Responsible Recreation Post Turkey Season

You’ve waited since the end of last spring for this year’s turkey season, and it has, once again, come and gone. Maybe you were lucky enough to shoot a gobbler or two, or maybe you came out empty handed after trying all spring. Either way, the unfortunate reality is you have to wait another year for the excitement of calling a gobbler from one side of the woods to your vicinity.

While this thought can be melancholic, there are still many outdoors activities you can do to keep your mind off of those gobblers and practice #ResponsibleRecreation during the current pandemic.   

Scouting and Wildlife Management

Instead of twiddling your thumbs and waiting for something to come into season, start scouting; it’s one of the most productive tasks a hunter can do, and it is a great way to social distance. Turkeys, pigs, deer, or whatever you may be fortunate enough to hunt, all leave behind some evidence of their doings. An easy and inexpensive way to preseason scout is just going into the woods and being observant. Another, and more effective, way is putting up game cameras. This is self-evident to many, but for those that have never put one up, you should give it a try. The successful hunter is aware of where game animals are spending time and how they’re behaving. Scouting is just as good of a reason to get out in the woods as hunting itself. For more information on scouting visit:

https://www.nwtf.org/hunt/article/utilizing-trail-cameras-scout-turkeys

https://www.nwtf.org/hunt/article/surveying-the-scene

Another way to ease your gobbler fever and to keep your distance from the chaos is managing land for wildlife. This could be as involved as planting a sunflower field for dove or as simple as throwing out no-till seed. For more information on wildlife management tips, visit the following links:

https://www.nwtf.org/conservation/article/wildlife-small-properties

https://www.nwtf.org/conservation/article/low-cost-management-tools

Fishing

There are not many folks who enjoy hunting that don’t enjoy fishing. Whether it be freshwater or saltwater, time with a fishing pole can be just the thing you need until spring turkey season returns, and, like hunting, it is a great way to fill your freezer.

Fishing is so multidimensional, too, so if you are looking to try something new, it’s pretty easy. For instance, if you’ve only ever used baitcasting and spinning rods, give fly-fishing a whirl; I’ve seen friends land huge bass on a fly. Likewise, if you’ve only fly-fished, throw a jig and shrimp on a spinning rod and head to the coast to catch some redfish. Done all that? Throw a crab pot out on your next family vacation to the coast; crabbing is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. At any rate, time on the water is a great way to stay sane as our country recovers from COVID-19.  

Equipment Preparation

Another way to feel connected to turkey hunting, or any type of hunting, during the offseason is to clean and maintain your equipment. Maybe you’ve used your shotgun one too many times without cleaning or let your box call get a little too dirty. Believe it or not, taking care of your equipment during the offseason can save you a lot of time when season returns. And, even better, it’s just another reason to have fun tinkering with your turkey and hunting gear when you can’t go hunting. For more information about after-season care, visit the following links: 

https://www.nwtf.org/hunt/article/after-season-gear-care-1

https://www.nwtf.org/hunt/article/after-season-gear-care-2

Shooting Sports

Whether it is sporting clays, trap, skeet or 5-Stand, shooting sports is a fun, year-round way to stay active and outdoors when turkeys are out of season. Many towns and cities have shooting ranges that offer shooting sports, and they are generally spaced out, making it a great way to social distance. Whether it’s just you or the whole family, a day at the range can be an exciting way to practice #ResponsibleRecreation. 

Camping and Hiking

While camping and hiking are slightly less connected to turkey hunting than, say, preseason scouting, it is a great way to spend time outdoors and practice #ResponsibleRecreation. Finding local areas that offer camping and hiking is as simple as a google of “state parks near me.” Many state parks that offer camping and hiking usually have a spot to fish, too.   

Kayaking

Most people don’t know they like kayaking until they’ve tried it. It is a great way to connect to nature and the outdoors when nothing is in season and an excellent way to keep your distance from others. Whether you take a fishing pole or not, or whether you’re in a river or the ocean, while out on a kayak, you might find that similar connection to the outdoors that hunting brings.  

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