MYTHS AND TRUTHS OF SHOOTING BIG GAME

This is a very difficult subject for many people because of the lack of information as well as the myriad of misinformation among hunters, both young and old! I will now explode some of the deep-rooted myths that are very common in hunter lore and enlighten you with some facts that will assist you in making your shot count.

First and foremost, you must make an effective shot. Do I need to say this again? I most certainly do; it is human nature to try and make the shot under difficult conditions. Inexperienced hunters can rush a shot if they feel pressured by the situation, their peers or circumstances beyond their capabilities. In all cases before shooting, take the few seconds you need to evaluate the likelihood of success. The decision not to shoot when there is a possibility of wounding or of non-retrieval is not only the honorable choice, but the ethical one as well.

Practice with your firearm or bow is the only way to become proficient and to learn your effective range. Anyone who brags about their shooting prowess and does not shoot on a regular basis is only deluding themselves and not impressing me or anyone else with their words. A couple of arrows or slugs fired downrange the day before the hunt is not practice; consistency and repetition is the only way to establish accuracy. When you do practice, use the equipment that you would use in the field when hunting; wear your hunting coat, hat and boots so you will know what to expect when you shoulder your gun or draw your bow.

A common practice or myth among hunters is that a gun once sighted in will shoot all ammunition the same or close enough for hunting– wrong. Shooting and sighting in your firearm with inexpensive ammo to save money is counterproductive. Cheap ammo will not perform the same nor will it have the same point of impact; often the difference can be measured in feet, not inches. All your practice has been wasted because you do not know how your gun performs, where to aim at different distances or what to expect for recoil. Save your money and do it right the first time, become adept with the equipment and ammunition that will work the best for the game you are seeking.

Now that you have practiced and are confident and out in the field ready to take a shot at big game, there are some other misconceptions to be aware of. A well-entrenched myth is the ‘Head Shot’ and this particular fallacy frustrates and angers me more than any other. Head and neck shots are low percentage shots promoted wholly by egotists who are completely ignorant of big game anatomy. I call them ‘headshot heroes’ and these uneducated braggarts should be stripped of their hunting license and forced to take the hunting course again! Head and neck shots are more likely to wound the animal and cause unnecessary suffering or a lingering death.

During a past deer season my hunting partners and I witnessed an adult buck in a field with no bottom jaw, likely wounded by a ‘headshot hero’. Being both angered and saddened by this pitiful scene we quickly decided that we could not walk away and took the only ethical action. It took us two full days to secure permission for the property and some serious and determined hunting to find that animal and end its suffering. Please make the ethical decision and make an effective shot that gives the animal the respect it deserves. If you pass on the low percentage shots or those that you are not completely confident with, you will get another chance, I guarantee it. For the record, an ‘effective shot’ means targeting the lungs and waiting for the lead leg to move forward so the vitals are exposed. If you have a broadside profile or the animal is quartering away from you, this is your ideal target zone. There are certainly other trajectories from which you could make an effective shot, but they are for the practiced shooter with the experience needed to accurately assess their likelihood of success.

Shooting at running game with a rifle or slug-gun is for the most experienced hunters and one of the hardest skills to practice and master. Grunt or bleat to try and stop a moving deer, bark like a dog to stop a running coyote, and a deep cow bleat may turn that bull moose around. With a bow a running shot is out of the question for all of us except the archery gods, so just wait for the standing shots please. Many of us hunt with rifles and dogs for deer and I can tell you with certainty that the ‘spray and pray’ method is not going to put venison in the freezer. Shooting through bush or vegetation is one of the most ineffective exercises for killing big game, as any brush even a twig or grass can deflect the bullet and create a miss or even worse, wound the animal.

Pick your shooting position carefully where you have a clear and unobstructed view within your effective range. A spot where the animal must hesitate, like a stream crossing or a fallen tree or turn in the trail, is always preferred to a large open area where it can run flat out. If you are on a stand with dogs running game or during a deer drive, plan for every possible shot. Look for the openings where the deer will appear and use the open shooting lanes with no vegetation or trees to deflect or block your shot. Try and stop the deer with a bleat or grunt; if it won’t stop and is moving slowly enough hold on the front of the vitals swing with the deer and remember to follow through. Tree stands are very effective when still hunting but position them with care and forethought; make sure you can shoot safely, that your shooting lanes are clear and within your effective range. You should always practice shooting from your tree stand with bows or firearms; shooting from a sitting position or a small platform 15 feet off the ground is not easy. Remember that you must aim higher on the animal to hit the vitals when shooting from above. Most importantly, use a safety harness when hunting from tree stands!

