Regardless of the species I’m after, I love hunting my home state. On that note, Colorado doesn’t offer what I would call a robust turkey population. Yes, there are pockets of birds – some pockets holding great numbers – but in my area it’s hit or miss. I find this especially true in the early season, when the birds are a bit flocked up.
In my neck of the woods, late April and early May seem to offer the bowhunter the best chance at a springtime noisemaker. Why? The river-bottom-dwelling Rios seem to follow the river and seek out new breeding territory as the sun-soaked days of April pass. Most of these “roamers,” in my experience, are two-year-old birds who’ve had their butts whipped a few times. These birds leave the groups and start cruising, looking for a willing female companion. The canyon-dwelling Merriams are nomadic, opportunist feeders that will wander great distances. The particular area I hunt abounds with bug life and newly sprouted green shoots of feed later in the month.
TIP: Keep a turkey journal. Doing so allows you to look back on the previous year’s movement patterns.
With the Colorado opener set for April 9, my plan is to go out and hunt, but just as was the case with my previous three scouting missions, my fourth didn’t turn up a single track, feather or dropping. Am I worried? Not a bit. My turkey journal tells me that in 2012 and 2013, the Rio birds I hunt didn’t show up on the property I hunt until late April during both years. I will keep my trail cameras running and scout the area at least once a week until then.
On a positive note, I was able to take my three youngsters with me, and my oldest boy, Hunter, found his first dead-head – a small mule deer buck that had been dead for several years. He was super pumped about it.
Later in the week I will be peddling the 5-mile stretch to check my distant public-land Merriams, and I will be sure to bring you an update as the Saturday opener draws near.