Turkey Hunting: The Most Dangerous Shooting Sport in America!

You may have heard that turkey hunting is very dangerous;  it’s true.   The goal of this posting is to remind you of the worst dangers.

Believe it or not, the gobbler has a daily routine. If you can figure it out, you can find a place to take advantage of his routine!

How Can Turkey Hunting be Dangerous?

Let me count the ways …. First, hunting on public lands, by its nature is more dangerous than hunting on private lands.

There are more people (probably unknown to each other) holding loaded weapons at the same time, in the same area.

Being dressed in full camo often restricts your line-of-sight.

While concentrating on our quarry, we often lose sight of what is around us.

Hunting Behaviors that Can Cause an Accident

  • Stalking turkeys, instead of calling them to you
  • Trying to ‘drive’ turkeys, as if they were deer
  • Shooting at any part of a turkey, other than the turkey’s neck or head
  • Wearing red, white or blue
  • Not knowing where other hunters are
  • Not knowing what is beyond your next shot
  • Not knowing what is between you and your next shot

An Explanation

Stalking a Turkey: The gobbler you are stalking may turn out to be another hunter with a gun aimed at you!  Or, another hunter could be watching the turkey you are stalking – and shoot you!

‘Driving’ a Turkey: Turkeys don’t respond well to this kind of pressure; few bag a turkey in this way.  However, the chances of becoming involved in a shooting are great.  Call the turkey to you.

Aim for the Gobbler’s Head or Neck: Gobblers are big and hard to kill. Know the killing zone of a turkey:  the head or neck!

Wearing Red, White or Blue: Dress like a turkey & you could be shot — instead of the turkey!

Biologists tell us that turkeys and deer are color-blind for the colors red & green. That is why you can wear blaze orange and not worry about detection.

If turkeys see you and you are in orange, they are aware of your movement, not the color!

Not Knowing Where Other Hunters Are: Things change — owners sell their property to new folks … hunters try new areas … people forget.

Not Knowing What is Beyond the Shot You’re About to Make: While hunting, you are your brother’s keeper! If we don’t watch for each other, we can create a tragic accident!

Not Knowing What is Between You and Your Next Shot: Same explanation as above!

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Tomorrow: Some Truths About Turkey Hunting

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‘1999 Minnesota Turkeys’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments Off on Turkey Hunting: The Most Dangerous Shooting Sport in America!  
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Yikes! Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make

Calling Toms from Too Great a Distance

Don’t let a gobbler’s wings fool you:  He isn’t interested in going great distances to find a hen.

A Turkey's Brain is the Size of a Walnut ... and He Uses Every Cell of His Smarts to Stay Alive!

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If he’s grazing on public land (where there are plenty of hunters), gobblers get smart quickly — or some hunter takes him home for dinner!  They learn that moving long distances to a calling hen is not a smart plan.

Women’s Lib vs. Turkeys

The women’s liberation movement hasn’t taken hold in the turkey kingdom.  Yep, toms STILL expect hens to come to them for mating!  What an idea!

While Hens Are Preparing Their Nests …

The boys are tuning their voices, dusting off their spurs and arranging their feathers for fullest effect.  A roving Romeo’s work is never done!

The sound of gobbling fills the air as the males are calling the hens to them for mating.  Although the dominant male mates most, the other gobblers scurry around to find receptive females while the dominant male is busy.

As the mating season progresses, the calls get more strident and insistent – as more hens leave for their nests and the incubation period (26 to 28 days).

Gobbling starts as soon as daylight starts to appear, while turkeys are still in their roosts.  Once the gobblers hit the ground, they start calling hens in earnest.  This calling continues until the warmest hours of the day.

What is ‘Too Long’ a Distance for Calling Gobblers?

Generally, toms aren’t going to travel 150 yards — or more — to breed with a hen.  And some of the reasons they will reject the distance may surprise you!

If you have done your preseason work, you know what lies between you and the gobbler you want to call.

Toms often do not want to cross an obstacle — a ditch, some fencing (you can’t see) or even a slow-moving brook.

Overcoming a Tom’s Reluctance

If you can’t get the gobbler to come to you, you need to go to the tom.  Before you start calling the turkey, get about 50 yards away from him.

Use thick vegetation and terrain to hide your movements.  Sometimes, it may take as long as 2 or 3 hours to maneuver yourself into a good place to start calling!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 12:05 am  Comments Off on Yikes! Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make  
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Mistake # 10 That Turkey Hunters Make

When Ya Gotta Itch or Swat at Flies

There’s nothing worse than needing to scratch or swat at flies.

Gobblers are Always on the Lookout for Movement!

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In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned that turkeys are looking for movement.  Biologists have proven that turkeys are not startled by bright colors — ONLY COLORS THAT MOVE!

They’ve placed bright objects in front of these big birds. In one test, they put bright orange hats on turkey decoys. Turkeys strolled among them with no concern — unless the orange hats moved!

Biologists theorize that bright colors abound in a turkey’s world. Turkeys are used to random brights and darks in their habitat. They are only troubled by movement — not the colors.

What do You do When You Need to Move?

There comes a time when we need to scratch or chase away flies.  Since we know that toms are watching for movement, what is the best way to handle this problem?

Using your whole hand is a dead give-away.  Thus, successful hunters tell me that they only use 2 fingers to swat or itch.  There is less movement to notice.

Immediately afterwards, brush your shirt sleeve against a tree – to imitate the sound of a turkey’s wings brushing against the side of a tree (as he walks past a tree).

Remember

When you make a  sound or movement that is unusual, be sure to cover it with a sound or movement that a turkey would use.

