The good, The bad, and the spring of 2018.
The 2018 spring gobbler season seemed to present a challenge for more hunters than usual. If you weren't among the mentally beaten, and physically whipped consider yourself lucky. Speaking of luck I'll take it anytime I can get it especially during the tough times. I didn't hunt outside Virginia this year but a lot of fellow hunters and customers reported "crazy" acting birds in their words. Crazy later being revealed as less gobbling, less willingness to commit and unusually lower kills being reported. The weather seemed to add another level of difficulty this year. In Virginia we dealt with lower temps, more wind, more cold rains than normal. It's nothing any of us hunters aren't used to in spring. This year however difficult weather came in like waves. In my experience the only way to battle it is push through. When it seems so slow that the season is scrapped you have to stay out there. For some hunters relying on a vacation window it's even tougher. Expectations of at least the better part of your short season to present prime hunting weather can be crushed by a week of wind and rain. That's frustrating to say the least but the tough times bring wisdom. For some it's the knowledge that even during the unsuccessful hunts you can learn turkey habits. If you choose to sit in a blind in driving rains just watching and keeping an ear toward the window you're learning. Like humans, turkeys may limit movement and feeding habits in bad weather. Are you stand hunting over a known food source in bad weather or travel route? As I mentioned sometimes bad weather limits movement. Also like humans there's always turkeys that are going to do the exact opposite of what some hunters expect. The only bird you'll ever have on a string like we often say is the one over your shoulder when headed to the truck. Out west because of permitting terrain I've watched from a distance thru binoculars gobblers hammering walking right towards friends sweetest sounding calling get within 100 yards simply turn continue feeding. Not one hen to influence the gobblers decision not being spooked by hunter movement either. They'll simply quit move on finding more interest in a grasshopper than chasing a call sometimes. Getting back to luck. Simply being out there as much as you can prove as valuable as the best call. You don't have to be an elite turkey caller to get the job done. I'd rather be the average caller hunting 30 days than a world class champion caller hunting for a week. I'll put my money on the average caller hunting often for consistent success with turkeys every time. Even the most seasoned hunters see the ups and downs in cycles. Weather for sure is a major factor. Birds are going to gobble somewhere maybe just not within your hearing range. They'll hammer in a foot of snow or 90 degree blazing sun. You might have killed 3 birds in as many days but a friend hunting two miles away says they're not ready yet. The following year it may switch on you. Try not to be too disheartened by slow seasons because it happens to us all. Dont get caught up in local gas station reports of turkey activity. Do your own scouting putting boots on ground when possible. With age you'll learn to take the good with the bad and appreciate each successful hunt if it's just spending time outdoors with family, friends or on a solo hunt.