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Turkey

A big gobbler like this is what every hunter hopes for during Nebraska’s spring turkey season. It is time to get you your gear ready, the season is less than a month off.

Look at your calendar. It is not that long, less than a month, until the spring turkey season in Nebraska gets underway. Archers can go into the field March 25. Youth shotgun season begins April 7 and all shotgun hunters can begin their season on April 14.

Spring turkey hunting is all about big gobblers and calling that tom into range. The thought of calling in a tom can be intimidating for many hunters, especially if you are new to turkey hunting. A question I get quite a bit this time of year is, “What calls do I use for the spring season?”

Remember, in the spring season, only toms can be hunted. Basically, a hunter is trying to capitalize on the sex drive of the gobbler, who pretty much has one thing on his mind; finding and mating with a hen. The hunter just needs to make the gobbler think he is the hen he’s looking for. Calling can help, if you know the right calls to use.

In my seminars, I tell hunters that biologists have identified 26 different vocalizations or calls that turkeys make. However, to be a successful spring turkey hunter, you can get by with knowing only three calls. The basic calls to use are the yelp, the cutt and the purr.

The yelp may be the most common sound made by the wild turkey. Think of it as small talk among friends or family. Turkeys are always making sounds to one another and like human voices; each turkey has its own pitch, tone, and cadence when yelping.

The cutt is a good attractor call and can be heard at long distances. Hens often use this sound to attract a gobbler. What better call to know? This is the call the hen makes when she is in an excited state. Cutting is a series of sharp, high pitched clucks with no real rhythm or pattern to it.

The purr is a perfect call to use while turkeys are close to reassure them that all is well. I like to use a long, low purr when a gobbler is close. I think it says, “Come on over here, Big Boy”, to a gobbler looking for love.

To hear what the calls actually sound like, you can buy a CD from a number of hunting gear outfits, or you can go to a number of different websites. The National Wild Turkey Federation has a great website (www.nwtf.org) that illustrates many different calls. You can click on a link and listen to and hear what the various calls sound like. The next step is to get into the woods and listen to wild turkeys making their sounds. Start practicing now. The season will be here before you know it!

Florida Shooting

We’ve heard a lot about the school shooting in Florida last Wednesday. As usual, there was the run to any microphones by the media seeking, social do-gooders, to condemn guns. Why is it that a radicalized Muslim terrorist can kill a bunch of people with a gun (How many time has that happened in America?) and the same group of people immediately tell us it is the person and not to blame the Muslim faith, yet let a mentally deranged person, of any faith, do the same thing and shoot some people and it is absolutely the fault of the gun? How blind and unwilling to accept reality can we be?

In this case, we now know that the Florida shooter has been a known quantity to authorities and suffered with mental health issue all his life. There are documented accounts of law enforcement being called to deal with him 36 times from 2010 to 2016.

The FBI had reports on threatening statements and postings he was making on social media. A week before the shooting, some who knew the shooter reported that he was making plans to do what he did. I understand this was also reported to the FBI. How many red flags do we have to see before taking some action?

I could sit an AR-15, fully loaded and ready to fire, anywhere in public, and it would not kill any one. The rifle would sit in the same spot until it rusted to the point it could not function. Maybe even rust and fall in two…but it would never be a threat to anyone unless a person with evil intentions picked it up and used it.

I watched an NBC nightly news report last Friday evening. During a segment about the Florida shooting, a distraught mother, who had lost a child in this shooting, yelled at President Trump to do something.

I understand that anguish and hurt. I had a six year old son killed in a senseless accident. As I watched I heard this mother say something very important. She said to the President that we needed to do something to get guns out of the hands of mentally ill people. She is absolutely right!

Think about this…What do Newtown, the South Carolina church shooting and Wednesday’s school shooting have in common? In each case the shooter had mental health issues! I hope the discussion and focus keeps moving in this direction because I think that is the root of the problem.

One area I believe we need to focus on is how to get mental health records crossed referenced with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This is where a gun dealer calls to get approval to sell a gun to a potential buyer. If the Florida shooter’s background file had a notation in it from a qualified mental health professional saying this person could not have a gun, he would not have been able to buy the rifle he used. That critical bit of information needs to able to get to the point of sale for a firearm.

In today’s world of computerized records and data bases, there is no reason such a link cannot be made and used. I think it is something to really think about and work toward. This would be a real step toward gun control!

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