This week I received notice that I was chosen in the 2008 Minnesota Spring Wild Turkey Hunt lottery. I applied solo this year as I chose to return to the site of most of my previous turkey hunts in Minnesota, the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area. The beauty of bluff country is difficult to match and, with the abundance of acreage offered by this large WMA, there are countless opportunities, techniques, and scenarios to call in that boss tom. Plus, the central location of Whitewater State Park in this hunting zone provides comfortable camping accommodations. Another reason I love this hunt is that when I case up the shotgun for the day, it’s time to pull out the fly rod and try to raise a brown, brook, or rainbow trout to throw over the fire for dinner.
However, that will not be the case this year. The area and the park are still in the process of recovering from the rainstorms of August 18 and 19, 2007 and the ensuing flash floods that decimated the valleys. With the park not reopening until likely Memorial Day weekend, I will probably be forced to find lodging in Elba, Altura, one of the surrounding communities, or travel from Winona or Rochester daily. It should be interesting to see the effect the rains and floods had on the turkey population and fisheries of the trout streams as well as take in how the communities and park is recovering from these devastating events.
I was not drawn in last year’s lottery and this year I was given my second choice of season. My second choice was the week-long, seventh season. Although I know the Whitewater valley pretty well, I will be encountering some conditioned birds in this later hunt , combined with the factors of the flood and having not hunted there in a few years, and it should prove to be quite a challenging hunt.
My most recent turkey hunt, two years ago, Craig and I were both fortunate to take nice jakes off of Butch’s place a little farther southeast near Spring Grove, MN.