THERE IS NO doubt about it. Wisconsin does not like me. Worse yet, Illinois loves me. OK, OK, just kidding about Illinois.

Seriously though, the computer that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources uses to determine who gets a turkey tag for which season segment does not like me. Instead of a March Christmas present consisting of my first choice for a turkey tag, this year, I got a lump of coal in the form of a seventh season choice for which I honestly believe I did not check the box as acceptable.

Nonetheless, I have a tag for that last season segment of the overall season near the end of May and because I got that tag, I now will get no bonus preference point in the drawing for next year. Department of Natural Resources heads must roll.

Oh, and for informational purposes only, that final season in late May has historically carried with it a success rate of less than 5%. Woe is me.

Enough with the whining. Any time I can hunt turkeys I am happy. I have hunted turkeys in five states, having success in all except for Tennessee where the promised herds of gobblers I would surely see turned out to be as real as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus put together.

This year, because the Illinois turkey license computer continued its love affair with me, I got my first choice for a season in Jo Daviess County, a county inhabited by several close human friends and a ton of gobblers. Secretly, I believe the Illinois computer only loves me for my money, some $165-plus which I happily fork over each time I hunt there.

My Illinois season will start April 12 and run until April 16 or whenever I find a gobbler foolish enough to come to my calls and my personal good looks, whichever comes first.

As usual, I will stay with one of the finest families Illinois has ever produced, a family that welcomes, feeds and provides me with a bed to sleep in, and very importantly, keeps a good supply of Crown Royal on hand anytime I stop in to see them.

My host family is the Harmstons, Dr. Greg, a family practitioner, his wife, Peggy, a saint for putting up with him and their three great children, Ty, Jill and Case. Greg’s mom, Ann, has long been a family friend, ever since my wife and I met her and her late husband, Terry, many moons ago during the 40 or so years they camped down the road from us on Razorback Lake.

Perhaps you might get the sense that I travel to Illinois as much for seeing the Harmston family and the rest of the Illinois boys who inhabit my North Dakota duck camp every fall as I make my way there for a chance at a gobbler. You would be right.

I have had mixed success in my years of Illinois turkey hunting. My first Illinois gobbler was not a huge one, a 2-year-old which made its way across about 300 yards of plowed farm field the last morning of my first hunt in Illinois. Though its beard was a mere 6 inches and its spurs just 3⁄4-inch in length, I was very happy to get him.

My second hunt south of the border I came home empty-handed, but it wasn’t the fault of the gobblers. They happily gobbled at me both days I was able to hunt that year. The first morning, I almost sat hidden in a covered hay wagon in the middle of a field, but decided instead that rain be danged, I would set up with no roof over me along a fence line.

Early on, a nice gobbler sounded off over the crest of the farm field hill. Moving near the crest, I set up along the fence, then with my best calling efforts brought the gobbler into view.

Unfortunately, in a show of great disdain for my amorous hen calls, he stayed just out of range for 15 minutes. He then strutted across the field and walked within mere steps of the hay wagon where I could have been well hidden and ready for action.

The next year brought a similar result. I passed up two jakes early the first morning of my hunt, then over the next two days worked a mature gobbler like crazy, only to have him hang up close, tantalizingly close, but out of range.

The third morning I finally got him in range, took aim, touched off a shot and watched as he ran away like a crazed banshee, untouched by even a single BB.

Happily, I have had several successes in Illinois, including the year I killed the biggest gobbler of my entire career, a 261⁄2-pound tom with 13⁄4-inch spurs after a half-hour standoff with him in range at 30 yards, but semi-protected by a 6-foot high sapling.

He gobbled on and on, but would not budge from that cover. Finally, with a live hen approaching from another direction sure to bust me, I decided to see if a magnum load of fours would find its way through the bare branches of the sapling. They did and that year, a very happy turkey hunter celebrated in Illinois.

Who knows what this Illinois season will bring? I know that success in bringing a gobbler home with me will be very secondary to the opportunity of seeing good friends, eating their good steaks and maybe even quaffing a dollop or two of their Crown.

It sure feels good to have Illinois love me.