by Justin Walker, Global Rescue
Spring is a great time to not only fine tune your gear for the upcoming season, but field test it as well. Spring fishing, turkey or bear hunts offer great choices to field test some of the new items you’ve added to your arsenal. There couldn’t be a better time to dial in your rifle, learn a new skill or test your new equipment.
Although the fall season is typically a hunter’s favorite, don’t discount the wonders of spring. Here are some thoughts and activities for the spring hunting season.
Many Rocky Mountain states offer over-the-counter spring bear hunts and, in my opinion, this is one of the absolute best times to be in the woods. If you time it right, the weather can be phenomenal and the animals are plentiful. This hunt is usually more rugged, and if you want to see bears then you need to get out and put in some work. Hiking, glassing (spotting game at a distance), and making an adventure out of the process is part of the allure.
Hunting these animals can be straight-up wild. Two years ago, my hunting buddy and I came face to face with a mountain lion at 20 yards. My buddy thought I was crazy for grabbing my camera instead of a gun, but it paid off in the end. I was able to get a couple pictures of the sneaky cat, which is more of an interaction than most people could ever hope to have.
Most states have a spring turkey season and these birds never disappoint. Just when you think you have the birds figured out, they completely flip the script. We’ve joked for years that turkeys are simultaneously one of the smartest and dumbest animals there are— and when the birds do things that make absolutely no sense, it leads to a frustratingly addictive hunt.
Turkey hunting is a great way to introduce youth to hunting as they are not an overly difficult animal to find, sounding off to even some of the worst callers. This past season I took down two big toms with my 9- and 7-year-old children. The second bird we called into 15 yards and both girls were awestruck when he gobbled several times before I took him in full strut.
If you like looking for a needle in a haystack, then shed hunting is for you. Since the price of antlers has gone through the roof, shed hunting has become a popular pastime in the off-season. This is the perfect opportunity to break in those new boots, try out that fresh pack, and cut a few pounds from the winter hibernation period.
Sheds are tough to find and it helps if you know where animals are wintering. A general rule of thumb is focusing on those south facing hillsides, which offer up food and warmth in the colder months.
I don’t go hunting without my Global Rescue membership and SCI recommends you do the same. My passion is the outdoors and I look forward to spending as much time as possible outside. I feel safer knowing that I can call Global Rescue during a medical emergency and get the help I need. My family does, too.
For more information, visit globalrescue.com/scimag or call (617) 459-4200 and mention you’re a Safari Club International member.
Justin Walker is an associate manager at Global Rescue. He started hunting with his father when he was a young boy in the mountains of Utah and has been obsessed with the outdoors his whole life. He is an advocate for conservation and works diligently as a volunteer with several organizations in the U.S. Bow hunting is his favorite way to pursue big game.