Cold Country Turkeys with Alex Cote
Editor’s Note: 26-year-old Alex Cote of Londonderry, Vermont, harvested his first turkey when he was 12 years old while hunting with his father, and he is totally addicted to the sport of gobbler chasing. “Mossy Oak is always as effective as the day I’ve bought it. I've only been on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for 2 years. Until that time, I was just wearing whatever hand-me-down camouflage clothing my grandfather had, as well as the Mossy Oak I’d bought.”
Vermont is one of the coldest turkey states in the nation, and we have one of the latest turkey seasons. Our season usually comes in around the first of May, generally the first Monday in May, and the season usually lasts throughout the month of May. Besides hunting Vermont, I also hunt Massachusetts where my family has land. So, I split up my turkey hunting between Massachusetts and Vermont.
We hunt turkeys the same way in Vermont as I do in Massachusetts. We roost our birds at night, after determining where the gobblers roost. Then the next morning we go and try to call in the birds. I primarily use hen decoys. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try to intimidate a gobbler by using a gobbler decoy. I know that sounds simple. But if you’ve ever hunted turkeys before, you know that’s not always how the game plays out.
One question I'm often asked is, “How does a turkey survive in all that snow?” We have snow in Vermont usually through mid-April and had about 30 inches of snow so far in 2017. The turkeys up here eat a lot of acorns and beechnuts. During the spring and summer, they really fatten-up on insects and young sprouts in the hayfields. When snow is on the ground, our turkeys eat whatever they can find to eat. One of their favorite places to feed is on cow manure. They eat the undigested grain in it. Sometimes, Vermont still has some apples left hanging on the trees. If the apples are hanging on the trees, the turkeys will be there. But mainly, we hunt turkeys like you hunt turkeys anywhere else.