When a turkey sees or hears something that is not right — you must allay his fears by making a turkey sound or movement.  When he cannot calm his alarm immediately, he leaves!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 12:25 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 10 That Turkey Hunters Make  
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Mistake # 9 That Turkey Hunters Make

Calling Gobblers Too Much

We don’t really realize that we are over calling until  a tom comes within 55 or 60 yards and refuses to come closer.  How can you salvage the situation?

The two times turkeys “gobble-gobble” most are – during spring mating season and when the hens start their nesting. Most of the breeding is finished by the time the hens start nesting; but big gobblers become more aggressive and try to find the remaining receptive females. Gobbling starts as soon as daylight starts to appear, while turkeys are still in their roosts. Once the gobblers hit the ground, they start calling hens in earnest. This calling continues until the warmest hours of the day. Biologists believe that the midmorning hours are when most mating occurs. Weeks before this takes place, hens start looking for a nesting place (usually on the ground). They prepare the spot and start to roost nearby. It takes the hens 10 to 15 days to lay the clutch (group) of eggs. She feeds before and after laying. If, while she is feeding, the nest is attacked and destroyed, she will breed again while creating a nest in another place. It takes about 26 to 28 days for the poults to emerge.

Something to Try

If the tom can’t see you: Wait until he makes a move so you change your hiding spot and use a different caller.

His reluctance to come closer indicates that you have done something that has put him on alert.  If you were using a slate caller, change to a diaphragm or box caller.

If you can’t move: Wait until the tom walks away.  Now, make a very large circle and try to get in front of the gobbler again.  Try a different caller.

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‘Turkey Dream’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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You noticed too?

A word about my graphic images.  Stealing images has become such a problem online that graphics manufacturers are putting water marks all over their images.  These marks are only on images used online; purchased graphics are perfect!

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There are two ways to get a FREE subscription: Subscription button for feeds (top of right column) or Subscription link to get my postings via email (The “Sign Me Up” box, on the upper, right column).

Although these postings/articles are PRICELESS, I’m making them available to YOU for nada (also known as: zip, zilch, zero). Can you really afford to miss out on this opportunity?

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Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 5:20 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 9 That Turkey Hunters Make  
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Mistake # 8 That Turkey Hunters Make

Spooking a Gobbler

Well you’ve done it now!  You have spooked the tom you were calling.

What do you do?

If you hear a responding call or leaf rustling behind you; this is no time to turn around! Turkeys are watching for movement. If you stay frozen in place until you have a chance at a shot, you have a small chance of getting the gobbler. Remember: You are part of the scenery – until you shoot.

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Remember

The sound of a spooked tom is the same as an excited one — beating his wings, fast clucking * and racing around in the leaves.

If you spook a gobbler, cackle at him and call excitedly.  Even if you flush your gobbler, cut and cackle to him.  Continue your excited sounds.

Well, How Does THAT Help?

Even if your intended gobbler abandons you by flying off, other gobblers in the area may misinterpret what is going on with you two.

With the excited calling, they may think the gobbler is flying towards the sounds, not away.

Your goal it to mask the scared sounds with excited sounds so the other gobblers in the area will come toward you and your hiding place!

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* “fast clucking” – This underlined phrase will take you to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s website where you can hear and practice various wild turkey calls.

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‘On the Move’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

~

You noticed too?

A word about my graphic images.  Stealing images has become such a problem online that graphics manufacturers are putting water marks all over their images.  These marks are only on images used online; purchased graphics are perfect!

~

There are two ways to get a FREE subscription: Subscription button for feeds (top of right column) or Subscription link to get my postings via email (The “Sign Me Up” box, on the upper, right column).

Although these postings/articles are PRICELESS, I’m making them available to YOU for nada (also known as: zip, zilch, zero). Can you really afford to miss out on this opportunity?

§

This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 8 That Turkey Hunters Make  
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The 3rd Mistake Turkey Hunters Make

This is an ongoing series on mistakes turkey hunters make — and how to correct them.  Today’s is a problem we have all faced at one time or another….

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! Have you checked your shotgun's scatter pattern yet?

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When a Turkey Catches You in a Bad Position

The first inkling that you have that a turkey is close, is his gobble-gobble-gobble.  Suddenly, your realize you are about 40 yards from a big tom.

When this close, only give soft purrs. *  Rub your shirt against a tree, to copy the sound of a hen brushing against a tree as she is feeding.

Scratch the leaves and ground lightly — to sound like a hen scratching for food.

When the Turkey is Gobbling from his Roost

In this situation, you will want the gobbler to come to you from his roost.  Never shoot a turkey out of his roost.  The entire herd will immediately vacate the area. They may move miles away.

You can know where the roost is, just don’t shoot into it.  Your goal is to get the gobbler out of his roost and on the ground.

This is the time to call aggressively, using the cluck. ** Effective use of the cluck will hopefully bring the tom flying down from his roost, looking for that waiting hen.

Let the Turkey Tom Be Your Guide

If the tom is close and only calling a little, you do the same.  Purr softly, scratch the ground, rub against a tree.

If he doesn’t respond in 15 to 20 minutes, try more aggressive behavior.  Get some serious clucking going.  You want him to think he’s the only one NOT at the party!

Hopefully, curiosity will overcome his natural skittishness, so you can get a shot!

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* Listen to the purr audio on this page, so you can perfect yours!

** Practice the cluck sound (first one in the list), so you can assure the gobbler that you are a hen waiting just for him.

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Next time: Another Mistake Hunters Make While  Trying to Snag a Turkey!

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“On the Move” used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 7:25 am  Comments Off on The 3rd Mistake Turkey Hunters Make  
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