Hunting Public Land and Courtesy to Others

Wild TurkeyThis weekend I went to the public wildlife management area near my home to do some scouting. The WMA doesn’t permit motorized vehicles beyond the parking lot and the entrance to the WMA is one mile from the parking lot. For this reason most people entering the area do so on mountain bikes.

I was riding my bike up the main trail past the first gated entrance when suddenly I spotted a wild turkey just a short distance inside the barbwire. Looking twice, however, I realized it was fake. I looked a little further and saw a blind set up with two men peeking over it watching me ride by.

My first thought was, “Sorry for riding through your turkey hunt but that’s what you should expect when you set up your blind overlooking the main trail on public land.”

A short distance later I rode past yet another fake turkey. I looked about to locate the hunter but couldn’t see him. I figured he was probably in total camo and as such was invisible to my sight.

Two days later I find myself reflecting on the fact that spring turkey season is only 35 days long and will end just 21 days from now. I’m sure those men had probably waited an entire year to hunt turkey and, like myself, have no other option except to hunt on public land.

Looking at it from their point of view causes me to become greatly sympathetic. When October arrives I will have waited an entire year for muzzleloading season to arrive. It lasts only 9 days. What if a man scouting for an upcoming turkey season chose that weekend to ride his bike past my tree stand, invariably scaring away any chance of me shooting a deer or hog? I suppose I would be upset and disappointed.

If I’m willing to stay out of the area for just 21 more days, spring turkey season will end and I’ll then have 5 months to scout and explore the WMA without any hunting season being underway and without any chance of me interrupting someone’s hunt.

Before heading out to do any additional scouting on public land, I’m going to wait until all the other hunting seasons are over.

(photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Wild Turkey by ellenm1)