THE OUTDOOR JOURNAL
YOUTH TURKEY SEASON
This weekend, April 7 and 8, is the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend. As I write this, there are 4 inches of snow on the deck and the forecast for this weekend is unseasonably cold. Thirty nine degrees for a high on Saturday and in the 40's with rain on Sunday. Of course if you are a 15 year old “youth” in your ninth youth season and able to drive yourself to the woods on a learners permit, you may not care, but that's another story.
The “youth” turkey season is not as controversial as the “youth” deer season, mainly because it does not cause much interference with the regular turkey season, other than the gobblers that are toted out of the woods before the regular turkey opener on April 16th.
The regulations are straight forward for the most part. Youth, who are 6-15 on opening day may take one male turkey or turkey with visible beard. Youth hunters who kill a turkey during the youth season may not harvest a second bird until April 23. This is because the bird taken during the youth season counts as the first bird for the first week of the regular season.
The purpose of the youth season is to introduce youngsters to turkey hunting. Of course any day of the three week spring turkey season is an opportunity to take a young person turkey hunting. Last year I took my 5 year old granddaughter on a mid day turkey hunt and we had a grand time. We did not see a turkey as she has pointed out several times since, but we spent a morning in a sunny clover patch next to the woods, drew pictures and ate snacks and vowed to do it again.
I recommend a blind for the real young first time turkey hunters. The blind will be warmer, allow them to fidget around and allow the birds to get much closer which will assist greatly if you get to the shooting stage. Some kind of cross sticks or tripod arrangement will aid in steadying the barrel for the inexperienced turkey hunter who will be experiencing an increased heart rate if there is a strutting gobbler staring them down. Actually, the increase in heart rate afflicts hunters of all ages, but then, that's part of the fun. Even if you pass on taking a young hunter this weekend, I'd recommend you find the time to do it during the regular season. You both will remember it for years to come.