It’s coming up on 10 weeks to the start of Kentucky’s Spring Gobbler Season. What am I doing to get ready?
About a month ago, right around New Years, I went down and checked my supply of turkey ammo. I shoot Federal 3-inch #4 lead. It is not the rarest ammo out there, but nobody local carries it anymore. About this time of year, it shows up in decent quantities on the websites. The last time I needed some, I ordered from Grafs.com. Hibberd’s, my LGS would also order it for me. I try to do a minimal amount of experimentation with my ammo. I know a lot of folks turn sighting-in into a whole season unto itself, but in the end, I know I’ll be taking most of my birds inside 20 yards anyway. I have not changed loads since 1996.
January is when I also start to get my calls in order. I bring them up out of storage and give them all a good workout. Normally there are no great surprises. I know some of the y’all call all year ’round, but usually I do not start to practice my calling until after the Super Bowl. If I were making calls, I would have placed an order with CustomSawing.com for the materials clear back in December. However, I am well-stocked on everything right now– calls and their fixing’s both.
I mentioned in the previous post that I noticed that my turkey bag was starting to show wear. I have kept the new Rothco Messenger bag close at hand since its purchase. Without getting too far into it, I have been working through how I am going to stock it. It is considerably roomier than my previous bag, but it is not significantly heavier. The trick will be not loading myself down with extra gear. The whole point of switching from a vest to a messenger bag was to lighten the load. Angus bought me a couple of waterproof bags for my birthday back in August. I will use one as a liner for the musette bag I keep on the other side on the days I expect rain.
There are really no surprises with the turkey guns either. Ours are dedicated to turkeys, so once we put them away, they stay there until the next season. I’ve had mine out, shucked it a few times and put it back. It is ready to go. Now is about the last day I’d waste before getting one out to the gunsmith for work.
Every year, I scour the Internet for a good deal on mouth calls. It used to be WingSupply.com had the best deals on their closeouts. Nowadays, I usually find the best on Amazon.com. An $8 call is sort of lost on me. I use boxes and pot calls that I make myself for most of the heavy lifting. Mouth calls are reserved for rainy days and that last minute bit of clucking I do after I’ve taken the safety off. This year, I scored 14 calls for under $20 getting a 3-pack and a 4-pack made by HS Strut and Quaker Boy. I’m splitting them with Angus.
Starting in about 2 weeks, I will start watching the weather. I set the following parameters for a return to turkey camp.
1) The high temperature on Saturday must be 50F or above
2) There can be no rain predicted for all-day Saturday or Sunday morning.
3) I must have a 3 hour window of good weather on Friday night and Sunday for travel
Our earliest return has been the second weekend in February. Our latest has been 4th weekend in March. Coming back after 2-3 months away from turkey camp holds all sorts of unknowns. We’ve shown up with no power– sometimes it can be off for 6 weeks at a time in the Winter. Truth is, I just don’t know what I’m going to find when I get there. Therefore, I leave myself as much leeway as I can. In order to make it an effective trip, we need good weather on Saturday and at least part of Sunday. Even with those limits imposed, the first trip down can be rugged. With the woodstove and all the heaters going it usually takes from 7 PM Friday until 0600 Saturday for the bedrooms to get above 50F. It may be that on the outside, but it may be close to freezing on the inside. This is the dark side of having a well-insulated cabin. The first hour of our stay is usually spent running the attic fan to bring the inside temperature up to the ambient outside temperature.
Right now, I’m collecting things like the water jugs, the long underwear, and the clothes I brought back for mending. We want everything in place for a quick decision to go. On our first trip back, everything from coffee to dog food gets carried down. We keep stuff down there, but we don’t know what’s intact.