Now, and for the next six weeks, turkeys are in the spotlight sashaying about for hens, hunters and anyone who can tolerate a 20-plus pound gobbler displaying in an ostentatious manner to attract attention.
This method of displaying has figuratively brought hunters and photographers to their knees, holding back pulling a trigger, releasing an arrow, or pressing a shutter-release button on a camera.
So mesmerizing is this showoff ordeal that it becomes a grand formality that one finds it automatic to still oneself, listen and respect. Hunters often follow an unwritten rule to not shoot at a tom in strut for the likelihood of missing a vital region.
Learn-to-hunt novices were out last weekend; youth hunters younger than 16 years, have their try this coming weekend; and finally the fanatics begin, depending on their authorization, no earlier than Wednesday, April 17.
Equipment creators tell all there is always something better than the traditional decoys, calls, shot loads and camouflage patterns, but what is really important is remaining muzzled, veiled and fixed until the moment of surprise.
Avoid sky-lighting oneself while approaching a location. Step lightly and hope for help from moisture-laden leaves. Scout if possible just to see how many mistakes the big bird will tolerate. Don a face mask at all times. There is something about the human face that is unattractive to deer, turkeys, other birds and mammals, too.
While turkeys usually do not frequent marshes, other wildlife does, including some upland birds. Waterfowl varieties are plentiful, including geese and ducks, along with furbearers, followed by cranes, eagles and predators who follow the rafts animals below them on the food web.
It seems getting wet is what walleye anglers and trout fliers are finding very appealing now. Some fish are running, others are heavy feeders and a few even jump over stream and river obstructions.
The time to trim and prune oak trees, particularly those oaks in the red oak group has now passed until early fall. Avoiding pruning now will help dispel oak wilt, a fungal disease that acts much like Dutch elm disease, from being transmitted.
Those who gather spring’s table fare are feeling an urge to look too. Is the asparagus emerging? What does the soil temperature need to be for morels? What garden plantings are tolerant cold or are easy enough to cover from spot spells?
Answers to these questions may be sooner than we anticipate, even following a record-setting winter.
Blooms are no longer limited to skunk cabbage, willows and maples. Escapes of Scilla are deep blue, but less than six inches. Pasque flower blooms, too, are beginning to show in time for Easter.
Upland sandpipers must be nearing their landing posts. Use the time of the turkey to take to the woods for antlers, early bloomers, spring sounds and recovery from winter’s wrath.