It's an early morning in April, opening day of wild turkey season in Ontario, and I'm sitting motionless at the base of an old oak tree listening to the woods of Brant County come to life. Before the sun crests the horizon, the unmistakable gobble of a wild turkey slices through the cool morning air. Instantly my heart is in my throat. Game on.
Brant County occupies 850 square kilometres of primarily rural land in south central Ontario. Surrounding the City of Brantford, Brant County offers an ideal mix of services for visiting hunters and prime habitat for wild turkeys.
With the Grand River bisecting the county, a combination of rolling hills, river valleys, mature woodlots, farmed fields, grasslands and treed fence lines create a utopia for turkeys and turkey hunters alike.
Turkeys are widespread here and a few days before opening day, my hunting partners and I scout by driving rural areas with binoculars, looking for birds. When the crops are low in the spring the dark silhouette of a turkey really stands out.
Most of Brant County is private property. After we spot several turkeys along the edge of a field, adjacent to a woodlot, we find the landowner and secure permission to hunt his land.
On With the Hunt
We spent the remaining time before the opener scouting the land. We located tracks, droppings and scratching areas where turkeys had been feeding. We also spotted the flock of turkeys we saw the previous day. They were nearly in the same location, along the edge of the bush, feeding in a cut cornfield. The unmistakable shape of a tom turkey in full strut gets us even more excited for opening morning.
We watched the flock until dusk when they flew up to roost in a stand of mature trees near the field's edge. Knowing where they are roosting provides valuable information about where to set up the next morning.
Turkeys rarely fly very far when they drop down from the roost, so before first light opening morning, we set up about 100 yards from where we watched the turkeys roost. After hearing a gobble cut through the morning air, we wait a few more minutes as turkeys pitch down, one after another, from the roosting trees to the field. Suddenly, there are half a dozen birds coming towards our decoys.
Three hens and two jakes lead the way while a large tom follows closely behind. I shake with anticipation as I raise my gun. When the tom struts to within 20 yards, I take aim, ease off the safety and squeeze the trigger. Game over.
Whether you're an avid turkey hunter or are just getting started, Brant County provides everything a turkey hunter needs for a successful hunt. Places to stay, eat, shop and hunt are all in close range in this turkey hunter's paradise.