Story and Photos by Andrew Persson
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Fall is an extremely busy time for any hunter, and once the month of October hits almost all game species are being sought after by Minnesota’s sportsmen. Between chasing deer, geese, ducks, grouse and many other animals, it is hard to imagine that there is time for people to set their sights on anything else; however, squeezing a turkey hunt into their schedules just might be the highlight of their fall.
Many people are now aware of how great turkey hunting can be as this sport is quickly gaining a reputation for its high level of springtime action. It is hard not to love hearing thunderous gobbles coming from big strutting toms as they waltz across green fields; but this sport is no longer just for the April and May hunter to experience. Fall turkey season has rapidly shot to the top part hunters’ lists of favorite hunts, and that is not a fluke. Because of the length of the season, the limited amount of restrictions, and the style of hunting, this October season is one that any hunter looking for an exhilarating experience should truly put time and effort into.
During the spring season, firearm hunters are only allowed five days to try and harvest a gobbler, which is not much time to find success in a state as difficult as Minnesota. The fall season provides a wide time period for hunters to go out and have a great opportunity at bagging a bird. Running from October 4 to November 2 this year, 30 days are provided which can feel like an eternity to anyone who has experienced a full five days of hunting in the spring. Having nearly an entire month to hunt is a great way to get more people into the field and a great reason for hunters to get out of the deer stand for a few days.
The thought of shooting a monster tom in April is on the front of many avid turkey hunters’ brains, and can often become a reality with a lot of hard work and generally a decent amount of luck. Another reason that the fall season is a great hunt to experience is the combination of two things- lowered expectations and less strict regulations. Although getting that monster tom again in the fall would be quite a feat, it is best to focus on getting any bird of any size. Laws dictate that only a turkey with a visible beard can be shot in the spring, this is not a restriction when it comes to October. Either gender of bird can be shot in the fall, which is great news for anyone simply looking to get out there and have some success, and he or she has 30 days to do it.
The Minnesota turkey rule book states, “Do not stalk a turkey. The chances of getting close enough for a shot are slim.” It can often times be much more difficult to shoot a fall bird because of the lowered number of responses a hunter gets, but fall patterns can definitely work in a hunter’s benefit as well. Turkeys tend to group up in large flocks in the fall, which makes them much more visible for spotting and can, at select times, make them more predictable. The thought of going to the game, not letting the game come to you has always peaked hunters’ interests, and it could be the main reason why some enjoy this often over-looked sport so much.
Whether it is spring or fall, hunters taking the opportunity test their skill against these birds is a special experience. When success is found, appreciating the effort put into that kill is what makes it all worth it. It is safe to say this is the reason why many turkey hunt, and is definitely the reason why they will be in the turkey woods this October.