I'm certain you're more interested in fishing right now than gobbler hunting, but the choice of which to do will become much easier in just a few days when the spring turkey season closes.
In general, news of gobbler harvests is very slow in arriving. There are a couple of reasons that may explain that, however. For one, there are fewer birds this year. I'm not certain exactly why, but in many areas bird populations are down -- considerably in some cases. Secondly, we've had some unusual weather patterns, especially during the early weeks of the season. It was unusually warm and dry, causing foliage to sprout quite early, and that impacted the early season. If you can't see the birds you can't harvest them. The denser the foliage, the more difficult the shot.
I'm not certain those elements are the only ones that have resulted in our lower than average take in this area though it's fair to say they've had an affect. During my early morning jaunts I've seen about as many cars as usual parked in regular hunting spots so I think hunters are still getting out there, but I suspect the warmer temperatures we experienced caused many of them to abandon their hunting spots a few hours earlier than normal. In general, less time in the woods normally means fewer birds.
OTHER FLYING THINGS
Black flies, skeeters and other winged insects have also been out in force earlier than usual. The abundance of deer ticks also hasn't had much of a negative impact on hunting. Most hunters avail themselves of DEET or permethrin-based products and know how and when to use them, so that helps. The DEET acts as a repellent while permethrin actually kills ticks and other insects that come in contact with it. However, some people may be sensitive to one or both of these products so care should be taken before using them. I prefer permethrin but if all you have is DEET, then by all means use it but in the highest concentrations you can handle. It's still effective but once you get down to products that use around 30 percent DEET they may not be as effective as you'd like. Check the label before you buy.
If you do use a chemical repellent, apply it sparingly but thoroughly around your boot tops and trouser and shirt cuffs. If you do detect a tick on yourself during your apres-hunt shower don't worry too much since it normally takes about 36 hours for the critter to imbed itself. You can probably still just brush or wash it off.
Paying special attention to your hunting togs is equally important. I've covered that topic in previous columns so there's no need to repeat it but I will recommend removing those togs in your garage or other suitable location before going indoors to your living quarters. Pay special attention to your pets as well. My dog likes to head for grassy, overgrown areas during her daily jaunts and though we check and brush her frequently I did discover a partially imbedded tick on her last week. I was still able to safely and thoroughly remove it but if I hadn't, removal might have been more difficult even the following day.
The purchase of former Finch, Pruyn lands opens up forest acreage that has been largely closed to the public for over 150 years, though Finch, Pruyn did previously lease some property to the Gooley Club and Polaris Club, to name two. The Essex Chain Lakes Tract, which spreads over approximately 18,188 acres, is located within the townships of Newcomb and Minerva. This particular tract has a southern portion and a northern portion, with the Cedar River being the dividing line. The Essex Chain Lakes are a series of eight interconnected waters, or a total of 11 lakes and ponds interconnected or within portaging distance of each other, providing about a seven-mile canoe route.
The Indian River Tract consists of approximately 945 acres located in the towns of Minerva and Indian Lake. The OK Slip Falls Tract is approximately 3,000 acres in size in the Town of Indian Lake. The OSC Tract is about 160 acres and is in the Town of Newcomb.
I'll have more on this purchase in a future column.