The spring turkey season runs April 13 through May 26 and as of today, we are about halfway through the 2013 Colorado Season. What a roller coaster ride it has been! Spring snow storms, a few sunny days and then more snow in the first three weeks of the season alone. I made a few phone calls on Friday to get a feel for what a few of my trusted “beard chasers” were seeing and hearing, so I thought I would pass along what I found out to the readers. Please note that this is just a snapshot of the state and understand that turkeys are turkeys, doing what they do in the spring.
The collective opinion from most of my contacts is that the birds are just now beginning to get hot as far as breeding season goes. The folks on the west slope indicated the birds are beginning to move up the hill and into the preferred breeding areas. They are hearing the Toms gobble more on the ground and seeing Toms with hens broken off into smaller breeding groups.
The Platte River crew thinks the birds are about a week or two behind the usual breeding timeline (if there is such a thing in Colorado) and the folks down south in Eastern Colorado are seeing birds in larger flocks, still grouped up, while multiple Toms court flocks of hens.
In a nutshell, here's what I know and have heard so far: We should be getting to that point in the breeding season over the next week or so, where more and more of the hens have been bred and are heading off to sit on their nests. Leaving those lonely Toms to wander, gobble and look for new girlfriends.
For more information, read the full turkey season update
.New Turkey School Lesson: After the Harvest
After all the hard work put into preseason scouting, fine-tuning your calling skills, and preparing your shotgun/bow, you’ve got a successful spring harvest of a mature tom. Now the final decision has to be made. Do you want to serve this bird up for a Sunday dinner? Or do you have enough room in the house to display this beautiful turkey in a full strut mount? These two questions come across every hunter’s mind shortly after the excitement of a successful harvest wears off.
This article will give you some tips on field dressing and preserving your trophy for the taxidermist. Unlike most big game animals, upland birds and waterfowl have different approaches in preserving the bird for consumption.
But if the bird is going to be mounted and on display in your trophy room, you're in for a whole different ball game. With Big Game animals such as elk, deer, and antelope, the hunter needs to field dress the animal and “cape the head out”, only we’re saving the hide and antlers/horns for the taxidermist. All the meat can be processed off the carcass and easily prepared for consumption.
Upland birds (Turkeys) and waterfowl have a more difficult process to think about: breast meat under the feathers. The tips in this article will provide you with the correct steps that will be needed in the field to prepare your bird for mounting and consumption.
Read the full Lesson 8: After the Harvest article for detailed tips on field dressing, prepping the bird for the taxidermist and/or consumption, and tail feather mounting. And if you haven't already, take a look at the previous Lesson 7: Scouting for Rios. All eight lessons can be found on the main Turkey School Chapter 1 page.
Hunt Colorado: Turkeys
Mountain forests are also home to Merriam's turkey, a magnificent bird whose historic range covers most mountainous regions of Colorado. To increase spring hunting opportunities on the plains, CPW has transplanted Rio Grande turkeys to the riparian habitat that straddles major rivers.
Want to learn more? Visit the Hunt Colorado Videos page
and watch more turkey and hunting videos to prepare for the upcoming hunting season.