From the Field: Mid-Season in Alabama

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Hot weather and hot gobbling made for an impressive opener for turkey hunters in West Alabama.  An unseasonably warm winter leading up to opening day of Alabama’s turkey season really had the turkeys gobbling and working to calls extremely well for the opening weekend.  I cannot recall a season that started off with such phenomenal weather as we had for the first two weeks of season this year.  The beautiful weather and great gobbling made for a great start to the season, and caused many guys in my area, myself included, to use up a ton of vacation time from work to take advantage of the action. 

The season started on March 15th, and did so with turkeys gobbling great while in the tree before daylight.  We were able to set up and work turkeys from daylight pretty much until dark from the opener to the end of March with good luck coming at all times during the day.  During that time, I was able to try out both some new Zink Calls and Avian X decoys to check out the response that these items had on the weary Eastern longbeards in my part of the country.  The Thunder Ridge Alumunim call proved to be a great tool to both locate gobblers and to close the deal, and a new prototype friction call was also tested and is now field proven!  Along with these new calls, came my first season to try out the combination of the Avian X hen breeder and Jake decoys.  The turkeys have responded very well to the decoys, especially when used in large open clearcuts and green fields that enable an interested gobbler to see his prospective hen from a long distance.  The realism of these decoys in hunting situations is unmatched compared to all of my previous experiences, and they have enabled us to capture some pretty good hunts on film so far this season!

As the season progressed from fast paced hunts with tons of gobbling that made a hunter feel good about himself or his abilities, the opposite can be said about the last two weeks of our season.  I have spoken with hunters from the rolling mountains of North Alabama all the way down to the Gulf Coast, and right now, we are all moaning about the same thing.  It seems as though April 1st came, and a light switch was shut off.  Some toms are still gobbling in the tree, with most birds gobbling a handful of times before flying down and turning silent.  On occasion, you can still find a bird gobbling every breath, but most of those have either died or are tight lipped right now.  During the first week of April, we were still killing turkeys, but they were not gobbling near as much and it took until lunch time on some days to close the deal.  The second week of April has been much more uneventful, with little or no gobbling from very unpredictable birds.  If a turkey does gobble today, he may do so three or four times at the break of daylight, and it may be two or three mornings before he is heard again. 

As I write this article, the turkeys are definitely winning this round, but with the cool snap that we are experiencing right now with the weather, it may be exactly what is needed to crank the gobbling back up!  The early Spring has definitely caused an early “green up” this year for our vegetation, which should make for a very interesting last few weeks of our season.  All of the excess greenery will allow for us hunters to get in close quarters on some birds, if they will just cooperate and start back gobbling.  I have heard great hunting reports from Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, and Kentucky recently, so it looks to be a promising season across the country this year.  I hope everyone’s weather is better than last year, and that it starts out just as ours did down here in Alabama.
Terence Williamson
Terence Williamson of Gordo, Alabama is one of the most accomplished friction callers on the competitive calling circuit today, winning the National Friction Title in 2006 and 2011. He consistently finishes in the elite strata in the friction contests in which he competes, and serves as a Prostaff & Elite Calling Team member for Zink Calls, Avian X Decoys, Ol’ Tom Technical Turkey Gear, and HeviShot Ammunition.
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