Turkey Hunting

Turkey hunting is one of my passions and ranks at or near the top of my list of favorite things to do period. I first hunted turkeys in Minnesota with a high school friend Steve Tyson back in 1984. That first year was not good and I don’t think we even heard a gobble. It was hard for me to see why people thought this was special sport until a few years later when a family friend by the name of Tim Nybo called in my first bird, a jake. I was excited, but not as excited as the day I called in my own bird. This is when I really got the “fever”. Now I cannot stop thinking and talking turkey no matter what the season is.

I have only hunted spring turkeys in Minnesota and South Dakota. In Minnesota we are hunting the Eastern sub species and in South Dakota we hunt the Merriam’s. I can’t say I like hunting one better than the other. Both are tukeys and I love everything about this sport of turkey hunting. I have shot all of my turkeys thus far with my 12 gauge Remington 870 shotgun, but that might change this year when I plan on harvesting one with my Hoyt compound bow. I enjoy calling turkeys more than anything, it’s the interaction that really gets me pumped up. It’s also the time of year that makes turkey hunting so special. The birds are singing, the smell of fresh blossoms are in the air, winter is history and the gobblers are happy.

Scouting the property that you are going to hunt is very important. Look for roosting trees (big, mature trees that have solid branches protruding from the trunk), scratching on the forest floor, feathers, droppings and food sources. If you get out and scout out the property you are going to hunt, you will have an advantage. If you are trying to locate birds, there a few different calls that I would suggest using. Here in Minnesota, I like to use the owl call in the early morning hours. In South Dakota I will use both the owl and the coyote call to try and get the gobblers to sound off in the a.m.. After the sun rises and I need to try and locate a bird I will typically go to the crow call. A locator call is typically a loud sound that is shocking to the birds and it will give away their location so you can get set-up and start calling. Once I have located the Tom that I want to hunt, I will find a large tree base with some surrounding cover. I will then put down my pad or use some type of chair so my rear end doesn’t get too sore too fast. Once I have picked out my tree I will clear all the leaves from around me so when the big gobbler starts coming in I won’t be crunching the leaves and spook him. Now that I am comfortable, I will let out a series of yelps in hopes that big Tom is looking for some action. I like the diaphragm calls, but I will also use the box call and a slate call depending upon the situation. Remember to always have a box call on hand. If it is a windy day, a box call is a necessity. The box call will give of a louder more piercing pitch and that is exactly what you need for the birds to hear you on a windy and possibly rainy day. The new Wet Box by Primos is my new favorite box call. The new Ring Zone calls by Hunters Specialties are my new favorite friction calls and the slate is my favorite so far. As far as diaphragms, I like the Double D and the Stagger 4 calls by Hunters Specialties. Mills Fleet Farm has all of these calls in stock, but they are starting to move on out. My suggestion for finding the right call is to experiment as much as possible because they all have their unique sounds. Just because I have my favorites doesn’t mean that they will be yours as well. The best combination of calls in my book right now is the Ring Zone slate and the Double D diaphragm (mouth call). I will also make sure that I don’t enter the woods without my Wet Box, box call by Primos.

Turkey hunting is so incredible, it’s hard for me to stay focused as I am writing this. Another critical part of the hunt is making sure you are camouflaged to the hilt. Everything needs to be covered and it needs to match your surroundings. If you are hunting in the early spring, make sure you are more drab. As the season move on and the foliage gets thicker and greener, make sure you match the environment. Some people use blinds, I plan on using the Enforcer by Ardisam this year. It is a large hub style blind that will offer up enough room to draw and harvest my first turkey with bow and arrow. I am not sure what broad heads I will be using, but I will get that figured out by opening day. Good luck to you and your hunting partners this spring, I hope you have a safe and successful hunt. Check back later and I will have more info on this incredible sport of turkey hunting.


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