Another pet peeve of mine is buckshot; it should not be used on big game, period. Ontario is one of the last jurisdictions in North America where buckshot is still legal for big game; this should tell you something, shouldn’t it? The real effective range of buckshot is about 25 yards and if you can’t hit a deer with a slug at 25 yards I suggest you quit hunting and take up badminton. Why would you fill an animal with 9 to 35 lead pellets that have minimal penetrating power (your butcher will have an opinion on this, I am sure) and take the chance of losing it or wounding it when you can kill it cleanly with a slug? I hear some uneducated hunters brag that every deer they have killed with buckshot has gone right down… My answer is that those deer are the only ones that they have ever found and undoubtedly from one lucky pellet that struck a vital area by chance! What about the other animals that they shot at, that ran away wounded and were not retrieved due to that hunter’s ignorance? Do you suppose they had on bulletproof vests or that they lived to a ripe old age after surgery performed by the magical elf triage team?

Another myth propagated by the uninformed is that a perfect shot in the vitals will put an animal right down or down quickly and that there will be blood or some other sign if an animal is hit. These are both blatantly wrong and have caused the loss of many animals by uninformed hunters. I know of some veteran hunters who have convinced others they have missed big game animals and cause them to cease searching for the animal by conveying this negligent notion. I have gone in with the shooter after the fact and helped them find the animal on several occasions in my career and this simply should not happen. The truth is most animals do not go down at the shot and many go a lot farther than you would expect before expiring. Not only do they act like they have not been hit and run away, but more often than not there is a minimal or non-existent blood trail to follow.

“Wait a minute,” you are saying to yourself, “how could there be little or no blood if I just made a perfect shot through the vitals?” Think about this: if you hit the lungs with a slug or a bullet they will cease to function; can you breathe after a blow to the chest? And the same thing applies to the heart whereas any violent shock or damage close by will interrupt the electrical impulses necessary for it to pump. So if the lungs and the heart are not working there is no blood pressure or breathing. The only way the blood can exit the animal is through the entrance and exit hole. But the skin and musculature are separate and can move along with all the membranes inside and around the various vital organs. As soon as the animal is hit and takes a step, the holes through these various membranes will no longer line up and therefore little or no blood can escape from the body cavity. Most of the blood from the animal is actually trapped inside the animal and very little will drip from the wound unless a major artery is damaged or if the heart remains beating. It also takes time for any blood to travel from the mid section down the hide and hit the ground.

Now that we have abolished that myth, what should we do to help put that animal down quickly? A well-shot animal hit in a vital area is much easier to retrieve. So first and foremost you must finish your shot; what I mean is to follow through and shoot again if it is necessary. If the animal is on its feet, finish what you started shoot it again; if it falls and gets up, shoot it again. If it runs and it is safe to shoot then do that and keep shooting it until it is no longer safe, out of range or you have no effective shot available.

Which brings me to another pet peeve of mine that is the ‘shot admirer’: the hunter who takes just one shot and then watches to see what the animal does. Often they believe they have made a good shot and are waiting for it to fall, or they succumb to ‘Buck Fever’ and forget to shoot again. Focus on the shot and then the surrounding details, watch where the animal is when you shoot first and where it was when you last saw it. Listen for the sound of the animal falling– it will be loud, as a deer running and expiring will crash to the ground violently. Advance carefully and see to your own safety as you unload your firearm and climb from your tree stand, blind or shooting position.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this post and come to understand the Truths and Myths that I have over the years. The reward of a well placed shot and successful harvest of your big game animal is an experience you will never forget. But as I have previously indicated sometimes that reward can only be realized by your determination and tracking skills. I hope you will take the time to read my next post entitled ‘Tracking Big Game’.

Finding and Fostering Places to Hunt.

Landowners and the Hunter.

