Note: All photos come from ranches hunted by Adobe Lodge Also: Click on an image to enlarge it.
3-18-18 Max Sanders, our faithful and fruitful trail camera amigo, has been busy monitoring both deer and turkey. Both species are found in this week's postings. This section will deal with the birds.
Photos come from several different locations. We have 44 feeders dispensing milo over the tens-of-thousands of acres we hunt. Interestingly, as our guides have learned on their scouting trips, some of the feeders are super-active showing much use by the turkeys. This fact is self-evident in the collection of photos below.
Other feeders, however, show zero use by turkeys. You will see milo still on the ground with no turkey feathers, tracks, scat nor scratching. You will, however, see evidence of doves with many small footprints and a few gray feathers here and there. Almost always, these feeders showing no turkey signs are the more remote feeders which are the farthest from the winter roosting sites of the birds. It has been our experience that the feeders will finally be found by mid-April. In a normal year, that is when the hens start their egg-laying activities. For whatever reason, the hens seem to move a mile or two away from their winter quarters. So, the more remote feeders will ultimately show signs of use by the turkeys.
And from Max's photos, we can see now that both sexes have finally come back together. Until just recently, the winter flocks we were seeing would have either hens or gobblers, rarely both. But no more. Last year, the timing of this ritual seemed to come super-early. This season, things are back to normal.
3-18-18 In his reports which accompany each batch of photos for either deer or turkeys, Max always offers his observations after reviewing scores - hundreds - thousands of photos, depending on a camera's particular location and situation.
Regarding the deer on the piles of cotton seed, there are still numerous photos of bucks fighting. You would think all the bucks would finally be at peace with each other. Steve Nelle, our consulting biologist who counts several of the ranches we hunt, says during the fall census time, he almost always sees a few young, spotted fawns from the helicopter. These, he suggests, were conceived along about now. So a small amount of breeding and the resulting competition between bucks is still going on.
Max has some before-and-after photos of the two piles of cottonseed. Their decrease in size over the past couple of months is noticeable, but frankly, the cottonseed is lasting longer than I predicted it would. Sooner or later, however, it will all be gone and I will have to get down on my hands and knees to find even one seed. As noted in an earlier report, that cottonseed is nature's most perfect winter feed for a whitetail deer.