Wild turkey hen sure sign of Spring


(Thanks to Mrs Outdoors Guy for snapping this great photo!)

This morning, a fine-looking wild turkey hen strolled through my backyard in all her feathered glory. 

Ahh, God love her, I’ll take it as a sign! 

Ok, let’s recap:  The Sportsman Show has already come and gone, the sap has started to flow, all the snow is gone from the roof of my house and now a wild turkey hen appears in my back yard….hmmm

Is it just me, or has spring really arrived?

You gotta love this time of year. Next all the snow will melt away, winter tires will come off, ice will soften and break-up on the river and lakes, the trilliums and wild garlic will begin sprouting through the forest floor..

Followed closely by trout and turkey season, one mustn’t forget that..

Next to Fall, Spring has got to be the best season..and hey, it took just one lowly hen turkey to remind me of that. 


63 thoughts on “Wild turkey hen sure sign of Spring”

  1. You don’t feed them throughout the winter? Its all part of changing their behaviour to make hunting all the more easier =) Not to mention plenty of amazing pics on the game camera =)

    1. Rob, no I have never fed turkeys, and really, even if I had I might not mention it as readers were all over me last winter when they discovered I was feeding deer…

      Just for interest sake, what would one feed gobblers during the winter months?


    1. LeGrand, do you mean corn dogs, as in Pogos?? If so, do you need to cook them first..hehe


  2. I use a pvc pipe full of corn … and like concerns with cwd in deer, best to move it around every couple weeks to let their poop drain away. If you really want to get them going … mix it in with some molasses. A 8′ 4″ pipe will hold about 30lbs of corn, and usually lasts me 3-5 days. Conveniently I have access to a ton of corn so it doesn’t cost me a dime.

    Of course remember the 7 day rule for hunting them.

  3. I am very excited for turkey hunting this year! I have my headcam ready to roll and I’m planning on shooting one in close to get some fantastic footage instead of a long range 63 yard shot.

    But of course, recording some great footage isn’t what it’s about – it’s the sneaking in early morning and hearing them gobble, then it can go silent or constant gobbling depending on how horny they are. It’s the watching of the big fans flaring up and coming in to decoys. It’s the patience. It’s the need for small movements or completely body control to remain still when you’re heart is jumping through your throat, waiting for that perfect shot. It’s the smiles of your buddies after a successful hunt or it’s the hanging out for breakfast after you’ve already been in the bush for a few hours when most everyone else is sleeping.

    Oh and let’s not forget the boom of the shotguns or the whizzz of an arrow finding it’s target.

    Man, I can NOT wait 🙂

    1. Keebler, sounds like your spring is all lined up, cant wait to see some of your footage!


  4. Hey Jeff she must be from the big crew i have in the back of my place ,on Wednesday i counted 31 . I was haveing a coffee with my wife Thursday morning when i got home from work and desided to try my turkey call out the back door you should have herd these birds it sounded like a bunch of old ladies at a bus stop on a Sunday morning . LMFAO. I think this year has been real good to them. a coyote hunter that i know has probably helped by reducing them by 29 and i helped by 5 .

    1. benthooks, you have taken out 5 coyotes in your area..was that just this winter? Is the other coyote hunter out our way also? If so, thats the best news I have heard in a long time! Maybe thats why I actually saw a deer in the back field yesterday.

      Well, I will be right there with you after this Sunday hopefully, when I take the ON hunting exam…wish me luck!!


  5. We have turkeys on the trap line now……Makes good fisher food.

    We have noticed an increase in them attending at our wolf bait stations.

    Haven’t seen it first hand yet but it would appear that turkey’s eat meat too.

    1. Trapper, it sounds like these gobblers are learning to adapt big time…might explain their high numbers. But really, you dont think
      they are actually eating the meat or carrion, do you?


    1. For those who didn’t catch my comment this am on an earlier post:

      My Big Day finally came!!

      I drove into Carp yesterday evening to challenge the Ontario Hunting Exam. By the time I arrived, a classroom of students was already busy writing the test. They had just completed the course, but if you recall, since I have a QC hunting card, I was allowed to challenge the exam – one time only. If I failed, then I too would be taking the course.

