Cleaning Your Wild Turkey

This video is about 9 minutes long and the young man has an easy style and quick way to clean a turkey.

He has accidently shot a young male (jake) and doesn’t want to go to the hassle of cleaning the whole bird because the jake is spindly (these drumsticks are really sticks!) and most of the meat available is in the breast area.



Notice how well this young man wields his knife … he looks like he’s done this a few dozen times!

Plus, he’s probably the only turkey hunter in America who worries about the left-over turkey feathers, besides my husband! ūüėČ


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Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm  Comments Off on Cleaning Your Wild¬†Turkey  

Talkin‚Äô Turkey: Video with Hunting Tips!

Sometimes the best info is that which you can see and hear!  Here are some excellent points by someone who has lots of experience (not me).

This video is just under 6 minutes & moves quickly through a lot of hints.  Enjoy!


Remember: If you got a turkey this season, be sure and post your info on


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Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 5:16 pm  Comments Off on Talkin‚Äô Turkey: Video with Hunting Tips!  
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Telling the World About Your Trophy: Turkey, Deer, Game!

Earlier today, I happened on a clever site and want to share it with you: AnchorPoint .  Use your iPhone to report on your trophy!

The World of Now

“No matter when your trophy was taken, you can add it to Anchorpoint

Another Application to Keep Your iPhone Busy!

anytime with Trophy Score on the iPhone,” according to the site.

I think they have a wonderful take on a person’s success: ¬†“We know you may not have a world record, but if it’s your personal best, then it’s a trophy to us. Trophy Score makes it easy to add your animal and Anchorpoint is the only place where you can see how it sizes up.”


They bill themselves as the world-wide, no minimum trophy room.  In the blog, they have clear directions for transferring your info to the Internet.

After reading the instructions, I feel secure that I could upload my info — which is saying something for a ‘new-fangled toy-hater,’ such as myself.

The iPhone even takes away the wear-and-tear on one’s psyche of doing the calculations to garner a score! ¬†Let the iPhone do it with:¬† “Calculate My Trophy Score.”

Safari Club International

This organization has approved the “Trophy Score” system for reporting successful hunts in:

  • aoudad,
  • cape buffalo,
  • six subspecies of caribou,
  • four subspecies of eland,
  • kudu,
  • deer,
  • pronghorn antelope and
  • four subspecies of turkey.

“Once scored, trophies are synchronized to the world‚Äôs only no-minimum record book at”

The Top Ten

Besides posting your latest success, this site also has a “Top Ten.” You can watch to see how long your hunting skill keeps you in the top ten of each type of game.


This is a clever use of a very expensive telephone. ¬†No one has to worry over writing long tales of how they caught the animal. ¬†All they want: “Just the facts, ma’am.”

The only downside: ¬†they didn’t offer a tree-rat category (AKA squirrels). ¬†Wouldn’t you know, the thing I excel in — and nobody wants to hear about it! ¬†ūüėČ

This looks like a young site, with room to grow. Check it out!


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Talkin’ Turkey: The Eastern Subspecies

The Eastern Wild Turkey

Photographs Cannot Capture the Beauty of These Birds!

Earlier, I mentioned that the Eastern looks like the turkey we saw on the walls of our first-grade classroom.  There is no way to describe the beauty of this bird.

From a distance, a tom appears black.  Hens seem to have lots of  bronze in their feathers.  However, when you see these turkeys up close, they have a kaleidoscope of colors:  blue, green, brown, bronze and black.

The Eastern is the most widely dispersed turkey in America.  He spends much of the year in a pine or hemlock tree, close to the top of a rise or a ridge.  As the weather heats up and breeding begins, the toms move from pines into hardwoods.

They particularly like to roost in trees close to (or bordering) open fields.  This is critical; they must have a clearing for their strut zone.

In the early part of the breeding season, they may not use the strut zone at all.  However, when the number of hens gets sparse, toms may jump from their roost straight to the strut zone.

The Eastern toms tend to stay in the same area for breeding as they claimed for their territory.  However,  hunting pressure may cause the turkeys to suddenly move to a totally new area!

Today, I want to mention 2 particular traits that hunters value:  the beard and the spurs.

Note the Beard Growing from the Chest!

