It's turkey season!
Spring turkey season opens in Colorado on April 10 for limited license holders. Over-the-counter spring turkey licenses officially went on sale on March 1, and the season is approximated to run through May 31. Colorado is known for awesome hunting opportunities for both Rio Grande and Merriam's turkeys, giving hunters an opportunity for a little poultry-flavored March madness.
There are plenty of things to keep in mind before breaking out the turkey calls and hitting the blinds. If you're feeling a little rusty after last season, here are a few things the experts recommend keeping in mind to maximize your spring turkey season.
1. Get Your License
If you plan on hunting turkeys, you're legally required to comply with all relevant Colorado Parks and Wildlife hunting laws. This includes acquiring a spring turkey license. Thankfully, it's not hard. You can purchase an over-the-counter license through CPW's store website. It's worth noting that on March 23, a Reissue Preview list for spring turkey licenses became available. These reissued licenses were added to the leftover licenses list which went on sale on March 24.
It's also worthwhile to pay attention to any COVID-19 precautions set by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife service. Hunting in 2021 comes with unique health and safety considerations that are important to be aware of before you start hunting.
2. Make Sure Your Firearms Are Working Properly
Nobody wants to find out about firearm issues while they're in the field. Likewise, nobody wants to line up that perfect angle on a gobbler only to find their firearm's patterning isn't ideal for the shot. Making sure your firearms are functioning properly is vital to ensure both the success of the hunt and the safety of any hunters.
Before you go hunting, take your firearms to the range to refresh your reflexes and avoid any unpleasant surprises on the hunt. Even if you're hunting with a bow, it's valuable to find a suitable shooting environment to check the sights, draw, and balance of your weapon. Shoot any firearms several times with different loads to make sure it's on target. It's worth remembering that different loads will pattern differently with your gun, so testing each one is the key to clean, consistent shots.
3. Scout Your Hunting Grounds
You may have all of your ammo, permits, and gear ready to go, but this doesn't mean much if you can't actually find any birds to hunt. Having a sense of roosting areas and daily patterns can mean the difference between a quick, clean hunt or a long, unsuccessful one.
Many experts recommend hitting the woods early without any calls or weapons to just listen. Once you've got an idea of where the gobblers in your hunting grounds roost, you'll be much better equipped to lure some on the day of the hunt. Although most hunting licenses come with restrictions on hunting hens, tracking them can give you an idea of where the toms will be. Being prepared makes a huge difference, so use your scouting time to identify any potential considerations, advantages, or problems that come with your hunting strategy.
4. Make a Packing List
Hunt days are exciting. Once the season starts, there's often a temptation to hit the road at the first chance you have. If the overabundance of the word "preparation" in the last few paragraphs is any indication, however, you'll want to make sure you've got everything you'll conceivably need once you're in the field.
Some of these supplies are pretty obvious: camos, turkey calls, and firearms. Before you leave, however, it's worthwhile to make a packing list, complete all of your packing the evening before, and double-check your list before you head out. Not only will you avoid the embarrassment of sitting in a blind without a chair or cushion, but you might realize other things to bring as well.
Getting too grumbly on an empty stomach or getting water in your boots without a change of socks on hand are both events that risk ending your hunt early. To that end, it can be helpful to work backward. Think of all the considerations you really don't want to make when you're outdoors and then ask yourself if there's any packing you can do that allows you to sidestep them. Stuff like protein bars, toilet paper, first-aid kids, and a non-digital map can all save you some serious headaches down the road.
What are some of your go-to tips for turkey hunting? Gobble away in the comments