The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

March 9, 2014

Turkey-hunting proving a lifetime pursuit

Grand successes or big humiliations await

I started hunting turkeys when I was in high school. Back then, my passion for hunting was almost entirely consumed by bow hunting until I was introduced to the sport of turkey hunting by a friend. My friend had no clue how to hunt turkeys but he was extremely dedicated to figuring it out — and so was I.

The history of turkeys in our state is a remarkable story and one that needs to be told often. According to WVDNR’s webpage, “The single greatest success story in wildlife management in West Virginia has been the spectacular return of the wild turkey.” A major contributor to this success was a program that involved trapping turkeys in areas of relative abundance and releasing them in areas with no turkeys to start new populations.

“The wild turkey transplant program was instrumental in re-establishing our most popular game bird throughout the state. By the completion of the program in 1989, more than 2,000 wild turkeys were released and resulted in the reestablishment of wild turkey populations in 39 counties. Presently, approximately 140,000 wild turkeys are now distributed throughout all 55 counties.”

Turkey hunters, new and old, we owe them a debt of gratitude for their work that allows us the opportunity to chase a sustainable population of turkeys. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.)

The early years of my turkey hunting career were lean. My brother and I trudged through them gaining knowledge from our countless errors of learning how to set up on and call to turkeys effectively. Along the way, thank goodness, there were a few “gift” turkeys that kept us motivated enough to call ourselves turkey hunters.  Throughout our evolution as turkey hunters, we have been blessed with grand successes and some years of complete defeat in tangling with the wild turkey. But all the while, I have been an unabashed turkey hunter whether I was smiling or learning to walk gracefully back to the truck empty-handed.

My desire for turkey hunting has taken me across the country. I have been successful and I have been flat-out humiliated by turkeys in such states as Ohio, Kentucky, New York, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Texas, Florida and in a few other states I won’t allow myself to recall.  

This past week, I was invited to chase the Florida wild turkey, also referred to as the Osceola. I have hunted Florida turkeys before but I have never been so lucky to have a bird in range and willing to stand still enough for me to shoot. After battling weather, airport delays and closures and all that goes with wintertime travel, I landed in sunny Florida ready to give it another go.

On the second day of my hunt, a gobbler came within range of our calls and with the break of the trigger I had successfully taken my first Osceola turkey. And in doing so, I had completed the American Grand Slam of turkey hunting — having taken one turkey from each of the four major subspecies of wild turkeys (Eastern, Osceola, Merriam's and Rio Grande)

After twenty-some-odd years of hunting turkeys, I am not sure I know much more about hunting them than I did when I started. I still struggle to find the perfect place to sit still, when and how to call to them and trying to remain calm when they walk into gun range. I guess that’s the allure of turkey hunting. I plan on learning how to hunt turkeys for the rest of my days.

1
Text Only
Other Sports
  • RH 080114saints1.jpg Intensity reaches new level at Saints training camp

    Following their first day off from training camp on Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints reported to their new $30 million practice facility at The Greenbrier Thursday full of energy and with an edge that hadn’t been seen through the first five practices.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • New Orleans practices bring back memories for Haas

    Bob Haas stood back away from the field Thursday, watching the action at the New Orleans Saints Greenbrier training camp intently but avoiding getting too close.

    August 1, 2014

  • West Virginia beats Danville Dans 5-1

    The West Virginia Miners may have their backs against the wall, but they aren’t throwing in the towel yet.

    July 31, 2014

  • Passions are high for the Big Four

    When it comes to the English Premier League, there are clubs and there are kings. 

     

    July 31, 2014

  • YMCA fall soccer registration underway
    Fall is just around the corner and registration is now open for youth soccer at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.
     

    July 31, 2014

  • UBB memorial race Saturday in Princeton

    Princeton Speedway will host the 4th Annual Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Race Saturday at 7 p.m. 

    July 31, 2014

  • Johnnie Ferri tourney set this weekend

    The 12th annual Johnnie Ferri Softball Tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3 at Collins Park.

    July 31, 2014

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Colin Bowles, the 14-year-old little brother of Corey, is coming into his own as a successful athlete. The younger Bowles competed last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur in The Woodlands, Texas, making the cut before bowing out in match play. Right there beside Colin, as he has been his entire life, was older brother Corey,

    July 30, 2014

Saints Training Camp

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide