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Texas' 2005 Spring Turkey Forecast
Hunters eager to get out and challenge our eastern and Rio Grande gobblers will surely want to read this ... [+] Full Article
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Texas Sportsman
Lone Star Turkey Outlook For 2006
Texas turkey hunters could get spoiled by great turkey hunting such as they've enjoyed for the past two seasons. And this year looks like another winner! (March 2006)

One thing that most Texas turkey hunters have in common is that when they're looking forward to the upcoming spring's gobbler-only season, they can't help remembering last year's season -- and just how exciting it was.

That's because Texas' spring season has rarely been a bust for most serious turkey hunters, who often return to the same hunting leases, commercial outfitters or public hunting areas that led to their bagging a gobbler or two a year ago, and plan accordingly for the curtain about to rise on still another season.

Recently, while I was chalking my box call for a little practice session on my front porch, memories of a cool, damp April morning on a Stephens County ranch west of Fort Worth last year brought me soothing thoughts -- and sparked great expectations.

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You never know from one day to the next what to expect with the Texas weather, so I brought along more calls that morning than I usually carry in my belt's bag of tricks: two standard paddle-type box calls that have become my favorites, a pair of slate calls that I sometimes use for softly teasing stubborn gobblers that have hung up out of shotgun range, and three different types of diaphragm calls for those rainy or damp days that often play havoc with box and slate calls.

As I do before all spring turkey seasons, I'd done a lot of scouting and a lot of questioning of landowners, oil well pumpers and state wildlife biologists prior to the season opener. If you really want to feel goose bumps when the first gobble-gobble-gobble thunders down from a nearby turkey roost at daybreak on opening morning, just prime your mind before the season opens with stories of gobblers with 11-inch-plus beards from folks who are in the woods every day. It doesn't matter whether they're telling the truth or not; the fact is that before you give your first hen yelp, you're all ready for the greatest spring turkey opener ever.

At morning's first light, held back by a curtain of dark clouds and lightly misting rain, a gobbler sounded off from a couple of hundred yards across a large wheat field. I listened to him for at least 30 minutes before I could tell from the direction out of which the gobbling had come that he had left the roost and was moving southward, to my right.

I gave a few yelps with the diaphragm call; the gobbler responded immediately. Another yelp brought another response, and so I held back and waited.

The ol' tom gobbled three more times before I yelped again; he immediately gobbled back. I let him gobble several more times without answering before finally yelping to him again. I could tell by the distance of his gobbling that I had him on a string. He finally approached the fence bordering the wheat field and followed the brush on the inside of the fence to within 20 yards of the camouflage netting I was hiding behind.

Seconds later I was looking down at one of the largest gobblers I've ever taken in Texas -- a Rio Grande with an 11-inch beard and spurs almost 1 1/2 inches long!

Today, as I chalk my calls and ready my decoys and other gear for the spring opener, I can't help expecting this one to be just as good as, or maybe even better than, the one in spring of 2005.

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