Fowl elude hunters, live to gobble another day
April 14, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- While no turkeys could be reached for comment by press time, it's a safe bet they were all breathing a heavy sigh of relief the morning of April 8.
The annual Gobbler Classic Turkey Hunt yielded no turkeys this year, much to the disappointment of Outdoor Recreation officials.
"Some days you just can't find the birds," said John Clancy, Outdoor Recreation program manager. "The weather was a factor, too. It wasn't in line with what the birds prefer."
A low-level fog rolled in during the early morning hours, making it more difficult for hunters to see and the birds less likely to move around, Clancy said.
"They don't like the fog," he said. "Normally, when the gobblers have hens with them, they don't want to leave them to come to us. We try to convince the gobblers to come to us, but it's natural for the hen to go to the gobbler."
Not every hunt is successful, Clancy said. While he and several of the other hunters said they've had some luck this season, that luck just wasn't there this time.
"They can't all be good days," he said. "If they were, it'd be called killing instead of hunting."
According to Clancy, the hunting grounds at Fort Rucker are primed with turkeys and it usually makes for some exciting days during the season.
"There are some great birds out here," he said. "On average, the birds weigh between 18 and 20 pounds. We don't have any hunts organized, but the season goes until April 30."
Shawn Turberville, a flight safety mechanic, has hunted on the installation previously and said he usually has better luck.
"I saw a couple of birds when I came onto post, but none while I was hunting," he said. "Usually, right at daybreak, if you hear one gobble and you can get him to come to you, it might turn out to be a good day."
Turberville said he's managed to bring in a triple-bearded, 19-pounder at Fort Rucker before and plans to keep hunting on the installation.
"Fort Rucker is a really fun place to hunt," he said.
Col. Ken Biland, 1st Aviation Brigade commander, said he didn't have much luck either, but said he still had a good experience. He's managed to come up with three birds so far this season.
"I'm not an expert turkey hunter, but when it's foggy like this, there's not a whole lot of gobbling," he said. "I've brought in one 18.8 pounder, a 16.14 pounder and a 16.11. I did see one gobbler this morning, but he was just too far way to shoot."