      Well, I am proud to say I passed and will now finally be getting my ON hunting card, followed closely by an ON small game license.

      It was a real relief and I was pleased to see the exam was not nearly as difficult as I expected…(I wont tell you what I got, cause I hate to brag..hehe)


      Thanks Rick btw, I always felt I had it in my too..just wanted to make sure I didn’t fail, because of course I never would have lived that down!

      Next step is to drop the paperwork off at Service Canada outlet..and then ‘poof’ they somehow magically turn my regular Outdoors Card into a Hunting Card..then I’ll be looking for a small game license after that.

      Onwards and upwards!!


  6. Congrats on the pass Jeff, always knew you had it in you. Saw about 40 turkeys last night in the fields along the blackburn bypass and in the next field a couple of deer. It certainly got me excited for the upcoming season.

    1. Thanks Mark, I would love to go after gobblers sometime..not sure I’ll have time this year and I still haven’t found a copy of my turkey seminar cert. from many years ago..it might
      not even be valid anymore.


    1. Iggy, have you seen those 4 deer in the field around St Joseph and Bearbrook? Its the strawberry field I think..right near the lights. I see them there
      every morning!


  7. Hey Jeff congrats on the course. I’ll be the next to go , i had the F.A.C. and let it expire so now it’s off to the course i go . Jeff you should go and take the turkey course and i’ll take you into my back yard for a giant bush chicken.!! and from your place you can almost walk there.

    1. Hey benthooks, why wouldn’t you be allowed to ‘challenge the PAL(possession and aquisition license) Exam, like I did a few years ago?
      I’m not sure you actually need to take the course, but you should contact Wenda Cochran about it..she’ll fix you up!


  8. Jeff with your contacts at MNR you should be able to find out your turkey status. I beleive a record should exist on a computer file somewhere.

    1. Rick, there was some mention that because I took the turkey seminar 20 years ago, it might be out-dated now? I’ll have to look into it…I know the MNR couldnt find a copy of the ON Hunting Course I took in around 1988..apparently Wenda told me they could have done a physical ‘paper search’ for it..and had better luck.


  9. I know the field your talking about but we go through the intersection at Bearbrook and Montreal Rd onto the parkway and you can’t see the field very well from there but deer are seen along the parkway all the time

    1. Iggy what is that, NCC property along the Parkway? They wouldn’t mind hunting on there, would they..hehe

      Speaking of deer, Keebler sent me a vid this am of a deer eating a bird, if you can believe that…I couldn’t believe it either till I watched the video.

      Check it out:


    1. Rob, I think the deer will really be moving around over the next few days…btw, you need to check that link as it doesn’t work.


  10. awe trail cameras had mine out since jan. still taking nice photos of coons. deer have all left and no turkeys. still going strong on the first set of batteries. over 5000 pic i dont know what i would do with out my trail camera

    1. And what type of Trail Cam is that, Chessy?

      Mine is still going strong too..same batteries as last fall and I’m taking probably 200+ images per week..never thought that was possible.


  11. Ya the cameras been good, been out there in the field for almost 2 yrs now. Have the 12V battery to go with it and that lasts 4-6 months depending on how many pics it takes. I have the sensitivity dialed back a lot because the jays go after the corn a lot so I could end up with close to 1000 pics a week that way.

    I leave it out all year, just move it from place to place depending on what’s open. Then check it no earlier than every week and random times/days so there is no pattern. The later pics in that series were taken as the wife was out to grab the card out of it (we have 2 cards, just bring a new one out and pull the old) so they are getting plenty active and easy going if they don’t get scared off by the drone of the atv until the last minute.

  12. Jeff it is a bushnell bone collector… it takes 8 aa batteries i picked up the lithium batteries in the usa for half of what they are here and they do last twice as long as normal batteries

    1. Yes Chessy, the Bushnell Trophy Cam XLT/bone collector is one damn fine trail camera, and I don’t even use lithium batteries; just the regular alkaline and they last forever.

      Rob, how long would the SpyPoint last without connecting it to a big 12V? You know the XLT’s will go 4-6 months and even longer on AA batteries…I honestly never thought it was possible.

      And to think only 3 years ago my trailcam required 6 friggin D batteries..and I had to change them about 3 weeks!


