Next time you head for the turkey woods, take some wings with you—not the BBQ kind, but a real turkey wing from a past successful hunt. Wings have been used for a long time by turkey hunters to make a flapping sound as they do fly-down calls, but here is another way you can use them. Set up within about 100 yards of a roosted gobbler and gently tap and scrape your wing against a tree as you yelp and cluck. That sounds to the gobbler like a hen stirring and preening on her roost limb as she begins to…
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Are you taking a child on their first turkey hunt this year? Make sure they have a shotgun that fits. Buy a youth model or trim the stock of a full-size gun. A 20-gauge shotgun is best for most younger kids and will take a turkey with good shot placement. Before you take a youngster on an actual hunt, be sure and teach them safe gun handling. Show them how to pattern the shotgun and let them practice shooting. During the turkey hunt, place them tightly by your side or inside your knees. Help them align the shotgun on the…
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With the turkey population at an all-time high across America, you have a pretty good chance of coming across a dominant gobbler traveling with hens, jakes, and subordinate gobblers. Even though it’s next to impossible to call the boss away from the flock, it can be pretty easy to call the flock’s subordinate gobblers into range. Subordinates are usually 2-year-old birds that have gotten beat up by the boss a few times. Because they don’t want to upset the boss again, they rarely gobble but do yelp and cluck to keep track of the flock. Whenever you hear a gobbler…
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If you want to be a good turkey hunter, you need to learn good woodsmanship. It’s as important, or maybe more so, than being a good caller. Woodmanship skills will help you entice a gobbler to an area where he is more likely to go. Being a good woodsman means learning to identify turkey hotspots such as where they roost, water, feed, and their different strutting areas. Finding the roost is your first step to success. Finding where they water and feed will certainly come in handy, too, but always remember, a gobbler usually doesn’t move far from his strut…
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One of the most important items turkey hunters can own is a good turkey vest. Turkey vests are important in helping to keep your gear organized and accessible. Most come with a variety of pockets designed for calls, strikers, extra shells, a face mask, gloves, binoculars, rangefinders, a knife, and even a snack in case you get hungry. Some even have attachment systems that keep everything you need within easy reach to minimize movemen. Large pouch pockets in back work great for decoys, stakes, and even a monster gobbler. My favorite turkey vest has a built-in seat with back support…
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Remember when planning your spring turkey hunting tactics that you’ll be sitting down on the job. That means you should step off distances and find maximum range markers when possible before taking a seat. Your judging skills will be poorer from the lower position and these measured and marks can tell you when a gobbler is in range. Sometimes, you’ll be shooting a walking bird from a sitting position, too, and that’s a big switch for hunters used to swinging on upland game or waterfowl. You need to practice shooting sitting down and looking down with the barrel at a…
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Sleet and snow stung my face. A foot of powder covered the ground and the wind whipped through the spruce forest.  For a moment I let my thoughts drift to the low country, where spring was on its way.  Here at 4,500 feet, however, winter showed no sign of retreat. The bay of hounds suddenly reminded my frigid fingers why we were there. I was accompanying Bob Beahm, former school principal turned hunting guide, and his skilled beagles on a hunt for snowshoe hares. The dogs were hot on the trail of a bounding white rabbit, and their howls were…
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Feral hogs have now invaded at least 39 states, including Hawaii, and four Canadian provinces. So, how do you know if pesky pigs have staked claim to your neck of the woods? Here are four surefire signs of hog activity: Tracking Down a Hog Infestation      Hog tracks  Deer tracks As with any big game, the first sign of activity is often tracks. While deer and hog tracks share a few similarities, the differences are easy to spot. Hog tracks are generally rounded, whereas deer tracks are more pointed—even spade like. If a hog’s dew claws are noticeable, they…
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After enduring months of hunting pressure on sprawling lakes, bays and sounds, there’s nothing a late-season duck wants more than a quiet, secluded spot to hide out. Small, neglected potholes and ponds are magnets for January ducks and hotspots for the hunter who takes the time to locate these gems. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there’s a pond within ten miles of 80 percent of the U.S. population. You can locate these mini-duck habitats in several ways. Simply driving backcountry roads and stopping to talk with farmers or mail carriers can yield great results. Topographic maps and Google…
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Some of the best meals I’ve ever had were at hunting camp.  Whether we have the luxury of a full kitchen or are working directly over a hot fire, there’s something special about the aroma of a good meal after a long day in the field.  Indulging in a hearty second helping may be permissible on a weekend hunt, but my calendar calls for a little more self-control. My work schedule entails being on the road filming and hunting for 200+ days of the year, which requires finding ways to stay fit and healthy in a world where diet can…
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