Late March brings turkey season to Mid-South

March! Now we're talking. A bunch of things happen this month.

First of things to happen will be the awakening of our agriculture community. Men and equipment will once again go about the task of feeding and clothing the world.

While the soil is not tilled as it was years ago, there will be someone with a disk bringing about the smell of freshly plowed ground. Only country people know this smell. It used to signify the start of another crop year. Now the airplane gets us started.

With all of the talk of a record planted corn crop and the price of corn, we will be well-advised to lay claims for deer corn early.

Another event will occur in March. Vernal Equinox. That's right, the day/night hours will be equal on or about March 21. This means that the days will start being longer than the nights.

I really don't know how we take the long hot summer days without just keeling over. But it happens and we survive.

Now, later on in March we have turkey season. Yeah, buddy, now we're talking. Here in northeast Louisiana, our opening Saturday will occur March 24. A phone call to the conservation/wildlife departments of Louisiana, (225) 765-2800, Mississippi (601) 432-2400, Alabama (334) 242-3465, and Missouri (573) 751-4115, will provide specific dates and regulations.

With just a few days before opening day, try to make a scouting trip to your favorite hunting area. Look for tracks and feathers. An early morning trip might catch an old gobbler trying to start his spring ritual.

The first chance you get, start looking your equipment over. Are your decoys still workable? Have you repaired the hole in your backpack? Are the “rubbers” in your diaphragm mouth calls still pliable? Have you enough chalk for your box calls?

Are you going to shoot a different shotgun this year? Have you bought shells and shot them in the new shotgun to obtain a pattern?

If you are like me and get to hunt just a few days each spring, you want everything to work and function. I hate like the dickens to try to gather my stuff up on Friday morning, make groceries, get to the camp, and discover at 9 p.m. that I forgot my special turkey shotgun shells, or, worse, my state turkey stamp.

But then again, I am convinced there are three essential events for a turkey to be bagged on the North American Continent. First, one must be in the woods turkey hunting! Second, there must be a turkey (legal) in the woods. Third, the hunter must be able to shoot this turkey that wants to die. That really doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it?

I am reminded of an Alabama hunt several years ago on or near the Kinterbish WMA. In the end, our party of four had a really good hunt with a 50 percent kill ratio. I was one of the negative 50 percent, needless to say.

At any rate, on one of the last mornings my hunting buddy Mike May and I stumbled upon each other about mid-morning. There was nothing to do but sit down and call, hoping some lonely old gobbler would betray his location. The only flaw was a jake that started trying to choke himself.

Well here we go, closing some distance before coming upon, believe it or not, a 6-foot cyclone fence with posted signs every 20 feet. Now, this jake seemed to be on our side of the fence on down the way. We set up, I the shooter, Mike the caller, no decoys. This jake was coming, and I was ready, just like on TV, shotgun on one knee, gloves and face mask on.

Then it happened, the strangest of noises came from behind me with this jake right in front of me but out of sight. Mike wouldn't answer my inquiries, so slowly I looked around. There was Mike, shotgun to his shoulder and turkeys sticking their heads through the cyclone fence. There must have been a dozen or so, Not one of them tried to hop or fly over the fence. They were trying to go through it.

And then, as suddenly as it had started, it ended. They just turned and ran off. And my jake went on to make another day.

If you get a chance, take a kid hunting or fishing. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy the outdoors. Some of the best friends and meals are made “at the camp.”

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