When the bell rang signaling the opener of the 2021 West Virginia Spring Gobbler season, I felt a sense of ease. Turkey season was here again and no more waiting for or anticipating its opener. When the sun began to show signs of its rays over the ridge high on the mountain, I heard a faint gobble ring out across the farm and a couldn’t help but smile. I was exactly where I was supposed to be and to be honest, the place I most wanted to be in that very moment in time. In life you may not always get those two things, where your supposed to be and where you most want to be, aligned at the same time. But when you do, you can’t help but grin about it.
Maybe it is the grey in my beard, which I stand behind the notion of it means nothing more than I have seen a few things in life, or perhaps I was just be sentimental on the opener that caused me to reflect the in the moment and simply be totally present in the situation. I was all there in mind, body and spirit. Every ounce of my existence was in the hunt and fine-tuned to the moment.
Another gobble was heard - this time on the opposite ridge overlooking a creek bottom full of white oaks. As the sun began to warm my face, the small hillside farm became alive with the sounds of spring. Hens calling, toms gobbling at themselves and me, crows barking, geese squawking and the song birds were in a chorus of happiness and joy to simply part of a fine, little, spring morning. I was in total agreement on their assessment of the day. It’s funny how a bright, sunny spring day can make you want to be outside and makes it harder to be in a bad mood.
As sunrise turned into the day, the gobbles decreased and the turkey chatter nearly ceased. Season came early this year and that’s perfectly fine with me. To be honest, it is a long season for those of us who hunt nearly every day and with the addition of a week, there is plenty of time to fool a gobbler or two into playing the game with you. I find no urgency or stress in the season because I know that one morning, maybe not today or even tomorrow, I will strike a call and have one answer and when he does, I will have a chance of him walking towards me and if I am really lucky, he will be within range for my shotgun will doing so.
The act of simply arising well before dawn, sliding on my old turkey vest full of even older turkey calls, walking swiftly in the cool hours before dawn to sit on top of the world to watch a new day being born is worth the price of the ticket being punched. And if one gobbles, even better.
This season marks my 31st spring gobbler season in West Virginia and I have high hopes and I am looking forward to another 31 more.
The spring gobbler season is open through May 23.