Out there, in the deep woods of hillsides and hollows and scattered open fields of northeastern Kentucky, before sunrise, a man and a youngster, perhaps two youngsters, sit leaning against a tree, camouflaged from head to toe.
Or perhaps they have popped up a canvas blind and sit inside, watching, listening. The forest is coming awake. A chipmunk scurries through the dry leaves on the ground, a crow calls from the hilltop, and down in the hollow an owl joins in the chorus.
On a box or slate call, the man makes a few clucks like a hen, and they hold their breath while listening for an answering gobble. They are “working” a big old 25-pound tom – a gobbler. Perhaps they will get to see him spread those tail feathers and strut.
And eventually, his investigation of the sounds brings him close enough for the shooter to lay the bead at the end of the shotgun barrel on his head and pull the trigger.
The booming sound echoes through the hills. One flop and someone has his or her first wild turkey.
Kentucky’s wild turkey hunting season opened today, Saturday, April 17, and runs through May 9. The limit is two male – or bearded—turkeys for the season.
In Ohio, where the limit is also two bearded turkeys per season, it opens April 24 and runs through May 23.
PRICE OF A TURKEY
Residents of Kentucky who want to hunt turkey in Ohio must pay $180.96 for the nonresident license and $38.48 for the turkey permit, while residents of Ohio who want to hunt in Kentucky must pay $150 for the nonresident hunting license and $85 for the turkey permit.
Go to the supermarket and pick up a 20-pound turkey breast and it will cost you around $20. Period. And it’s already plucked of feathers and ready to pop in the oven.
But where’s the adventure, the enjoyment, the camaraderie in that?
Ohio residents who stay home to hunt must pay $19 for the hunting license and $31.20 for the turkey permit.
Kentuckians who hunt in their home state must pay $27 for the hunting license and $30 for the turkey permit.
Seniors and disabled people pay only $12 for the sportsman’s license which includes the hunting and fishing license, statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, state migratory game bird-waterfowl permit and the trout permit.
In Ohio, resident seniors pay $10 for the license plus $12 for the turkey permit.
But seniors cannot cross state lines and get these special rates.
There are a number of regulations, such as tagging and checking in your bird, that govern turkey hunting.
To learn them, go on the internet and visit the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s web site at wildohio.com.
In Kentucky, it’s fw.ky.gov.
If you don’t own a computer, or are not computer wise, surely you can get a friend to help you.
Reach G. SAM PIATT at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 932-3619.