COLORADO: Fall turkey hunting offers unique challenge

Plaindealer Staff Report
plaindealer@ouraynews.com
The application deadline for fall turkey hunting, September to October, is July 9. Colorado Parks and Wildlife encourages sportsmen of all interests to give this unique challenge a try.




“Fall turkey hunting offers lots of opportunity to try diverse hunting techniques,” said Ed Gorman, CPW small game coordinator. “Hunters can pursue them in ways that are more characteristic of big-game hunting, like using the spot-and-stalk method or a blind on well used travel corridors and feeding sites. 

Another technique, more common in other parts of the country, is purposely flushing a flock of turkeys and calling them back by imitating a lost turkey. Unlike spring turkey hunting, the calling is different because the hunter is imitating a lost turkey that wants to rejoin the flock rather than attract a mate.

Hunters hope to find small bunches of hens with juvenile turkeys, known as poults, during this time. These small flocks are numerous when the season starts in September. 

Adult male turkeys, known as gobblers, are successfully hunted too. Gobblers tend to segregate into smaller bachelor groups during the summer and fall. These are generally more difficult to locate. 

Hunting methods vary between spring and fall, and so do methods of take. Rifles are not legal during spring seasons, whereas some fall turkey hunting units allow the use of rifles.

Hunters must carefully review regulations and determine if they meet the requirements to use a rifle in a specific unit. Read the 2015 Colorado Turkey brochure. 

Fall turkey offers great challenge and lots of opportunity because turkey populations are at their highest before the winter period begins. 

“Many fall turkeys stay at higher elevations until those first few days that suggest winter is approaching,” adds Gorman. “Fall turkeys can be dispersed across the landscape, but hunters should look for places that provide lots of forage, including leafy, green plants, grass seed heads, waste grain and the fruit or seed of woody trees and shrubs, known as mast.”

As an added bonus, successful fall hunters will enjoy a great meal. Adds Gorman, “While all wild turkeys are good table fare, harvesters of fall turkey claim that the fall birds, especially ‘young birds’  are more tender since they have not yet experienced winter stress.” 

Learn more about turkey hunting this fall at http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/Turkey.aspx. Contact CPW at (303) 297-1192 with questions or to plan your hunt.