The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


April 29, 2012

Spring turkey hunt addiction

BECKLEY — I have it bad this year. To be perfectly honest, I get it bad every year but I tend to forget how bad I had it until it rears its ugly head again.

For those of you who are not cursed — the lucky ones — you might not have known this past week was the first week of spring gobbler season. For the cursed — the walking-dead brethren — it was a week of getting up in the middle of the night to give chase at first light to a critter who enjoys humiliating humans to the point of breaking and returning them to the normal world in a sleep-deprived state. Some afflicted hunters try to go to work after hunting, while others simply stumble through the rest of the day until they fall asleep in their chairs at dinner.

The name of the critter is Tom turkey, and his contagious illness is becoming addicted to spring turkey hunting.

To add spice to the dish, the weather was on Tom’s side for most of the week, including a day of snow, two days of high winds and, of course, a washout day. You might ask a perfectly sane question like, “If it is rainy and cold, why didn’t you wait until a nicer day to go hunting?” The insane spring turkey hunter’s reply is generally some brilliant, crafty, well-educated response like, “Duh, it’s the first week of the season. You gotta go!”

Perhaps a personal example from yours truly will shed some light on the topic of spring turkey hunting insanity. This past Thursday, I made good on an invitation to hunt a small hillside farm that a friend said was full of turkeys. According to him, they wake his children up every morning with their nonstop gobbling and the mailman is afraid to get out of his vehicle in fear of a gobbler spurring him to death. He stated the woods were raked so clean by the turkey’s scratching, I should be able to slip up on them real quiet-like. And the real deal sealer, I was the only turkey hunter he gave permission to hunt the farm.

He was certain I would be taking a gobbler for a ride in the back of my truck shortly after daybreak.

The hunting day started with a radio alarm waking me from my nap. A thunderstorm that night had kept me from continuous sleep, and it was still raining. Since the farm was more than an hour-and-a-half from my house, and to ensure I had plenty of time to get high on the ridge at first light, I had to leave three hours before sunrise.

Nothing is more fun than walking straight uphill in a pitch-black rainstorm. With rain dripping from the bill of my hat, I walked miles around the farm calling into the deafening silence of the spring woods. There might have been turkeys there, but I never heard or saw one. I did, however, manage to get plenty of exercise and field test some of the latest-greatest raingear that was great at letting streams of ice cold water run down my back.

After several soggy hours of hiking around, I returned to my office for an afternoon of staring at my computer through bloodshot eyes, hoping no one would ask me to do something that required intelligence.

With week one of turkey season behind us — and, of course, a day of rest — the spring turkey hunting brethren will once again hit the woods this coming week with renewed vigor to match wits with the finest of game birds. We turkey hunters define it as the craziness of spring gobbler season.

Others just call it insanity.

Text Only
  • Some books for the rest of summer

    Stretching out in a hammock with a good book is a great way to relax on a warm summer afternoon. Here are a few titles that have recently caught my eye.

    July 27, 2014

  • Creating a week to remember

    After my traveling shoes were placed neatly beside the door, it was time to spend some much needed time around home.

    July 27, 2014

  • There are some changes on the way

    Hunters who have found themselves driving out of their way to check in a deer, turkey, or bear will no longer have to waste the time or gas starting in 2015. 

    July 27, 2014

  • The cure for the summertime blues: Go camping

    In case you haven’t noticed we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 26, 2014

  • 071714 Coda and Callie.jpg Coda and Callie’s excellent adventure

    How is it something that you profess to love so much can cause you so much anxiety and grief? No, I’m not talking about dealing with your children (or your spouse). This is worse. This is about dogs. More specifically, hunting dogs. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071314 Chris Ellis.jpg DNR’s ‘outdoor summer school’

    Attention all West Virginia hunters and trappers. It is once again time for outdoor summer school and the course materials are hot off the presses.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Eurasian collared-dove

    Back in 1974 a local pigeon fancier imported a flock of about 50 Eurasian collared-doves to the Bahamas. Ultimately he released the birds, and they took to living in the West Indies. By the late 1970s some had reached south Florida, and by the late 1980s, some had been seen in Georgia and Arkansas.

    July 13, 2014

  • July in W.Va.: Recreational opportunities abound

    It’s July in the West Virginia mountains, which brings vibrant orange tiger lilies, blooming rhododendron, and of course fireworks. Usually the heat and humidity is in full force, but so far the weather has been nice.

    July 13, 2014

  • Shotgun 101: Shoot more and live better

    “God is not on the side of big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”
    — Voltaire

    July 9, 2014

  • Fireflies are living lights

    At recent Fourth of July fireworks displays, spectators squealed with delight at the annual spectacle that illuminated the night sky. And I’m sure more than a few compared the spectacular pyrotechnics to the subtler displays of fireflies that punctuate backyards, parks, and campgrounds all summer long. We call these displays “nature’s fireworks.”

    July 5, 2014

Web Special Sections
  • Special Web Sections

    Click HERE for stories about natural gas and Marcellus shale gas extraction.

    Click HERE for stories about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

    Click HERE for stories about the passing of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    Click HERE for stories from The Greenbrier Classic PGA TOUR event.

    August 6, 2010

Helium debate
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp