Teanaway Turkey Time

Turkey hunting in the Teanaway has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? It’s an amazing way to end a long Washington winter, get out into the backcountry, and bag some birds along the way.

Photo by Gregg Bafundo

Boots on the Ground | Photo by Gregg Bafundo

Every spring I head up to the North and Middle forks of the Teanaway river with my longbow or my shotgun for a few days of spectacular scenery, wily birds, and solitude.

My day begins early, actually the night before, when I walk the roads and trails blowing owl calls, which tell me where the turkeys are settling in for the night. Then it’s a good sleep, up in the dark with coffee, and off to the blind with my decoys to wait for the birds. Half the time I find myself looking for morels; I’ve had coyote, bear and even a cougar come near my blind. Sometimes I get a turkey, sometimes I don’t, but I always love being out in the spring, enjoying things warming up and my thoughts of coming summer fishing trips.

Today the private American Forest Land Company (AFLC) lands along these spectacular rivers are open for hunting and fishing, and I’m looking forward to the day – hopefully later this summer – when we know the whole valley will be protected for good under public ownership. One of the best things about the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan is its promise to provide for the public acquisition of the Teanaway, a beauty of a valley that Washington conservationists have been working to protect for a very long time. And the fact is, everyone who hunts, fishes and hikes the Teanaway knows that if we don’t protect this landscape soon, we’ll lose access forever. That’s something the turkeys and I can both agree on.