(Originally published in the Merritt News – Othmar Vohringer The Outdoorsman)
© By Othmar Vohringer
On Monday morning at1:00 a.m. the alarm went off and an hour later I was on my way towards Kelowna to meet up with my good friend Rick. The sparkling stars in the sky promised a beautiful sunny day. “The perfect weather for turkey hunting” I thought as I drove along highway 79 in anticipation of hunting my favourite game birds.
At 4:00 a.m. I pulled into Kelowna and shortly afterwards Rick arrived too. I loaded everything into his truck and off we went toward Beaverdell. During the drive Rick kept telling me about his past turkey hunting successes in that region, which, he said, “is loaded with turkeys”. I had no reason to doubt him. Rick is an accomplished turkey hunter. We arrived at our first hunting spot right at dawn. It’s the perfect time to locate a male turkey. This is accomplished by using a raven or crow call, a few loud “caw-caw-caw” calls makes the toms gobble. In fact any sudden loud sound makes a male turkey respond with a thunderous gobble that can be heard from a far distance away. Once a tom is heard the hunter tries to get as close as possible without alerting the bird and then by using female turkey calls to “love talk” with the hopes of luring the tom to within shooting range.
“Caw-caw-caw”. No gobbling. Again I raised the call to my mouth, “caw-caw-caw” then listened intently for a gobble in the distance. Nothing! I looked at Rick. “What the heck is this?” I asked. Rick shook his head, “I don’t understand this. There are always turkeys here. Try again.” I decided to turn it up a notch as I put the call to my lips again. If a normal raven sound wouldn’t elicit a gobble then perhaps this will and with that I unleashed a cacophony of aggressive raven fighting calls, “caw-cawww-cawww-caw-cawwww-caw” No answer either. “Where are the turkeys?” No sooner did I utter those words when I got the answer. It started to snow. Not just flurries but thick and heavy chunks. As night made way to day big black clouds moved in and now it was snowing heavily. No wonder the turkeys didn’t answer. Mother Nature has equipped turkeys with their own built-in weather forecast system. When the weather turns nasty turkeys shut up, huddle together in the roosting tree and nap until the weather turns nice again.
Since we were out we tried a few other spots in the hopes of seeing a turkey that was hardy or foolish enough to brave the snow in search for love. Fat chance of that. Turkeys are smarter. They know better than to strut around looking for love in the cold snow. So we called it a day. The hunting season is still open until the middle of May. My brother Roland is coming on May 8th from Switzerland for a visit. I plan on going turkey hunting with him. He’s never seen a wild turkey and I am sure it will be a thrill for him, just as it was last year when he saw his first wild black bear. By then the weather will improve too and with that the chance of bringing home the main ingredient for Thanksgiving dinner.