can be rendered inoperable in the short run or damaged for good by getting soakeda Ziploc can store giblets if you remove the entrails of a turkey fairly soon after killing it. This is important, particularly on a warm day. Not only will the turkey cool better; you can save the giblets for use in dressing or for making pate. If you locate morels, a plastic bag is a good way to to store and carry them.
▪ Locate the shotshell hull after killing a turkey. Even with a semi-automatic or a pump shotgun, it won’t be but a few feet away from your set-up position. Once back home, write a story of the hunt (date, conditions, nature of the hunt, distance, gun used, call used, and the like) on a slip of paper, roll up the paper, and insert it in the hull. Do the same for the bird’s beard, and if it won’t fit – most will slide into a 12 -gauge hull – tie it to the hull.
This gives you a permanent record of the experience, one you can pull out and relive the hunt mentally. If you are just beginning, or know the number of turkeys you have killed, you can also include the number of the bird on the paper. As I stood admiring my first turkey long years ago, my mentor said, “If you are as consumed by this as I think you’ll be, there will come a time when you can no longer remember every turkey.”
He was right. Thanks to his advice I can travel back in time to many wonderful yesterdays and once more know the joy of the moment.
In closing, my mentor was right. Turkey hunting is a marvelous and magical misery which still finds me like a six-year-old at Christmas.