Get ready! Turkey hunting season is coming


Apparently, spring turkey season is the next big event. Forget everything else, because it is turkey, turkey, turkey from here on out. Not just in Ohio, but in nearly every state, where turkey hunters are like cash cows to marketers of outdoor gear.

Our mailbox has been filled in recent weeks with catalogs, fliers, offers and various other promotions for all that is turkey. The mailings hark new calls, which sound more like turkeys than real birds, specialty vests that have a pocket for every conceivable accessory, deadly new ammo, perfectly engineered shotguns with technology packed sights, some of this, lots of that — it’s credit card mania.


As for the turkeys, they are still bunched up in their winter flocks. They are everywhere. But just as soon as every piece of new gear is gobbled up by anxious hunters, the scene will change. And just as tom turkeys start feeling the annual early spring burn of lust, the hens will in turn begin primping and prepping for upcoming romantic ventures.

Interestingly, by the time hunting season begins in April, the birds will have taken on a whole new outlook on life and a whole new set of behaviors; all of which seem to keep them out of danger.

Hunters are not very good gatherers, except for gear. Like golfers who think a more expensive club will correct a bad swing, unskilled hunters think the same way. Their new club is a new gun, but it seldom equals better luck.

Just kidding

Better gear can, in fact, make any hunter a more successful hunter, at least if killing is the measure used. But for the most part, turkey hunting still takes a good bit of woodsmanship, a large dose of patience, a pocketful of determination mixed with perseverance, and all of the above, blended with good old fashioned luck.

Technology has no end, and recently developed fishing lures are a perfect example of just what a team consisting of techies and fishermen can do with a lab full of computers and a bottle or two of color causing chemicals.

New bait

Several top pro bass anglers have tested, and now endorsed, Smartbaits, the newest thing in fishing lure development. Smartbaits are “industry changing,” according to Smartbait developer Mike Dingman, as he described a growing demand for the lures — a demand he is gearing up to meet.

Smartbaits actually change color, a change driven by water temperature, and a change that can and does push fish over the top. According to Dingman, bass, as well as other game fish, are incited to strike when they see a lure that appears to be injured and bleeding.

Expect to see Smartbaits in the marketplace soon.

Public hearings

Ohio hunters, trappers and fishermen can express their thoughts about upcoming seasons at any one of seven hearing sites March 1. Hours are noon-3 p.m. Hearing sites include the five Division of Wildlife offices, plus the fishery office near Lake Erie. Locations and other details can be found online.

If all goes as published, comments given at these public hearings, and other input offered online, will be considered in April by Ohio’s politically-appointed Wildlife Council, which will give approval to the proposed season dates and rules.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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