For this year’s Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season I drew a tag for period C in the southwest zone 1 region. I was behind in preparation and only had the weekend so I figured to go where I already have some knowledge. Headed to Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville, Wisconsin which also allowed me to camp right in the park. I tried to do some sundown listening around the Cox Hollow Lake beach but all I found were great views of the sunset.
A few minutes later and I got to see more pink and red hues. The sky was mostly clear but had enough thin, wispy clouds to reflect back a little color. These are taken with my phone and no long exposure – notice how still the water is? Like perfectly smooth and undisturbed glass.
One last look with the best colors for the night. The air is crisp and cool tonight and feels more like March weather than May (which is odd considering we’ve already had very unseasonably warm spring temperatures).
The Hunting (Or Lack Thereof)…
My failures on this expedition are multiple. First, the campground was filled with loud obnoxious idiots. Between the drunks on one side and someone playing a movie with Dolby surround sound in their camper with windows open it was clear I would get no sleep. I left the campground and parked in the Cox Hollow beach lot which I had all to myself for maybe 2 hours of shuteye. Morning temperatures started below freezing, and even by 8am they only rose to about 35. Too cold = no turkey activity.
I did find one or two gobbles but they were erratic at best. My best chance was on the road leading west from Enee Point. I parked on the shoulder and quietly made my way into the woods. I got on the only hot bird in the area but could never get him to close the distance due to heavy vegetation and terrain. Not the worst outcome – I’m guessing I got within maybe 75 yards of the bird and it was 50/50 if he’d come up to me. Just wasn’t my day but that was a blessing in disguise…
As I left the woods, I was greeted by the game warden parked behind my truck. Friendly guy but I was curious why he was so interested in me. It turns out turkey hunting inside the park ended a few days earlier which I was unaware of. Why? It wasn’t posted at the entrance office, and because it’s difficult to find in writing (see the map below – one small line at the bottom that could be interpreted in a confusing way). Warden gave me a warning and agreed it’s very confusing as well. Had I fired a round or harvested a bird it would have been a bad day. It’s all still my fault but I read the rules diligently and as a (relatively) new hunter they could certainly make it more clear.
Made a few more attempts that afternoon but couldn’t find any birds. Temperatures were picking up and winds were gusting up to 20mph making life difficult. It was a bust this year but still good to get outdoors whenever possible. Time to prepare for fall season now.Lat = 43.0118713 , Long = -90.1241531 -- Show at Google Maps