Sunday, May 6, 2012


Washington Island, Wisconsin -

We're in the middle of the spring turkey hunt, and island hunters have been out prior to sunup, sneaking into field and forest before the birds get down from their tree roosts to set up hunting blinds and decoys, and to get themselves situated for approaching birds.

What else might motivate a hunter to load his gear in an open aluminum boat - a long-barreled shotgun, backpack with decoy and turkey calls and a bicycle - and then motor over to Detroit Island before the sun was up, ride his bicycle a mile or so down the rough dirt road, listening for tom turkeys calling as he rode?  

The hunting on Washington Island has been pretty good, or so the reports seem to indicate, but after several unsuccessful outings near home, Hoyt decided to try Detroit Island.

Shortly after bicycling south, to a point approximately 2/3 of the island's length from the boat landing, and having heard several turkeys, he got off his bicycle and successfully called a tom to within shooting range.

Then, with his bird in hand (approximately 25 pounds), shotgun and backpack filled with gear, he pedaled back to the boat landing and motored home.  He was back on Washington Island by 7:30 a.m., where these photos were taken.  

Hoyt pointed out two middle tail feathers that weren't yet fully developed in pattern, and he guessed his bird was perhaps two years old.  The spur length, half an inch at most, seemed to confirm this.  But as for weight, this bird was a handful to lift, and must not have been an easy partner for riding double.

Turkeys are wary, having excellent eye sight and very sharp instincts, and yet it is hard to refer to them as being smart.  A case in point:  several weeks ago I looked out my window to see a tom turkey challenging its image in the chrome fender of my pickup truck.  This activity went on for over an hour, until dark, with occasional pecking at the bumper and the lifting of his beard in what seemed to be an aggressive, self-promoting manner.  During this time, he left a dozen or more deposits, littering the asphalt at the truck's rear bumper.

-  Dick Purinton    

1 comment:

Martha Bennett said...

Turkey Turds!
I never saw wild turkeys here growing up. The first time I saw them was on Martha's Vineyard, and they did the same pecking at their reflections in car bumpers and doors, much to the chagrin of the rich owners!
I have seen quite a few flocks of birds in my recent travels in Door County, and several weeks ago nearly ran over one running through the streets of Sturgeon Bay!