This is a turkey tale during the May snow storm of 2013, the turkeys who lived in it and the hunter who hunted in it.
I stepped out the door into knee deep snow, my first thought “Is it really May?” Yes it was May in Wisconsin and the 4th week of spring turkey season had begun with 20+ inches of grainy wet snow. The deafening sound of trees giving way under all the snow’s weight gave me pause; and I wisely chose to hunt the next day instead. In the old days we called those crashing trees and limbs widow makers. I don’t often change hunting plans but I have a lot of respect for widow makers.
The sun struggled even harder than me to get up the next morning and it, the sun, did not make it up. Well, it might have been up it’s just all the snowy drizzle clouds might have just been blocking my view.
Not a turkey could be heard so I setup for some cold calling. Ten minutes into my first set of lost yelping – a GOBBLE! But it sounded odd with a kind of deadening muffle to it. His red head stuck out harshly against the white landscape, something about his movements were very strange…
This gobbler could not walk on the snow either, he sunk right to his breast and this manned up turkey was not about to let a little snow get between him and a damsel, I mean hen in distress. Never before had I seen a turkey clawing the snow with their wings with move forward. It had to be tiring; soon his great wings lifted him up onto a large snow covered oak branch. He trudged back and forth causing the snow to fall off. Kind of like he was shoveling a strut zone and strut he did. I was not sure if his booming gobbles were causing the scattering of the snow on surrounding trees or if it was from a breeze up above.
This gobbler’s show was worthy of an Oscar as time slid by unnoticed. He gobbled, I yelped trying to sound as lonely and cold as I felt. We were a fine duo him and me. If he had not been out of range our song would have ended before all those other turkeys came flying in.
That’s right, more turkeys, 5 hens, a jake and 2 more gobblers flew in to apparently start up a choir. Snow scattered filtering its way to the ground. The turkeys fluttered from limb to limb cackling, clucking and gobbling to an unseen director. My numb hands could not keep up the right tempo on the crystal pot call. I could not get any of those turkeys to move a few more trees over towards me and since they were up above me I am quite sure they saw me; but they gave that no clue to that.
For over 3 hours or so it seemed; time was irrelevant, those turkeys entertained, taught and frustrated me. They had quieted down while feeding on the oak buds and blossoms eventually fluttering away to do whatever it is turkeys do on snowy May days.