    2. Man, I was just reading up on the new Trophy XLT’s..the battery life is now rated to 1 year!! Also noticed the new Black LED model takes 12 AA batteries instead of 8.


      1. OK, has anyone looked into that new program at Buckscore.com? A Lite version comes free with any purchase of a Trophy cam.

        I suppose the accuracy of this software remains to be seen, but I am loving the theory…it actually takes a trailcam buck image and by running through some on-screen measurement techniques, gives you an estimated score of the buck in your photo.

        Rick, if this thing actually works, it is one heck of a break through and something I’m sure you and many of us would be interested in.

        Anyone tried it yet??



  13. QUOTE: ” you dont think they are actually eating the meat or carrion, do you? Outdoorsguy”

    Don’t know for sure but It certainly looks that way. Maybe not the internal parts but the meat. After all they do eat grubs don’t they.

    1. Well Trapper, more shocking than that is the deer-bird video, have you seen that one yet??

      I’ll be interested in your thoughts on that one.


  14. When I was using the C cell batteries (6 of em) it would last about 6 weeks or so … 1000-1500 pics … a bit longer in the summer … and thats no name batteries … never tried it with good ones

    spypoint sells a small LiON battery, but I figured I’d just go all the way and get a 12V battery so I can leave it for a long time without worrying about the charge. The only limiting factor now is the size of the card, I use an 8GB card and could fill it many times over inside the charge of the battery, but then who wants to go through thousands of pics of leaves and grass moving (although I have a little script here that turns pics into movies so it might be neat). For whatever reason gel cells seem to only keep a charge around 6 months when its cold out.

    1. Rob, for you to fill that card so quickly, Im guessing with your trail cam you can’t choose, or lower, your file size/resolution? Obviously file size has a huge bearing on the number of images a card can potentially store..

      I always keep my image quality set fairly low if the cam is going to stay put for awhile..and would set the resolution higher if its images I plan on publishing.

      This may be a dumb question, but is it fullsize 12 volt deep cycle battery you use? Do you store it at the foot of the tree? Or maybe its one of the smaller lawn tractor batteries?


  15. It’s a little sealed cell battery, 5AH or something … not a car battery =)

    I leave it set high (7mbit, never know when there is a good shot), night shots are about 700KB, and 1800KB during the day, so about 5-7000 shots on the card (if I crank the sensitivity that’s a week or 2, but usually I can leave it a couple months) … haven’t tried the camera on low res.

    The battery comes in a plastic case with a strap, and I hang it off the tree to keep it and the cable away from hungry squirrels (they ate my last cable)

    1. Rob, it sounds like you have your system down pat! I suppose if squirrel times get tough, you could always wrap your wire with some sort of protective coating?

      Here’s a question for you…and other trail cam fanatics out there. Has anyone ever tried that solar panel attachment on their trail cam? I have one and tested it out a few years ago with an older model..had to purchase these expensive rechargeable ‘D’ batteries and a wall charger for it.

      Anyhow, I never found they worked properly and I tried a bunch of different things. Changed the angle on the panel..and started off with fully charged batteries..etc..They always went dead in about 3 days, regardless of how sunny it was.

      Anyhow, I guess the manufactures have eliminated the need for such a gadget; now that modern trailcams draw such little power…thank God!


  16. Deer eating birds or meat is not unusual. When I worked for the museum I had a problem with a deer eating birds out of my mist nets.

    Deer have also been known to eat fish when there is a die off and the beaches fill up with alewives.

    1. So Rick, are you saying we should be using a mist net full of birds to attract more deer this fall..hehe..that’s almost as crazy as the ‘wall clock’ theory.

      And eating fish along the shore may sound foreign too..but goes to show how these animals will adapt when times get tough. I have heard stories about Sitka Blacktail’s eating Kelp along the shores in the Pacific coast, proving that they can find nutrients in a variety of food items.

      So Rick, you mean when you’d come back to check on your mist nets, there was evidence of deer tearing the birds out?


  17. @ Jeff, I haven’t seen the video but I’m assuming it shows deer eating meat of some sort. That doesn’t surprise me. An of course this would be yet another example of me breaking my rule that I don’t eat animals that eat meat…….Pigs are the other.

