Saturday, April 9, 2011

Countdown To The Hunt

I somehow made it through the first week of turkey season without going completely insane from being at the house. It's probably due to Matt coming over twice to give me a chance to hang out in the garage and have some relaxation. We fixed a cheap fishing real that bound up on me last season, fine tuned a slate call, and hung a couple of racks and skins that I have on the walls. I'll see if I can get some pictures up of the trophies final resting place.

We are trying to find our target day for next week. I have a feeling the answer will simply be, ASAP. The weather seems decent with highs in the mid-70's and lows in the 50's. My main concern is the wind. Wednesday there will be a south wind at 20+ mph. Thursday and Friday the wind switches to the north at 15mph. This may impact us a bit more than we anticipate, but that is why we are ready to run-n-gun these toms if need be.

Being on public land and hunting an animal that is incredibly vocal, such as the turkey, can be rather dangerous as not only are the birds zeroing in on your position via the calling, but other hunters can too. Matt and I have chosen to start off using my pop-up blind to not only assist us in hiding our movement as we try and record the hunt, but also to allow other hunters to recognize that there is a blind there and not just a sound, hence protecting us should we not see them approach. One thing that I like to do while hunting on the ground is to take some of my trail marking ribbon and place it about 15 yards to the side of my blind/setup at about 9 inches in length. This not only assists with using my bow, but will attract the attention of another hunter far enough away from where I am to keep my safety a priority. If you are worried about animals keying in on the ribbon flailing in the wind, it's not as big of a problem as you think. If the animal spots the ribbon and focuses on it, that gives you more liberty to prepare for your shot, especially if a tom sneaks up on you and you're busy picking your nose.

Another note for safety is to never gobble, not even to tempt a tom in closer. If you can't get the tom in with clucks, purrs, cuts, etc. then there is no need to risk drawing other hunters to you, especially if you are using a decoy. I have seen plenty of articles lately on decoy placement, never leave home without your decoy, swear by your decoy. All these are great info, but mostly geared to those individuals who happen to be blessed with private land access. Decoys can function quite well on public land, but use them with caution. Do not place them less than 15 yards from where you are located, you don't want another guy's pot-shot hitting you. Also, place the decoys away from where someone would typically sneak into your area. If you used a well marked path, place the turkeys further beyond your setup than you originally would think to. For example, if you walked in on a trail to a small field, and you intend to hunt the exact opposite side of the field, do not make a beeline across, setting your decoys up, and sitting directly beyond them. Instead, set the decoys where you are wanting to ambush the toms, but angle yourself at least 45 degrees to the left or right when looking at the decoys from the original path you walked in on.

Hopefully several of you have already been successful in harvesting birds this season. We'll try to get some pictures up of our adventures soon.

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