Black flies and deer ticks end turkey hunting for me

I paid $10/hour to hunt turkeys this year. Linda and I were enjoying a birding adventure in Arizona for the first two weeks of Maine’s spring turkey season, so I missed that.

And my schedule was very busy when we returned. But I did get my 10-year-old grandson, Vishal, out turkey hunting on May 17, which turned out to be a brutally hot day.  V does a great job of calling, and we chased two groups of turkeys around for a couple of hours, getting close enough to see one group of 7 hens and a big gobbler, but not close enough to shoot.

We were very hot, the blackflies were wicked, and we were constantly picking deer ticks off each other. So we quit after two hours, came home, and did some fishing. I was too busy to hunt the rest of that week, and then my turkey hunting buddy Harry stopped hunting, discouraged by the black flies. So I quit too.

For my $20 dollar turkey hunting permit, I got 2 hours of turkey hunting this year: $10/hour.

I hate blackflies too, but the deer ticks really discouraged me. I have heard from quite a few turkey hunters who quit hunting turkeys because of the deer ticks.

I’m writing this on a Sunday afternoon. This morning, I pulled a pair of dress pants out of my closet that had been washed the previous day. And as I was ironing the pants, I found a deer tick on them. Must have gotten into my closet on some other piece of clothing, I guess.

In the past I have found deer ticks on the mail in my mailbox, on the visor in my car, and lots of other places. Most of you know that my friend Harry has suffered terribly from Lyme disease, so I am very cautious about deer ticks.

Sadly, we have to put up with them now, if we want to hunt turkeys.

PHOTO: the last turkey my Dad and I got, before he died.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.