Heads Up Decoy

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring Time: A Season for Shed Antlers and Longbeards

by Matt Palmquist
As hunters we all live for the fall months. September in the mountains and November pursuing rutting deer is hard to beat, but I enjoy the spring more and more. It is refreshing to get some warmer weather after enduring the cold, lack luster months bridging the gap between hunting seasons. As the days lengthen and the temperature rises it means that turkey season is approaching and exploring deer bedding areas for shed antlers is finally here. I typically avoid these areas like the plague from late summer through the fall and can’t wait for the first expedition into my core areas in search of sign left by rutting bucks and hopefully find some hard evidence that a good buck survived the deer seasons. 
I always get impatient when the warm days arrive and enter some of my areas too early. It is hard to find many antlers when you watch them all run off into the
distance. This resulted in several hikes that netted very few sheds, but it was still great to scout for sign. Several late snows kept me out for a while and allowed the deer to drop their antlers without being disturbed. I was anxious to get back a field, but the time off paid in results. Several short trips resulted in 20+ antler days, which always makes it more fun!!
There were still plenty of antlers left throughout the prairie, but when April finally arrived my focus was turned towards chasing love sick gobblers with my Heads Up Decoy! I was lucky enough to hunt with my brother Lucas and my nieces and nephew for the opening weekend. High winds resulted in tough hunting but we were able to use the HUD to fill a couple of tags before the weekend was over. We had to work for every opportunity we got. The birds weren’t very aggressive yet so we spent most of the time crawling towards the birds hoping to get a response. I was lucky enough to find a group of toms that were ready to challenge the encroaching turkey and arrowed my bird at 10 yards with the HUD in my bow mount. Talk about a rush!!
I still have another tag left to fill before the season is over. We are blessed in Kansas to be able to hunt until the end of May. Most years the foliage is tall and it gets hard to locate birds late in the season, but this year it has been cold and windy throughout most of April delaying spring growth close to a month. Due to Mother Nature I think the best is yet to come and I can’t wait to get back after them!! Good luck to everyone that is still out hoping to punch a tag or two!