Journeys with Jim: Spring turkey season is almost upon us

Published on Wednesday, 4 April 2018 17:38
Written by JIM BELIVEAU

CORRESPONDENT

In my last story, I talked about quite a bit about birds and bird watching. I’ve always been fascinated with birds.

Of all the different species, I think the wild turkey is right up there on my top 10 list. There’s nothing like the sound of a tom turkey gobbling in the spring woods or seeing one in full strut in old woodland clearings. Just the other day, while out in the yard with the dogs, I could hear a turkey gobbling. He sounded like he was on the far hill to the west of the house. Judging by his calling, I assumed he was still on the roost in a high old tree but he went quiet once he flew down. I’m sure a hen or two were close by as it’s the time of the spring breeding season.

Along with the breeding season, the spring turkey hunting season is also at hand. Opening day is slated for April 25 until May 26. During the spring season, only bearded birds may be harvested. Hunting is allowed on both state and private lands from a half hour before sunrise until noon. No turkey hunting is allowed on Sundays.

The theory behind the noontime end to the hunting day is to allow the hens to resume their nesting duties without interruption by hunters. To my knowledge, there are only a handful of states that allow all-day hunting for turkeys. Although I was unable to confirm the information, I have heard there was possibly a bill in the state legislature that may change the regulation to allow for all-day hunting in Connecticut. I for one am hoping this is just a rumor and not fact as I personally would oppose such a rule change.

I think our turkey population is probably stable enough. However, to allow all-day hunting may jeopardize that stability for the future of the resource. Hens that would otherwise be nesting may abandon nest sites because of hunter disturbance or other environmental factors. I’ve been an avid spring turkey hunter for many years, so I can say with some degree of certainty that by about 10 o’clock in the morning in late April or early May, it’s generally pretty warm and “buggy” with mosquitoes and gnats, which makes me pretty much willing to call it a day by noon anyway.

Last weekend, I journeyed down to the Housatonic River to do a bit of striper fishing. My plan was to stop at a local bait shop in Shelton then head down to Milford. To my dismay, I found that the bait store’s owners had closed up shop and retired. It’s sad to see a number of “mom & pop” bait shops have closed over the years. We used to have a couple of shops here in Bristol but no longer. Skipper’s Bait & Tackle off Route 6 was the last one to close here in town some years back. The old days are gone forever, I guess.



Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports on Wednesday, 4 April 2018 17:38. Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2018 17:41.