Forget winter’s blush, youth turkey season is upon us

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Ahhhh, just when we thought spring was here, Old Man Winter shows up. Gotta love him, right?
Well, frankly, I’m not a fan. But, regardless of my personal opinion about where he ranks on the scale of meteorological favoritism, he decided to return to northern Illinois this week, bringing a couple inches of snow with him. I thought March was supposed to be the month that began like a lion and ended in a lamb-like state? It always seems to me that it’s the polar opposite. Less than two weeks ago, it was 65 degrees here. But I guess that’s life in the Midwest.
But from a hunter’s perspective, it sure messes with turkey season, especially for those of us with kiddos who look forward to youth season.
 
Last year, on Day 1 of the youth turkey season, my kids proved themselves to be troopers. We heard gobbles on the roost before daylight, which is always motivating. Sadly, it went downhill from there. At fly-down, the ding-dong birds must have skirted a different way because we never saw any. That morning, we sat in a ground blind, freezing as we watched an unseasonable and depressing blizzard set in. And yes, it was an actual blizzard, that eventually resulted in low visibility.
Needless to say, we called it quits long before we would have if the weather had cooperated. Day 2 wasn’t nearly as miserable, but both kids ended up eating tag soup for lunch that weekend. We’ll never make the mistake again of not getting them an additional permit for one of the regular seasons to increase their chances when youth season fails them.
I suppose from a different point of view, less than optimal circumstances are often what hunting is all about. Every once in a while, conditions prove perfect, but most of the time they aren’t. Occasionally, you’ll be blessed with an opportunity to tag an animal, but most of the time, you trudge home with it still in your pocket. 
With youth turkey season kicking off in a couple weeks, I’d like to wish all of Illinois’ young turkey hunters the best of luck. Here’s to perfect weather and much success. Most of all, be safe and have fun.

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