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A Turkey Hunter

It's 3:30 in the morning, you are in your truck on the way to that hardwood ridge where you "roosted" a gobbler the night before. When you get there, there is already someone there. He beat you to your spot. Don't take the attitude that this is your spot and you are going to hunt it anyway. You have to let the person that got there first have it. You should have a back-up spot close by where you can hunt that day. The next time you plan on hunting this spot get up a little earlier and you be the first one there. This happens often with all the new, first time turkey hunters we have each year. Every year there are new turkey hunters that combined with the people already turkey hunting, overload the places where you can hunt. It happens on public hunting land more often. It happens on private hunting club lands. It will even happen on lands that you own. Someone else getting to your woods ahead of you is going to happen. When this happens to you show sportsmanship and let that hunter have those woods that day. Hunters are an endangered species. We as hunters have to learn to get along together. When you have a problem with another hunter, talk to that fellow hunter and work your problems out. The "ANTI-HUNTERS" thrive on controversy that is created by hunters against other hunters. If we as hunters can not learn to get along together, work out our problems without controversy, and conduct ourselves with a strong hunter ethic, our future generations will not be able to enjoy the great " HUNTER TRADITION" that our ancestor's left for our generation to enjoy. If you have ever heard a turkey gobble in the springtime it will set you on fire. When you start Turkey Hunting and a turkey answers your calling, you are "TOUCHED" from then own. You will find every excuse in the world as to why you should be turkey hunting. The down side of it is, you will lay out of work, and disown old friends and family. You will be burning up with "Turkey Fever" and there is not a cure for it. I hope you harvest that "OLD GOBBLER'. I hope you learn something from my list of tips and opinions on turkey hunting. I enjoy talking turkey. E-Mail me your thoughts and opinions.

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100 Turkey Hunting Tips

1. Turkey hunters can't enjoy just harvesting a bird. You have to study the habits of turkeys all year long.

2. The flock of longbeards you saw during deer season, will give you an idea about where to hunt in the spring time.

3. In every state there is some land open to public hunting. Do your research.

4. If it is an over night hunt, know where you are going to spend the night.

5. Make sure you purchase a license.

6. Know what dates turkey season is in for the area that you are going to hunt.

7. Know the area you are going to hunt in.

8. Have backup areas already picked out in case you can't hunt the first area you chose.

9. Does season go out at noon, or is it open all day?

10. If possible, "roost" your turkey the night before.

11. Hunt your roosted bird first thing in the morning.

12. Turkeys talk the most during first hour of daylight.

13. Get set up on bird quickly.

14. He is fixing to fly down and get with hens.

15. "Turkey talk" attracts predators.

16. When gobbler goes the other way, circle around and get in front of him. Then set up and call again.

17. You can hoot like an owl to get a bird gobbling.

18. A crow call can be used to locate a gobbler.

19. A hawk call can be used to call a gobbler.

20. My experience with a coyote howler is that birds shut-up.

21. Use a gobbler call to make a turkey gobble. Caution should be used when doing this.

22. Use several types of calls to sound like a flock of turkeys.

23. Don"t rely on one type of call. Birds that are called by a box call will soon not pay any attention to the box call.

24. Learn to use all calls. ( Box, Slate, Diaphram, Wingbone, Tubes, etc.)

25. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Become effective with all types of calls.

26. Start of with soft yelps.

27. My favorite call is cutting. This is a series of sporatic broken clucks

28. A cackle works well also. This is a series of excited yelping, tapering of to a solf yelp.

29. Clucks work well also. This is a call that will bring in gobblers, if you don't over call and have patience to sit still and wait until he comes to you.

30. Purrs are excellent calls to get a "hung-up" gobbler into shooting range.

31. Use your hand to rake leaves, to make a gobbler think that there is another turkey.

32. Wear complete camo. You have to be invisible to a turkey.

33. Young jakes are careless. Let them go. They will be your gobbling birds in the future

34. Turkeys have a pecking order that is maintained all year long.

35. Fighting Toms peg type calls, can help you calling a gobbler.

36. If it is legal, use turkey decoys.

37. Harvesting a turkey is a good conservation manangement practice.

38. In some places there needs to be a season open for the taking of hen turkeys.

39. If you have control of the land you hunt on, use wildlife manangement to help sustain your turkey populations.

40. Plant food for turkeys. (Chufa, Clover, Millet, etc.)

41. Create and maintain open areas. Turkeys like places where they can see.

42. Spring turkey hunting is a tradition.

43. Turkey hunters must be good woodsmen.

44. " No hunting" areas or refuges are not good wildlife manangement practices.

45. A flashlight is useful in the predawn darkness.

46. Have confidence in the area you are hunting.

47. Be prepared for the weather on the day you hunt. (Cold, Hot or Rain)

48. Don't spook your bird trying to set up on him. One hundred to one hundred fifty yards is close enough. It is too close in some situations.