The Beard

Toms start to grow beards at about 1 year of age.  However, the beard is not on his face, but half way down his chest.

Some males have 2 beards, while a few females have a beard! ¬†This beard continues to grow to between 10 and ¬†12 inches. ¬†Snow and rough terrain wear down the beard. ¬†The beard does not shed like feathers — it continues to grow.

FYI: Some areas have changed their hunting regulations to read “bearded birds only” instead of “male birds only.”

Spurs on Turkeys

Some hunters are more interested in the length of the spurs on toms than their weight. ¬†It’s another way to gauge age of the bird.

Eastern yearling jakes have a 1/4 inch node on the back side of their legs.  By the time a tom reaches 3 or 4 years, his spurs can be 1 and 1/2 inch in length.

These sharp claws are used for fighting … or gouging a careless hunter!


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Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 11:42 am  Comments (1)  
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Talkin’ Turkey: Behaviors During Breeding

Today, I have a couple of important things to tell you about breeding and how they affect a turkey hunter.


While the hens are feverishly building nests, laying eggs and breeding, the toms are sharpening their spurs, preening and strutting.

Remember, toms call the hens to them for breeding. ¬†Therefore, be cautious about which calls you use … and when.

A New Strategy for Late in Turkey Season!

Here’s a strategy for the closing weeks of ¬†turkey hunting season. ¬† By that time, most of the hens have mated and are setting.

The guys are hoping for more sex and they are searching for the remaining hens ready to breed.   This is a great time to use your caller, imitating a shy hen.

At the beginning of the mating season, toms are noisy — insisting hens come to them. ¬†By the end of the season, they are not so picky.

This might be a great time to use decoys.  You are looking for ways to distract the males from the fact you are there.

How Long are the Hens Fertile?

Once hens have bred, they stay fertile up to 8 weeks.   So what?

Let’s say a hen has bred in the early weeks of March, incubated and hatched her poults — and lost them due to predators or difficult weather.

During that 8 week window, hens can lay a new clutch of eggs and have another brood of poults by early June!

Of course, when the fun is over and new poults start hatching, the gobblers head for the hills!  They want no part of diapers and baby training.

At that point, the males get together and travel in flocks, leaving the hens and youngsters behind.

How Old is that Gobbler?

Jakes Have Longer Tail Feathers in the Center of the Main Fan; All the Tail Feathers of a Mature Tom are the Same Length.

A quick tip here:   Are you aware that young jakes have longer primary feathers in the center of their fan-shaped tails?

In fact that is a way to tell a mature tom from a young jake!

Nature is Amazing!

Biologists estimate that 1/2 of the young poults die because of  predators and bad weather or habitat.

Predators can kill entire nests of eggs and yet the hen can have a second clutch of eggs without re-breeding.

Nature is fascinating!


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Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm  Comments Off on Talkin’ Turkey: Behaviors During Breeding  
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Help! Where’s the Missing Article?

Dear Readers,

Folks are clicking on a page on my website with a broken link:

“Articles: Rear Window Decals – News You Can Use!>

This article does not exist.”

The article does exist.  This is obviously a broken link.

If you have been sent to this page with the error message, will you please tell me what page sent you to this message, so I can fix the link?

email = marylouise at


add it to a comments box on any page

Thanks in advance,


Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 12:29 am  Comments Off on Help! Where’s the Missing Article?  

Talkin’ Turkey: Density Patterns & Your Gun!

Last time, I didn’t get around to density patterns, chokes and other excitement.

Why Bother With Density Patterns?

Besides getting the shot to evenly scatter on a target, there’s an issue of figuring the percentage of shot that hits inside the circle. This is another way of making sure your gun will take down a turkey in one shot.

This huge bird has a very small area in the “kill zone” — a tiny brain and the cervical vertebra (spine). ¬†And gobblers won’t wait around for you to reload!

Anatomy of a Shell

If you do not kill the bird outright, he will run away and die elsewhere!  This is bad for a couple of reasons.

I hate to see any animal suffer and it is usually a huge expenditure of time to chase a wounded turkey.  I might also mention that it is usually wasted time; trying to find a wounded animal/bird is hard work and usually futile.

