The spring gobbler season opened Monday, April 23, 2012. For Randolph and Pocahontas Counties, the weather was something to be desired. While Elkins only got a light dusting of snow, in other areas of these counties things were quite different. One person told me that Cherry Fork in northern Randolph County got 4-5 inches of the white stuff. The same could also be said for the Huttonsville and Valley Head Areas. Another person told me that Slaty Fork in Pocahontas County got 6-8 inches of snow. Anyone wanting to be outdoors to call and hunt spring gobblers in that kind of weather is simply wasting his time.
In the column that I had on April 14, 2012, I stated that I have only been spring gobbler hunting two times in my life.
On both of these outings, I should have just stayed in bed.
Now before I go any further, I need to emphasize that my friend who was trying to call one in for me was quite good at calling turkeys. We just happened to be at a location where there wasn't any turkeys at that point in time. To make a long story short, we weren't at the right place at the right time.
This is the luck of the game or sport.
I did some checking yesterday morning at two of the check-in stations in the Elkins area.
The Par Mar station of Route 33 had checked in 11 gobblers so far, and Middle Mountain Sporting Goods Store, also on Route 33, had checked in about 30 birds.
I have only killed one wild turkey in all my years of hunting. I was squirrel hunting out Files Creek during the fall turkey season when I managed to get a young hen with a .22 rifle. After being fully dressed out, it may have weighed 8-10 pounds. This small turkey was very tasty when we had it for a Sunday dinner.
Over the years, I have heard all kinds of stories about spring gobbler calling and hunting. A few of them go like this: A young man got one during the first week of the season.
His girlfriend offered to prepare and cook it for him. The young lady did an excellent job of scalding and plucking the feathers.
The next day she put it into the oven.
After about 30 minutes, something did not smell right so she turned the heat up slightly. In another 15 minutes, it really smelled terrible.
Her boyfriend pulled it out of the oven and found out that his girlfriend forgot to take the entrails out of the carcass.
That had to be one hellacious mess to clean up.
Another young man, who has just gotten married about three months before the spring gobbler season, got one during the first week.
The following Sunday, the newlyweds say down to enjoy a turkey dinner with the trimmings.
The meat tasted like ramps.
The young couple ended up throwing more than half of the turkey away.
A friend of mine was sitting on his porch swing practicing his turkey calling the weekend before the spring gobbler season opened. He just happened to have a shotgun propped up against the wall next to him. The longer he practiced, the better he felt like he was getting with his turkey calling. In the meantime, his wife came out, picked up the shotgun and took it inside to put away. My friend went on to say, "I am glad she did, because if I had gotten any better with my turkey calling, I would have shot myself." This last story is a big exaggeration, of course; but it makes good conversation when guys are sitting around jawboning about hunting and fishing.
I have had many hunters to tell me they do not care about spring gobbler season because the turkeys are not good eating this time of the year?
I have also had hunters to tell me they get more enjoyment in calling in a gobbler in the spring than they do bagging a trophy buck in the fall.
Sometimes, sport hunting is a matter of preferences; and this is what makes hunting so interesting to me.