49. If there is an opening near to your roosted gobbler, he will probably go there when he flies down.

50. Turkey hunts are never perfect. Always expect for sometrhing to go wrong.

51. In most cases, the dominant gobbler is not the biggest bird in the flock.

52. Turkeys live in flocks. Flocks travel and feed together.

53. Turkeys like being with other turkeys.

54. Hens and gobblers live in seperated flocks except for the short time that breeding is taking place.

55. Flocks of jakes are usually brothers.

56. Flocks of gobblers contain all ages of birds.

57. Flocks of hens also contain all ages of birds.

58. The only time hens don't flock is when they are nesting.

59. If a gobbler gets with real hens, you have to call the hens to you.

60. Look for feeding areas when scouting.

61. Look for roosting areas when scouting.

62. Look for dusting bowl areas while scouting.

63. Look for scrathing areas while scouting.

64. Look for feathers while scouting.

65. Look for droopings while scouting.

66. Look for tracks while scouting.

67. Look for areas that turkeys are using while scouting.

68. In the spring look for dogwood trees. You will find the turkeys.

69. Gobblers that have been hunted before, are harder to hunt again.

70. Set up in a comfortable position, with your non-shooting shoulder pointed in direction you think bird will come in from.

71. Turkeys are the largest upland game birds found in North America.

72. There are five sub-species: Eastern, Merriam's, Florida, Rio Grande,and Goulds.

73. Turkeys can fly 50 to 55 miles per hour.

74. Turkeys can run 25 miles per hour.

75. Turkeys have excellent eye sight and can spot movement quickly.

76. Turkeys have excellent hearing.

77. An adult turkey's wings can stretch to 55 inches.

78. A full grown gobbler can weigh over 20 pounds.

79. A full grown hen can weighs 10 to 14 pounds.

80. A turkey can raise his head higher than an average size man's belt buckle.

81. Gobblers begin growing a tuft of string like feathers at about 6 months of age.(beard)

82. Gobblers don't shead their beards. The tips do become worn.

83. Most adult gobblers have spurs.

84. Most turkey tracks over 4 and 1/2 inches long are gobblers.

85. Wild turkeys have a life span of up to 10 years, but the average is 3 years.

86. The restocking of the wild turkey has expanded its range.

87. There are turkey hunting seasons in over 40 states.

88. Turkeys roost anywhere there are trees large enough to hold them.

89. A hand movement or slight turn of the head can spook a turkey at over 100 yards.

90. Set up against a tree that is bigger than you are.

91. There are more hunting accidents involving turkey hunters every year. BE CAREFUL

92. Do not wear anything red, white, or blue. These colors resemble the colors on a gobbler.

93. Let other hunters know they are near you by coughing or asking " Is that you John?"

94. Don't harvest a turkey and let in spoil.

95. Pattern your shotgun. Know which size shot is best for your gun and at what range.

96. Always control the muzzle of your firearm.

97. Treat each firearm as if it was loaded.

98. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

99. Be sure barrel and action are clear of obstructions.

100. Unload firearms when not in use.

101. Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.

102. Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.

103. Never shoot at a flat hard surface or water.

104. Store firearms and ammunition seperately, out of the reach of children or careless adults.

105. Avoid alcohol and drugs before or during shooting.

106. Always get written permission to hunt on private land.

107. Let someone know where you will be hunting.


Turkey Hunting Ethics

When turkey hunting, don't get to the point where you have to harvest a bird by any means available. I know of hunters that think they have to kill a bird everyday that they go hunting. If everyone hunted like this it would not be long before there would be nothing left to hunt. The hunting resources we have today are because of good wildlife management practices, and the money that we as hunters spend on equipment and hunting licences. Just because you can call up a turkey, it doesn't make it right to shoot all of them you can. I know that when you start out you will want to harvest a few turkeys. There is nothing wrong with that. That is why we have hunting seasons and laws governing them. All I am trying to say is don't abuse the turkeys or the laws, by the way you conduct yourself while in the woods turkey hunting. I hope that in your turkey hunting you reach a point where hearing a turkey gobble is all it takes to have a satisfying hunt. I hope you reach a point where you can carry someone hunting that has never been before. I hope that you reach a point where you would rather carry a first timer, and call up a turkey for that person to harvest. I also hope that you will be blessed with a good population of huntable turkeys and that you do all you can to keep turkey hunting available to our future generations. I live in the state of Alabama. We are fortunate enough to have plenty of turkeys to hunt. We have an abundance of public land to hunt on. It has not always been this way. I can remember hunting seasons that you didn't hear more than one turkey gobble all year long. I remember when a turkey hunter would not talk to you about hunting, he was afraid you would learn his secrets and hunt his birds. I can remember a time when someone saw a gobblers track, and told about it, that everyone from two or three counties around you would hunt that one bird. We are indeed fortunate to have the turkey hunting resources that we have today. I am not against anyone killing a turkey. I believe in hunting. I am against unethical hunting practices. If you kill your limit of turkeys every year, I am 100% behind you. When you kill over your limit, hunt without a permit, or do any number of other things illegal or unethical, that is when I have a problem. Please put a high standard of hunting ethics on your self, and do everything that you can to abide by them.

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