Birds of a Feather: Hunting the Wild Turkey

Spring in the south means many things to many people. For some it's a time where evening activities take place more outdoors than inside. Some of us are thinking Spring Break, the beaches, picnics surrounded by blooming azaleas, dogwoods and redbuds, but for the dedicated outdoor enthusiast spring means one thing—turkey season. That's right, springtime in the South is more than fun and games. It is a time of year that the tens of thousands of southerners take to the fields and forests in search of one of nature's most elusive creatures, the American wild turkey.

Benjamin Franklin suggested that the wild turkey be our national symbol since it is distinctly native to American shores, wise beyond it's years and beautifully colored when observed up close. And though the bald eagle was chosen, many still hold the wild turkey in high reverence for his cunning and uncanny ability to avoid virtually every predator in his habitat. In the upcoming April/May issue, professional outdoorsman Marty Fischer gives us an inside look at a day in the life of a turkey hunter. Fischer describes a turkey hunt as a game of cat and mouse—you might call it the ultimate game of outdoor chess. For the thousands of southern sportsmen who pursue the wild turkey, the hunt isn't necessarily about harvesting a bird. It is instead, more about the experience, the sights, the sounds and smells of a cool spring morning. And while South doesn't have scratch and sniff capability, Fischer's description of a morning in the turkey woods is about a close as you'll get while not actually sitting next to him in the turkey woods.

Photography by Ryan Gibson