Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Next month brings the spring turkey hunting season. And the truth of the matter is that I've been more than a little concerned about these big birds over the last few months. With deep snows and brutally cold weather as I was scouting I wasn't seeing any birds at all. Thoughts turned to all sorts of bad scenarios. Was it possible that there were starving, frozen and dying birds? For sure this was a possibility in the northernmost reaches of Wisconsin. As it turns-out northeastern Wisconsin was another matter. All of a sudden - poof! The birds were back.
Birds all over the place. If I had to guess they had been hunkered-down in the heaviest of cover to hide from the arctic blasts and deepest of snows. Survivors.
No hens yet but all sorts of gobblers. These birds are not your ordinary supermarket turkey. These are birds that work for a living. Wild turkeys scratching out an existence in the real world. It isn't so far-fetched a notion that they might have become our national bird if Benjamin Franklin had his way. Old Ben had this to say of the American bald eagle - He is a Bird of bad moral Character.
As much as I like seeing eagles I have a great deal of respect for Meleagris Gallopavo Silvestris - the eastern wild turkey. They have excellent eyesight, can run at speeds of up to 25 MPH and are capable of near vertical takeoff and flight at up to 55 MPH. This upland game bird is tough to hunt and magnificent to observe.
By the early 1900s wild turkey numbers in North America were reduced to as few as an estimated 30,000 birds. Victims of market hunting and loss of habitat. As a consequence of scientific game management and habitat improvements supported by fees and taxes paid-for by hunters - the turkey population today is estimated to range close to 7 million in number.
Out of deference to the Turkey JuJu I disturbed last year by talking smack - this year I make no pretense of getting a bird. I scored a couple of turkey hunting permits for this spring - first season and last season. So I'm going to enjoy the range of conditions and possibilities. And if the hunting is slow I'll put the boat in the water and go fishing.
This photo and the accompanying video were taken by one of my silent trail camera monitors a little over a week ago. This is what is known as a 'bachelor flock'. Male birds identified by the long and pendulous 'beards' that are protruding from their breasts.
Enjoy the parade...