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Bill Marchel: Turkey time is just around the corner

The first spring turkey hunting season opens April 13.

Three adult tim turkeys in a field.
A turkey hunter’s delight -- three adult gobblers strutting in the absence of hens, making them vulnerable to a turkey hunter’s call.
Contributed / Bill Marchel
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BRAINERD — Despite the recent blustery weather, spring is on its way. After all, tomorrow the amount of daylight will be roughly three minutes longer than today. And the sun is getting higher on the horizon. Step outside and you can feel its warmth on your face even on chilly days.

A tom turkey in a field.
Up periscope. Even a lovesick tom turkey is no pushover for the hunter. They are forever on the alert.
Contributed / Bill Marchel
A tom turkey near a turkey decoy in a field.
Every turkey hunter's dream -- an adult tom at close range strutting for a decoy.
Contribued / Bill Marchel
A hen turkey.
Hen turkeys are what all the fuss is over for springtime gobblers.
Contributed / Bill Marchel

Another sign spring is here: turkey hunters are out scouting for hotspots — eyes searching for tracks, ears straining to hear the thunderous gobbles of love sick toms. Turkey calls are scattered about, too. Some in our vehicles, others on living room coffee tables, a few even on our nightstands. We are practicing calling techniques; scratching slate calls, working the paddles of box calls, and spending time with diaphragm calls stuck to the roofs of our mouths.
All this in preparation for when the spring turkey hunting seasons open, the first commences April 13.

Even now, when occasional snowflakes are flying, we dream of the upcoming hunt.

We envision ourselves in the pre-dawn forest, camouflaged from head to toe, and recall how the hair on our neck rises when we hear the lusty gobble of an amorous tom turkey as he announces to the awakening world, he’s the boss.

Then, as daylight penetrates the woods, we see the strutting tom now on the ground. His chin is tucked, his magnificent tail is fanned, and his iridescent feathers glow gold, green, purple and bronze. His head and neck reflect the patriotic colors of red, white and blue. When he gobbles, we realize that his love call is one of nature's greatest audio delights.

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So, if you haven't already got turkey fever, hopefully the images on this page will stir your blood.

The hunt is not too far away.

BILL MARCHEL is a wildlife and outdoors photographer and writer whose work appears in many regional and national publications as well as the Brainerd Dispatch. He may be reached at bill@billmarchel.com. You also can visit his website at BillMARCHEL.com.

A turkey track in gravel and dirt.
Even the sight of a fresh turkey track will quicken the plus of a turkey hunter. A diaphragm turkey call was placed for size comparison.
Contributed / Bill Marchel

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