    1. Trapper, I think you should change that ‘meat eater’ rule, I’ve got a feeling we’ll soon find out that moose have omnivorous tendencies and eat coyotes and wolves…ah, wouldn’t that turn the tables though!


  18. Chickens too trapper! i’ve seen them attack, kill and eat mice in the chicken coop and of course grubs and worms when out.

  19. you guys need to google “meat glue” and you will think twice where you by your meat . you could be buying scrap meat for top dollar tenderloin

    1. Just checked it out, Chessy. Boy, the things you don’t know about eh…I suppose the use of meat glue in commercial meats creates one more ‘plus’ in the wild game corner. Well, unless my butcher is sneaking it in somehow..

      Thing is though, I can see that its derived from beef and pork blood plasma..and used as a ‘binding agent’, but is it really bad for you? The process is not natural, of course, just another one of the dirty tricks of the industry…oh well, they always said I’d stop eating hotdogs after seeing the hotdog video, and I still love them!


  20. this is why it is coming to light in canada now

    EU Bans ‘Meat Glue’
    BY ZACH MALLOVE | MAY 24, 2010
    On Thursday, May 20, the European Parliament voted to ban bovine and porcine thrombin used as an additive to bind separate pieces of meat together into one piece. According to European Union lawmakers, the additives, which are commonly called “meat glue,” have no proven benefits” and create products that “carry an unacceptably high risk of misleading consumers” instead.

    Another consideration EU lawmakers considered was the higher risk of bacterial infection in meat products created with thrombin, due to the larger surface area of meat and the cold bonding process that is used.

    The decision not to authorize meat glue as an additive rejects an earlier European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) positive safety opinion on the use of ‘meat glue’ in 2005.

    Meat glue is an enzyme composed of thrombin and fibrogen, obtained from blood plasma. It can be used by the meat industry as a food additive for reconstituting fresh meat to create a product of desirable size and form. The method can also be applied to poultry, fish and seafood.

    The Parliament estimated that there is “a clear risk that meat containing thrombin would find its way into meat products served in restaurants or other public establishments serving food, given the higher prices that can be obtained for pieces of meat served as a single meat product”.

    Some lawmakers stressed that meat glue had been declared safe and was already used in some countries.

    Meanwhile, others said that “consumers in Europe should be able to trust that they are buying a real steak or ham, not pieces of meat that have been glued together,” and “beyond this specific case, the European Parliament has sent a political message to the Commission defending transparency towards the consumer and refusing to accept poor quality food”.

  21. The big thing with the solar panels is that for the little power they generate, they aren’t worth the cash. Better off to get a decent battery and check it every other week.

  22. Jeff about the deer eating birds in my mist nets, I had a banding station near the Ottawa airport. I started noticing some dead moist birds in my nets even though it was not raining. The birds had been gummed to death. Usually with predators such as weasels, foxes, birds of prey and even red squirrels there was obvious tearing of flesh on the birds and holes in the nets where the birds had been ripped out of the nets.

    It was a mystery as to what was killing the birds until I caught the culprit in the act, a big adult doe. I suspect she was supplementing her protein and calcium intake due to lactating.

    Jeff I have heard the deer on Anticosti Island supplement their diet by eating seaweed and fish as well.

  23. The first 20 or so years with the museum were great but then the beurocrates took over and it went down hill fast.

    One of my more funny moments is when I caught a moose in one of my nets near James Bay in Quebec. He did not stay caught long, destroyed the net and badly bent the poles holding it up.

    1. Rick, the museum sent you as far away as James Bay to collect study skins? Sounds like a nice fringe benefit.


  24. James Bay was where I started with the museum. We did work for Quebec hydro on the first James Bay hydro projects. The collecting was for voucher specimens. The main part of the project was species identification and population estimate based.

    I have been in most places in Canada for the museum except BC and Alberta. Ellesmere Island and South America were the farthest destinations. Northern Yukon was one of the best.

    French Guyana was great. We did a proposal to do a five year study with the Paris Museum but it fell through from there end. In our short time there I discovered at least five species of birds never before recorded for the country. Those were the good old days.

    1. Geez Rick, and to think I’ve been calling you the ‘Whitetail Guru’ for all these years.

      I guess I should have been calling you the Bird Guru!


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