Wild turkey season opens Monday

Published 10:55 pm Friday, March 13, 2009

With a youth hunt beginning today and a disabled hunt starting on Sunday, the spring turkey season is almost officially underway.

Both groups get an early start, but for everyone else, the season officially opens on Monday.

“I love deer hunting, but I really love turkey hunting,” said Selma Parks and Recreation director Elton Reece. “It’s about the only sport where the game actually talks back to you. The turkey, they’re one of the few sports that lets you know where they are.”

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Reece plans to take a day of annual leave to hit the woods on Monday.

Dr. Lee Youngblood has been an avid wild turkey hunter for 53 years and is anxious to start the hunt as well.

“It can be an exciting but frustrating hunt,” said Youngblood. “This area’s looked upon as a real fine place to turkey hunt. We have a national reputation to come to Alabama if you want to find turkeys.”

Hunters should be more aware of a law that went into effect last year. Hunters are limited to five wild turkeys during the season, and they are required to carry and fill out turkey harvest forms before leaving the woods with game.

“It was not heavily enforced last year,” said Sgt. Joe Johnston of the Alabama Department of Conservation. “This year, it will be enforced with arrests and fines.”

Johnson also placed a heavy emphasis on safety in light of differences between deer and turkey season. Hunters are not required to wear orange vests in turkey season, and most will be in full camouflage.

The National Wild Turkey Federation’s clothing checklist suggests a number of camouflage necessities, including pants, jacket, paint, makeup, socks and a face net. Hunters will need to be well concealed, and they will be out a few hundred dollars if it is their first hunt.

“I would never divulge that information,” Youngblood jokingly said about the price of camouflage clothing. “My wife would kill me.”

Though bagging a turkey or two is the goal of the spring turkey season, leaving empty-handed is not necessarily the end of the world.

“It’s just a great sport. You’re out in the spring, the dogwoods are blooming,” said Reece. “The kill is minor compared to the other advantages