Computing Density

You need to know how many pellets are in each shell you have fired.  The graph below will help. Look on the label of the ammo box for the number of ounces of pellets in each shell.

Shot Size Pellets/Oz.

2                                                  87

4                                                135

5                                                170

6                                                225

7 1/2                                       350

BB                                               50

How This Works

Let’s use one of MDH’s * turkey load shot: ¬†Remington Mohawk Long Range #4 Shot ¬†(1.25 ozs.). Looking at the scale above, we know that #4 shot has 135 pellets/oz. ¬†135 x 1.25 ozs. = about 169 pellets.

If those #4 Shot Remingtons place 120 pellets in a 20 inch circle at 25 yards, then 70% of the shot were inside the circle, which is an acceptable range.  (120 pellets divided by 169 total pellets = about 71%)

Measuring a percentage is a good measure for comparisons. ¬†However, a dense, even pattern is more important — when you take a bead on a turkey!


* MDH = My Deer Husband, Richard


I know, I know: I promised the low-down on the Eastern Wild Turkey. ¬†I got bored after the other 4. ¬†I’ll get back to the Eastern soon.


Disclaimer: ¬†I’m the first to admit I don’t know all there is to know about hunting. ¬†I offer this info to Newbies — maybe I know a bit more than they do.

As with most activities, there’s more than one way to do things. ¬†This is a way that works for me. You may know a better, faster, less expensive way — and that’s great. ¬†Share your abilities!


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Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Talkin’ Turkey: Density Patterns & Your Gun!  
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Talkin’ Turkey: Is Your Shotgun Ready?

A year ago, I wrote an article addressing the issue of getting your weapon ready for turkey hunting season.  You may want to look at it too (clickable words).

Today, I want to talk about …

The Importance of Pattern

Turkeys Use Their Wings to Protect Themselves from Your Pellets; Think of Those Wings As Kevlar-Covered Protection!

There are 5 ‘turkey load’ ammo manufacturers: ¬†Federal, Remington and Winchester (the big boys), plus Activ and Fiocchi. ¬† Most hunters I know recommend #4, #5, #6 or even #7 and 1/2.

However, it isn’t really about the brand or the pellet size. ¬†A hunter needs to study ¬†the pattern and range of the ammo.

Remember, the turkey has one of the smallest ‘killing zones’ — specifically the brain, head and neck. ¬†A turkey’s brain is the size of a walnut!

Thus, you need to make sure that your shotgun blast has an even scatter, with no large holes (blank areas where no shot strikes).  If the shot pattern is too widely dispersed, on the other hand, you can lose a turkey if only a pellet or two hits the neck area.

If you are hoping to “wing” a gobbler, forget it. ¬†Most pellets bounce off of the wings. The best you can hope for: ¬†If you can match his 15 mph running speed, you can hear him curse you as he runs!

Checking Your Shotgun’s Pattern

Is the Pattern Evenly Dense, or Are There Holes and/or Thin Areas?

You will need 30″ square paper targets (purchased or home-made), a safe place to shoot, your gun and ammo.

Finding a good ammo pattern is largely one of trial-and-error.

One of the smart hunters I know suggests that a hunter place the target out

  • 25 yards for a 20 gauge,
  • 35 yards for a 12 gauge, and
  • 40 yards fo a 10.

After getting a satisfactory scatter at that distance, move back 5 yards and repeat.

If the pattern isn’t what you need, try a different shot size or brand.

Other Problems & Solutions

What if the pattern is OK but the pattern is too low or too far to a side?  Correct your aim or you may need to adjust your sighting or scope.

This is starting to sound expensive.  Is there a short-cut?  If you have turkey hunting friends, ask about their gun and ammo.

The bad news is, even if he/she has the same gun, don’t be surprised if your gun creates a better pattern with another size or brand of ammo. ¬†However, this will give you and idea of where to start.

Next time:  More about your gun!


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Talkin’ Turkey: The Rio Grande & Merriam’s Subspecies

Since the Eastern Wild Turkey’s habitat is the largest and they are the bird you are most likely to see, I’ll be comparing the 2 today to the Eastern. ¬†Next time, I’ll spend time with tips for hunting the Eastern.

By explaining them in reverse order, this gives the reader an opportunity to scratch their head and say, “What was she thinking?”

