New England's Revisited Fall Turkey Hunting Tradition
Foster’s Daily Democrat in NH brought up an interesting point a few days ago concerning fall turkey hunting season. For years it was difficult to find wild turkey in New England let alone hunt them. Wild turkey vanished from our forest like the Mohegans and Pequots, but back in 1970s, many New England states received seed birds from nearby states. Fortunately the fall turkey story has changed—and the spring turkey story, too. We are silly with birds up here and being the staid New Englanders we are, not prone to bragging. The Strut Zone, however, let the “bird” out of the bag, so to speak, a while back with Hatches Are Off the Hook in New England. But back to the Foster’s point.
The spring turkey season is an added bonus season to a New England hunter’s line-up with the fall turkey season seeming oddly out of place. Once the leaves change color, we have upland birds and then hooves on the brain. In that order. The only time turkey came to mind was Thanksgiving Day, a day that torments a New England hunter—should I hunt birds or hunt deer? If fall turkey season wasn’t enough to throw off our Yankee hunting disposition, there is the practice of using dogs to hunt fall turkey. In some parts of the US, dogs are used to find and flush fall turkey flocks. The practice is legal in NH, ME, VT, NY, and PA. Out of 44 states that have a fall turkey hunting season, 29 states allow the use of a dog. You might want to ask your pointer what he or she thinks about adding another scent to their oeuvre of bird work. Me? I am still going to continue to flip a coin the eve of Thanksgiving to decide if I pull out a rifle or a shotgun.