Back in the Woods: Preparing for Colorado’s Spring Turkey Season
The spring snows continue to come but soon they will fade to the green leaves of a new season’s birth for Colorado. Turkey season is just a month away, and I find myself tuning calls, checking my old turkey vest and, at times, day dreaming about those gobbles at first light.
I thought about how we might approach this new season for the novice hunter and will work to provide some insight about what you should attempt to put in practice in the woods this spring. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the upcoming season:
If you are new to turkey hunting and do not know about using a call, go buy a simple box call and practice making a cluck and a yelp. Practice making the calls softly, then gaining volume. A basic box call is your best starting point.
Do not spend a bunch of money on gear your first time out. A basic shotgun (12 or 20 gauge), some dark clothing—if not camouflage, a basic pack to carry your gear and a game plan is a good start.
Read turkey hunting books and watch some videos to learn about turkey habitat, behavior and areas of Colorado which can be hunted with an unlimited license. Check out the articles in “Turkey School,” an online course offered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Scout for Success
Do some scouting in areas you may wish to hunt. If you see some turkeys, just sit at a distance and watch them through a set of binoculars. Watch them interact, feed and communicate. See if you can tell the difference between hens, jakes and toms. Doing this when you are not in “hunt” mode will pay great benefits.
Play it Safe
As you think about your hunt this spring, you need to consider some safety aspects of the hunt:
- Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return.
- Know where others may be hunting in your vicinity and do not assume you are the only one there.
- Be a defensive hunter. Set up in a position that you can see but are not able to be seen. Find a big tree to sit against and protect your backside.
- Be sure of the target and what is beyond it. Know the law for harvesting a “bearded” bird in the spring and what constitutes a beard on a turkey.
Share the Woods with others. People come to Colorado to hike, bike, fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors. We must all share the land and enjoy our individual way of recreation.
Written by Jim Bulger. Bulger is the hunter outreach program coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. To read more tips and stories on turkey hunting, see “Turkey School” on Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website.