Did you get your golden ticket? I got mine last week. OK, it’s not really a golden ticket, it’s actually a yellow postcard from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They really wouldn’t have to write anything on the card because everyone who gets one, knows what it’s all about. It’s the DNR’s way to tell turkeys hunters: get ready, you have received a permit for the spring turkey hunting season. Not only did I draw a permit, I did so for the first season.

In today’s world, getting a turkey tag really isn’t that big of a deal but that wasn’t always the case. Turkeys were first released in Wisconsin in 1976 but the first actual hunting season wasn’t until 1983. In those early years, getting a turkey tag was more elusive than the birds themselves. If you didn’t get a tag, you simply applied again the next year with a higher chance to draw and you did so until you actually drew a harvest tag. After that happened, you went to the back of the line and started all over again the next year. Back in those early years it was more common not to draw a tag than to actually receive one, which is very different today.

About the only thing that stops a person from receiving a spring permit is either filling out the application incorrectly or forgetting to submit one in the first place.

So why am I spending so much time on an event that is some three months away? Well, that’s easy: turkey hunting starts in three months and I drew a tag for the first season. If you need more reason than that: in just over three months I will set my alarm for a time so early in the morning that if I had to do it for my job, I would quit. During my season, when I hear that normally annoying bell-ringing from the alarm, it sounds like music.

In just over three months, I will be sitting along the edge of the woods waiting to hear the official harbinger of spring: the first gobble of the year. I will look out into the predawn darkness and smile, saying to myself: “There he is. Game on.”

In just over three months, I will hear the two squabbling boss hen turkeys trying to intimidate each other in order to become the alpha hen because in the woods, there can be only one. I will try to join in with my own artificial hen call but will mostly be ignored.

In just over three months I will hopefully shoulder Grandpa Wally’s 16-gauge single-shot and let it bark again to signal the end of the hunt and the start of spring.

For all of the reasons stated, I will look forward to three months from now. Wait, does it sound better when I say 90 days? Or, how about 2,160 hours? I think that sounds better. Or, how about…


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