Rio Grande Wild Turkeys

Rios are Turkeys for the Desert & Dry, Open Areas!

Looking at a bearded Rio from the side, or above, he looks almost like polished copper. ¬†It’s great camouflage for hiding in his habitat — sun-soaked desert areas.

How can you find Rios?  They need food, water to drink and live oaks for roosting.

Where there are no live oaks, check out the cottonwoods, sycamores and hackberries.

Their strut zones can be anywhere in the open country where Rios live.  One distinctive thing about the Rios has to do with traveling.

After they leave their roost in the morning, they may travel a long distance before settling again.  If you recall, in Just How Much Land Do Turkeys Need, I made the point that turkeys are not migratory.

However, in the huge expanses of dry, arid land of Texas, Rios may need to travel larger distances to find sufficient food for the members of the group.

Merriam’s Wild Turkey

Merriam's are Distinctive: Tipped White Tail Feathers & More Black Feathers Instead of Brown

Often called Rocky Mountain turkeys because of their habitat, these gobblers prefer to roost in ponderosa pines (in canyons), near creek beds. On the eastern edge of their habitat, where there are no pines, the gobblers roost in hardwoods.

Unique Features of the Merriam’s Turkey

Merriam’s prefer acorns, but there are few oaks in their range. ¬†If you see, however, ¬†a small oak, known as the Gambel — Merriam’s turkeys will try to use these smallish tree for food and roosting.

Merriam’s hens also are drawn to Gambel oaks. ¬†They use these trees for nesting areas and food. ¬†Since the hens are in the oaks, toms will likely be there too.

Traveling in good-sized, mixed groups (hens, jakes, toms and jennys) is a pattern of the Merriam’s. Unlike the Eastern turkey, these Rocky Mountain turkeys tend to find a new roost each night.


Next Time: the Eastern Wild Turkey Subspecies


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The Fascinating Osceola and Gould’s Wild Turkeys

Osceola Wild Turkeys

These Beauties Hang Out with Alligators, Water Moccasins, Mosquitoes and Diamondback Rattlers!

Of all the subspecies ¬†these are thought to be the most beautiful. ¬†They have more golden and green body feathers. ¬†Perhaps because Osceola’s call the Florida swamps ‘home,’ their legs, spurs, tails and beards are longer than average. ‘Pure’ Osceola’s only live in southern Florida. ¬†Because Eastern wild turkeys also live in Florida, some biologists consider all the turkeys as hybrids and refer to them as “the Florida subspecies.”

What Makes the Osceola Unique

These birds prefer to roost over water in cypress trees. ¬†Their habitat includes hardwood swamps, palmetto grass lands and live oaks. When gobblers want to strut their stuff, they fly to dry land near their roosts. ¬†Because of the difficult habitat of Osceola’s, non-natives find hunting these beautiful birds difficult, dangerous * and expensive.

Gould’s Wild Turkey

We know little about this subspecies other than it is the same species as our

Efforts to Introduce Gould's into Arid Areas of the US Have Been Hampered for 3 Reasons!

domestic turkey. Although the largest of 5 turkey types, Gould’s have the smallest numbers.

What Makes the Gould’s Unique

These turkeys live mostly in the dry Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.  A few are found in extreme southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

Biologists tell us that Gould’s habits are more like Merriam’s than any of the others. ¬†Because of where they live, Gould’s are viewed as ¬†more wild and secretive.

Moving Gould’s Into the US

Because the US has large tracts of land too arid for Merriam’s, they have worked with the Mexican government to move more Gould’s into the US. ¬†However, this plan has been slow, at best.

First, Gould’s thrive in extremely remote regions of Mexican mountains. ¬†Second, there’s the age-old problem of 2 governments working together.

The US requires a quarantine of these birds and captured wild birds do not respond well to quarantine.

Finally, the US government wants to introduce these birds to areas free of other subspecies, so the Gould’s can grow a “pure” population.


* Dangerous — Osceola’s live amongst¬†alligators, water moccasins, mosquitoes and diamondback rattlers! ¬†Under certain conditions, all 4 can be lethal. ¬†ūüėČ


Next Time: More on the 5 Turkey Subspecies


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Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 6:04 am  Comments (1)  
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