In April 25 IssueRussell County News
With the spring wild turkey season one week in, Russell County turkey hunters have already had a successful first few days in the woods, according to state turkey biologists.
With opening day last Saturday, it didn’t take many hunters long to harvest themselves a gobbler
As of Thursday morning, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that 73 male turkeys had been harvested in Russell County.
Fifty-seven turkeys were adults, or gobblers, while 16 were sub-adults, or jakes, according to state wildlife statistics.
As spring temperatures increase, male turkeys begin to search for mates throughout the Lake Cumberland area after breaking from their winter flocks.
Since Russell County is an agriculturally rich area, birds here tend to feed on corn, wheat and sunflowers along with other foods.
Russell County hunters had a good spring last year, harvesting 162 wild turkeys, according to Kentucky wildlife information.
According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, 26,813 birds were taken last season in the state.
This area has become well-known statewide for producing gobblers in excess of 20 pounds and with beards 10 inches or longer, ideal trophies for outdoor enthusiasts.
First, finding the location of a bird worthy of your shot takes time and effort and Russell County offers a wide array of areas ideal to harvest your turkey. Asking private landowners permission to hunt on their lands is a must; if you don’t ask you are trespassing.
Wild turkeys are deceptively cunning and can spot irregular movements in the woods with their great eyesight and hearing. When they have spotted you they will leave the area immediately by flying to a safer location.
Many hunters find themselves in stealth mode when turkey hunting, heading out early in the morning before the birds have left their roosting areas. Listening for and hearing that first gobble of a tom can give even the most experienced hunter a thrill.
Based on the weather as daylight approaches, turkeys will fly down from their roost but have been known to stay in the tree several hours after daybreak if the woods are still dark due to an overcast sky or dense fog.
Back on the ground, hunters who locate a bird next face the challenge of setting up on them without being detected. This part of the turkey hunting experience can become extremely difficult.
When a male turkey gobbles, he is calling for a hen in hopes of finding a mate. Interested hens will let out yelps to let the gobbler know they are in the area and are interested.
These sounds, along with clucks and purrs can be imitated by the three turkey calls that hunters use; a slate, diaphragm or box call.
Because you want to get as close to the bird as possible, you always run the chance of spooking the bird and ruining your morning in the woods.
These birds are classified as omnivorous, meaning they mainly eat acorns and other nuts such as hazel, chestnut or hickory.
Turkeys also have a diet of pine and beech seeds, assorted berries, roots and small insects, all readily available in this region.