It's been more than a decade since Dru Jacobs of Yukon shot his first turkey with his 4-year-old daughter sitting in his lap. He jokingly says that, to this day, she thinks she shot the turkey.
Mackenzie, now 15, did kill her first turkey when she was 8 and has shot many more since. Jacobs' 10-year-old son, Carson, is excited about getting to shoot his first turkey with his crossbow this season.
Oklahoma's spring turkey season opens Friday in most of the state. All signs point to a good opening weekend with the birds seemingly ahead of their usual schedule.
“Birds are cranked up real good, and hens are starting to lay eggs,” said Rod Smith, southwest region's wildlife supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Fewer toms than usual may be “henned up” and, thus, more susceptible to calling earlier this year than in past hunting seasons, he said.
“But that is always highly variable,” Smith said.
The Jacobs family always looks forward to turkey season. They are members of the Oklahoma City Sportsman's Country Club, which offers more than 60,000 acres of hunting leases around the state
The Jacobses have harvested turkeys on many of the club's hunting leases. Dru Jacobs thinks the spring turkey season is a great opportunity to get people interested in hunting who have never been before, particularly children.
“Spring weather, the opportunity to hunt throughout the day, rather than just early in the morning or late in the evening, and the freedom to explore and talk until the turkeys are located can make turkey season more appealing than deer season for novices,” Jacobs said.
“We even carry our fishing poles and fish the ponds on the leases when the hunting gets slow. That keeps the kids very entertained.”
The novelty of learning to turkey call also is intriguing to new hunters, Jacobs said.
“You used to have to go turkey hunting with someone experienced and learn how to call while on the hunt,” he said. “Now, you can just look up turkey calling on YouTube and practice before you go.”
Jacobs especially likes being outdoors before daybreak during turkey season to hear the birds.
“Although you can hunt turkey any time of day, listening to them at daybreak is the best,” he said. “The woods go from totally quiet to an orchestra.”
Spring Turkey Season
April 6 to May 6 (all counties except southeast region)
April 23-May 6 (Atoka, Choctaw, Coal, Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain, Pittsburg and Pushmataha counties)