Trap for Turkey


            Of all the things you can do to make a bigger better turkey population in your area, predator trapping had better be number one on the list. Now I know when I say predator trapping most people think of coyote and bobcat.  Yes, those two predators can do some real damage to your flock if unchecked, and yes those two are a real challenge for novice and even expert trappers sometimes. But if you're new to trapping and still want to do something productive when it comes to growing the flock, go after the nest raiders. Raccoons and opossums are relatively easy to catch and can ravage a nest in no time.

            In the early 2000’s there where only a few turkey on the property that I hunted and you hardly ever seen them. The first turkey I ever saw was in the early 90’s and it went by my  driveway in the ditch. All you could see was a blue head bobbing along at a quick pace, here one second gone the next. At first, I didn’t know what it was. It was the first time I’d ever seen a wild turkey and although the siting was quick, I’ll never forget it. I was in my late teens, early twenties before I ever heard my first gobble.

            Now when I first started trapping on video in 2009 I really didn’t know the impact it was going to have on my hunting life. I just knew that I was gonna trap some critters, record it, and be a big-time trapping star (It’s been 10 years and that hasn’t happened yet). Back then I was terrible at predator trapping so I went after much easier prey along the creek where I hunted. That first season I tore up the grinners. I did alright with the bandits but boy it seemed like every day I had at least one opossum. Not all of them made the cut when it came to video but they sure made a difference that next spring.

            It wasn’t long after that first season that I began to hone my skills as a real predator trapper and began to catch more coyotes and even some fox off that property.  The very next spring I noticed a dramatic increase in the turkey population. Not enough to hunt the birds in my mind but a dozen hens was surely a great start. It wasn’t long after that second season that I knew I was on to something good and I was gonna try my hand at turkey hunting. The following spring, I shot a 23lb tom on opening day, my very first turkey hunt on that property.

            Every year I get a chance at a turkey of some sort on the property that I’ve annually hunted for almost 30 years now. I never take more than one bird, not just because its state law, but because its what’s right for the population I’m hunting. One year I wounded a giant tom and didn’t really know if it had died or not, but counted him as my one and didn’t shoot another. As caretakers to what God has made us, we should always take care of our natural resources.  Keeping the predator prey balance is, and always should be, the most important action we take.

            Now days its not uncommon to see five or six mature gobblers and as many jakes roaming the foothills of the Ozarks where I chase the mighty thunder chicken every spring. Even now I dream of next season, God willing, sitting in the pre-dawn light listening to gobbles echoing across the hills, thundering from the creek bottom below.