Mark Strand has chased turkeys throughout the U.S. and Mexico. A Twin Cities outdoors writer, photographer and videographer, Strand, 55, began hunting turkeys in the late 1970s.
“My dad was one of the only people to get a Minnesota turkey hunting permit in 1978, the first year the state had a season in recent times,’’ Strand said. “I got interested in turkeys at the same time, and in 1979 my dad, my uncle, a friend and I began hunting them wherever we could get permits.’’
The Strand turkey hunting tradition involves camping. Sometimes the locale is Minnesota, other times South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa or even Florida — stories of which Strand (www.markstrandoutdoors.com) has captured in a recent e-book, “Turkey Camp … and Other Turkey Hunting Stories.’’
Additionally, on a recent trip to Mexico, Strand took an Ocellated turkey, the sixth species in his “World Slam’’ that also includes the Eastern, Rio Grande, Merriam’s, Osceola and Gould’s subspecies.
“When I first started turkey hunting I promised I wasn’t going to do anything with writing or photography involving turkeys, that this was going to be the one thing I did just for myself,’’ Strand said.
“It didn’t turn out that way. Now, turkey hunting is the only thing I think about every day, all year.’’
Q: What fascinates you about turkey hunting?
A: I’m amazed at their size and beauty and fascinated by the many ways you can call them and bring them close to you.
Q: Of all places you’ve hunted, which do you prefer?
A: Nebraska. Anywhere I can keep going and there are no fences, that’s what I like. Also, as a nonresident Nebraska turkey hunter, you can buy up to three licenses.
Q: What’s the weirdest turkey species you’ve hunted?
A: The Ocellated, which I hunted in Mexico. The males don’t gobble, they “sing,’’ which starts out just like a ruffed grouse drumming. I went down there thinking I would do it only once. But I ended up wanting to go back every year.
Q: Would you rather hunt with a bow or gun?
A: Gun. I have a bad back, and my neck is getting worse all the time. So I can’t draw a regular bow anymore; I have to use a crossbow. Still, I’d rather hunt with a gun. It’s easier to put a bird down for good.