Living in Grayson County in early April can be difficult plight for a died-in-the-wool spring turkey hunter.
I happen to be on of those hunters suffering at the moment.
Why the difficulty? Because many of my friends are already in the woods chasing longbeards in other parts of Texas that are open to hunting. All the while as I sit and wait rather impatiently for the April 15 opener here locally.
Take the North Texas Rio Grande season that opened last weekend in 101 counties including Cooke, Montague, Clay and Wise counties.
For nimrods in those counties, it was game on.
One of those spring hunters was Pottsboro outfitter J.J. Kent (www.kentoutdoors.com), who ventured to Mills County to see if the longbeards would dance.
After Friday scouting revealed several strutting toms two-stepping their way around a field edge, Kent was set up the next morning hoping for the best as shooting time arrived.
“There were two birds that came off the roost and upon seeing my Avian X decoys, they came at a dead sprint,” said Kent.
Kent worked his selection of Zink turkey calls and the birds strutted their stuff around the decoys, putting on a good show for several moments as they gobbled lustily to every falsetto yelp that was made.
A big bird finally offered a clean shot to Kent at 10 yards. When his Browning Maxus shotgun roared, the Hevi Shot load hammered its way home and put a longbeard on the ground.
Next up, it was client Paul Nelson’s turn behind the gun as Kent worked his magic on the calls last Sunday morning. This time, the Zink played love song lured in seven toms hoping for a bit of April romance.
“They pranced around the decoys for a few minutes,” said Kent, a Mossy Oak pro-staffer. “Paul picked out the bird he wanted and dropped him.”
Whitesboro’s veteran spring turkey slayer Doug Rodgers also spent opening weekend chasing longbeards. He ventured west to his Clay County turkey lease with his son Evan, the latter hoping to anchor a longbeard with his bow.
Despite a close call or two — and plenty of gobbling birds in the area — the younger Rodgers left with his tag unfilled.
But the elder Rodgers said the birds are very vocal right now and it’s only a matter of time before his teenage son is on the board with a bow killed gobbler.
Here in Grayson County, while the Tax Day season opener is still more than a week away, I’ve heard reports of good numbers of strutting longbeards even with the rainy and unseasonably chilly weather of late.
That should mean good things for Grayson County hunters come April 15th and beyond.
In the meantime, if you have the chance to venture west or south into Rio Grande country, Kent says you may be in high cotton the next couple of days.
“This coming weekend looks like the weather is going to clear up and allow for some good opportunities for those hunting in counties that are open already for Rio Grandes,” said Kent. “If you can get out, you should have a great opportunity to harvest your spring gobbler.”