Outdoors

Out & About: Time to talk turkey

Wild turkey gobblers become fair game for hunters in April.
Wild turkey gobblers become fair game for hunters in April.

OUTHUNT – Toms are gobbling and hunters are talking turkey around the region as the wild-turkey mating season blooms.

Turkey hunting kicks off with youth-only seasons for hunters under 16 on April 6-7 in Washington and April 8-14 in Idaho.

General spring gobbler seasons run April 15-25 in Idaho and April 15-31 in Washington.

Non-hunters might be puzzled by the strange buzz this time of year, with a lot of talk about beards, spurs and guys named Jake. Here’s insight on turkey hunt vocabulary.

Beard: Specialized feathers sprouting from the chest of male turkeys (and a few females). Beards resemble coarse hair similar to a horse’s tail. Mature, 2-year-old gobblers usually have a beard measuring 8 or 9 inches.

Jake: Turkey gobbler born last spring or summer. The immature bird, which tends to be more naive and easier to call, usually has a stubby beard less than 6 inches long. When a jake struts, the middle feathers of his fan are slightly longer than the flanking feathers.

Spurs: Spikes that grow on a turkey’s legs just above its ankles. Turkey spurs are used for fighting and grow slowly throughout the turkey’s life. Long spurs are prized by experienced hunters. A spur longer than an inch is considered good; longer than 11/2 inches, excellent.

Henned up: A gobbler accompanied by hens. Lone gobblers come more readily to a call than toms focused on breeding what’s at hand. To hunt a henned up tom, try soft hen calls in an effort to attract the hens. Where the hens go, the gobbler will follow.

Strut: Ritual display used to impress hens and discourage subordinate gobblers. A strutting gobbler puffs his feathers out and spreads his fan to make himself appear as big as possible.

Put a turkey to bed: After a turkey flies up to his roost at dusk, he will often gobble, to let nearby hens know where he’s spending the night. You can use locator calls at dusk to elicit responses from a roosting gobbler. A hunter who puts a turkey to bed knows where to start the next morning.

47th Buttercup Hike set in Dishman Hills

HIKING – The 47th annual Buttercup Hike, a free family-style walk through the Dishman Hills Natural Area, will be led by Dishman Hills Conservancy members on Saturday.

Hikers will set out on the two-hour walk at noon from the Camp Caro parking area.

Preregister at dishmanhills.org.

Seminars for ladies featured at Cabela’s

OUTDO – Saturday is Ladies’ Day Out at the Post Falls Cabela’s Store, with prize drawings and six free seminars scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Topics include intros to handguns, knife sharpening, can cookers, fly casting and archery.

Ducks Unlimited sets Spokane banquet

CONSERVATION – The Spokane chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fundraising banquet April 11 at the Lincoln Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Bob Zorb of Spokane and St. John will receive DU’s private lands conservationist of the year award at this event.

Get tickets online at ducks.org/washington.


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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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