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Northern Ontario Travel
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Turkey Hunting in Ontario

Jeff Helsdon plants decoys for his turkey hunting. • Credit: Jeff Helsdon

Hunting wild turkeys is always a thrill, but the opportunity to pursue the birds in Northeastern Ontario added a new level of excitement. This is just one area of Northern Ontario where turkeys now inhabit. I was sitting in a woodlot during the early morning where the blackness of night still hung when a gobble shattered the darkness.

We were hunting with Luke Scherders of Wingfeather Outfitters of Bruce County, aiming to fill a few turkey tags. One of those was to hopefully be Collin’s first turkey. With another gobbler joining the first one we heard, our hopes were running high.

A test of patience

It was the second morning hunting with Scherders. The first morning a tom foiled us early in the morning. We were entertained by hens that put on quite a show challenging Scherders’ decoys. Rain during the day made things difficult to lure a tom into range, and although Scherders and his team of guides put us in contact with birds, we never pulled the trigger.

Day two started with a little excitement when a deer came close behind us, snorting and stomping when it became aware of us. Scherders got Collin’s attention when he suggested it was a cougar.

Although a hen came through our decoys to have a closer look before the sun peaked over the horizon, the gobblers were more stubborn. One moved away while the second kept gobbling to my left, answering Scherders’ calls.

The moment of the harvest

Then we heard a tom drumming. I saw movement through the trees to my left and ensured Collin was aware what was happening. The tom eventually broke through the fence line with a flock of hens in tow. Slowly it moved forward and in front of us. It didn’t seem to notice our decoys and was going along the edge of the grass field in front of us. Figuring it wasn’t coming any closer, I told Collin to shoot. He dropped the bird.

It ended up tipping the scales at 23 pounds, but only had a short beardgo like a jake. Since the spurs were over an inch in length, Scherders figured the beard broke off in the snow the previous winter.

We tried one more spot to fill my tag, but to no avail.

The trip was a success in Collin harvested his first turkey. It was also interesting hunting different terrain than home. The rolling hills of Bruce County and scenic farms of beef country were a change from the flat land of southern Ontario I was accustomed to.

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