Gearing up for spring Turkey Season

It’s January 21st and I’m already starting to gear up for the first hunt of the season. Turkey season will be approaching us shortly and it’s time to start doing my homework.

Many people that don’t hunt may think that hunting is an easy sport! I mean, how hard can it really be? Don’t most people just hit wild game on a regular basis anyway while on a nice country drive, or along the 400 series highways? So really, how hard can hunting be if animals are all over the place anyways, right?

WRONG!

Let me explain. When you actually intentionally go after a specific animal in the wild weather you want to hunt them or just view them and take a photograph, hunting successfully is extremely skillful. There are so many variables which will determine weather or not your coming home with food for the table or hitting up the grocery store on your way home. So I’m going to go over my game plan so that this spring I will be bringing meat home to the family.

First things first, what does one need to even legally be able to go out in the outdoors and be able to harvest any animal? Not just a Turkey?

Anyone wishing to hunt wild game turkeys included, must have the following:

  • An Outdoors Card. $8.57
  • mandatory Hunting course in Ontario. You can challenge the course online for$60.00 but does not give you the ability to hunt with a rifle or shotgun. A proper Hunters Education course is with a certified instructor, usually is done over the course of 2 weekends and costs $300.00. You will receive your PAL with this option ( hunt with a shotgun or rifle) $300.00 ish
  • small game licence listed on your licence summary or on the back of your Outdoors Card. $22.76/year or $68.28 for a 3 year card (which I purchase every time I renew).
  • A wild turkey tag (for the appropriate spring/fall season) $26.33 valid only for the spring or $26.33 valid only for Fall season. (I buy both even if I don’t t get out to hunting ) the money received from our tags goes back into the conservation of our wildlife which is why I purchase tags to any animal I would normally hunt each season, even If I have no intention of hunting that year. Like I have done for the past almost 6 years while I have not hunted.
  • proof of firearm accreditation if you are hunting with a gun. But since I’m hunting with a bow, I do not need this
  • Cost of weapon of choice. For me a crossbow, paid $379.00
  • Arrows and broad heads $95
  • A hunting blind varies in cost, you can build out of natural material if you want but it won’t be mobile, mine was on sale for $89.00
  • Turkey Decoys $89.00 off Amazon
  • Camo clothing approx $150.00 for my gear.
  • Field Knife (variable prices from $20 to $400) mine is $125.00 plus add-ons
  • Back pack to carry gear $50

So you see if you only plan on hunting a Turkey once in your life just for the experience of it? it is quite the investment just to get started, and then there are yearly costs to continue.

I have all my courses, licensing, I will need my turkey Tag which will be available on line closer to when the season opens. So as you can see just to get started you will be spending close to $1,380.00 and you don’t have a Turkey to show for it yet.

So some would ask, “if it really cost that much money just to go out and harvest your own turkey. Would it not be easier and cheaper to get one at the store?” Seems like a legit question for sure!

So I will try and answer my own question with the following.

First hunting is definitely not about saving money, and or convenience. Lol hunting is about being able to get out into nature and be as one with the wild as much as you can, it’s about being able to get as close to a specific animal undetected, about learning all you possibly can of the behaviour, habitats, and having the ability to outsmart a targeted animal. Time and time again. The bonus to hunters. Is that at the end of it all there is a reward. They get to bring some meat home and have a great meal to share with the family.

So many people think that hunters are heartless, or they hate animals! How could someone Thales the life of an innocent animal?

To see my answer on this ?, please follow the link as I do my best to try and explain this in detail.

But no! Hunters are not animal haters at all. Infact I think most hunters love animals at an even deeper level than most other people.

A hunter has to truly learn everything there is to know about his/her hunted species. The research, knowledge, and time hunters have invested into a targeted species requires all the above, (sometimes a lifetime) of time researching and studying, a hunter and a serious understanding of its habitat, yearly habits, food sources, anatomy, diseases, movements, and their enemies.

A hunter must study the habits of his/her (targeted species) enemies as well. For my target species of hunted animals (Deer & Turkey), the Coyotes and wolf are the most known predators. Of course turkeys have many more predators to worry about then the deer do but I’m specifically talking about coyotes and wolves at the moment. In fact in my WMU these predators are so prominent that there is an open season for hunters to hunt them year round with no tag required. There are few WMUs in Ontario with that kind of restriction for Hunting coyotes/wolves

So many hunters will go out of their way to spend time and money to take out the enemies of their targeted species too. This would help the population of said targeted species, not to mention help the population of all the other species that are hunted by these predators.

Follow this link to read about the deers & Turkey biggest threat, and no it’s not human.

Well now that I’ve talked about what you are required by law to have and the time it takes to study these animals, the costs involved and the enemies of these magnificent birds, now we need some land in order to harvest one for a Turkey dinner this year.

Acquiring land to hunt on can be maybe the biggest challenge a hunter must overcome.

Where I live in southeastern Ontario, there are vast lands, (mostly farm land) which you would think would be perfect right? Well it is, (for the most part) there are wild turkeys in almost every field you look at around here. The problem is none of the land is owned by yours truly. Now especially during this pandemic, asking for permission to hunt on a farmers land when everyone looks at you like you have the plague just for walking onto their property to ask the permission to be there in the first place lol is proving to be a difficult task. Which is the exact reason I am starting my quest in January to find a plot of land someone is willing to let me on. This task alone can take months to attain. More so if you are not from the area. When you live in the country, and you not from the area, people are friendly but not all that eager to help an outsider out in this way. Land is often reserved for close relatives and friends to hunt on and sometimes land, especially prime lands, are not hunted at all.

More and more farmers are not allowing hunting activities on their lands for several reasons. 1st they do not want the liability if something was to go wrong, or someone, or something was to get injured or killed accidentally. This is a legitimate concern of course. Especially to just openly trust a stranger to go on your land and operate a firearm, or projectile weapon of some kind that is easily powerful enough to take out a horse.

And even if a hunter is a member of the O.F.A.H. which has insurance in place for hunters for just such an accident god forbid that happened. It does not put many land owners at ease.

So it requires time, effort, patience, and a good knowledge of the targeted species in order to be able to show the farmers and land owners that you are not just some schmuk, and that you can be trusted. Also you must take the land owners list of his own rules to heart and follow their instructions if you do get permission to hunt on a property. Some land owners will only wish you to harvest what you want if you are able to get rid of something they want first? Like a coyote that is harming his livestock? And most hunters are happy to oblige.

Ok so you have gear, property, licenses, tags, and it’s the right time of year, preparation for the hunt also requires time to study your prey. Days, weeks, & even months of feeding and baiting an area so your prey knows to come to your spot. Check the regulations in your area for these tactics. It’s not as simple as putting a blind up anywhere and just hoping a Turkey will cross your path.

Ok maybe sometimes it is lol.

Now that everything seems in place and you have all your T’s crossed and ii’s dotted then hopefully you have done it right the first time. Other waist you may be spending day after day looking for that perfect bird to come your way.

If not, you may be off the the grocery store for that thanks giving Turkey after all.

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