Many of our readers are just beginning their hunting careers and are seeking a place to hunt while many others are now moving to rural areas and purchasing properties to live and/or hunt on. This seems like a simple thing to do but it can be difficult at the least and completely disappointing at the most. Landowner permission is becoming more and more difficult to achieve as large farming operations, aggregate companies and other corporations buy up vast acreages. Unfortunately the small farming operation or family farm is disappearing and people moving from big cities and urban areas are buying many of these farms as retirement and family homes. Quite often these new inhabitants do not understand hunting and the traditional rural lifestyle and many are simply afraid of hunting and of guns in particular. As such, I wanted to discuss the problems you might encounter in these situations and how to properly find and maintain properties for you to hunt and enjoy.

Going door to door and asking for permission to hunt can be daunting but it can also be effective if you prepare and do your homework. First, look for an area that suits your needs and has the type of geography necessary for the game you want to hunt. For instance are you seeking a swamp to hunt ducks or an area of agriculture and forest to hunt deer? Driving around and looking at areas from the road can be time-consuming and expensive so using alternative search methods should be your first priority. Maps indicating areas of Crown Land are available from your local MNR office and these can be a big help as no permission is required in many of these areas. Google maps can also be a valuable source of information and provide more detail on specific areas. Whether you are looking at Crown land or narrowing down your search for private areas, Google maps has both road and satellite views that can really help you see the geography and details of properties of interest to you. Once you have identified areas of interest seek as much information about them as you can. You should check with the Township office in that area, either on the Internet or by phoning them for information on by-laws, and municipal and provincial hunting areas that may exist in their jurisdiction. Your local gun store and shooting clubs can also be a great place to do some networking and you will often find like people willing to take you hunting, or assist you in brokering a seasonal hunting lot.

After your diligent research and narrowing down your possibilities you have to do some driving. Pulling randomly into a stranger’s driveway to ask permission to hunt can be a bad experience if you don’t put some forethought into your approach. First and foremost you should have insurance and proof thereof. There are a few good insurers out there and I would recommend the Canadian Firearms Institute and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters as your best options. This insurance protects both you and the landowner should an accident happen while you are hunting and shooting. Your insurance card lets a land owner know that you are insured and will not be a liability when hunting on their property. Carry it with you and show it to the landowner when the time is right.

Remember also that appearance is everything and how you present yourself will determine your first impression on anyone. Dress casually but clean and neat, a suit and tie makes you look like a salesman, while camouflage clothing make you look like a redneck to many people. Also, avoid hats on sideways or oversized clothing….at the very least pull up your pants. By no means am I trying to be the fashion police, I simply have a lot of experience with rural people and can tell you straight-up, that “gangsta” clothing brands (Roca-wear, G-Unit, etc) are a no-go from word go. Another good tip is to present landowners with your personal information right away. I have a business card that I use and those of you that don’t can print a simple card on your computer with your name and address and all your contact numbers on it. This lets a landowner know that you have nothing to hide, where you live and how to get in contact with you.

When should you do your door-to-door searching? Never early in the morning, Farmers are busy at this time of the day and rural people that work in the city are either sleeping in on the weekend or at work during the week. Midday on a Saturday is a good bet and early summer is the best time of the year to find people at home, after dinner can also be acceptable if you see people around the property not having dinner. Be polite and introduce yourself, if a child answers ask for a parent, if a woman answers the door ask who can you talk to about the property and access? Often they will get the husband or father in this situation but in a changing world you may just as easily be talking to the woman of the house. If a man or woman answers the door offer your hand in a relaxed handshake, this universal gesture of respect is still very important in rural culture. Don’t crush them with your grip either, this will not ingratiate you to him and if he/she is a working farmer you likely won’t win this ridiculous contest anyway! Tell him straight away where you live who you know in the area and who you have already talked to, especially his neighbors. Full-disclosure is important because neighbors will talk and they will talk about you. Explain that you are a hunter and what you intend to hunt, farmers understand why you hunt already but want to know what, when and how you intend to hunt. Many other landowners may not know why you are hunting and quite often a brief explanation of management and conservation of game is warranted. Farmers and landowners often have pets and livestock and a discussion about coyotes, bears and other predators may be helpful to win them over.

A word of caution, don’t ever promise that you will rid them of coyotes this is an impossible task and all you can realistically promise is that you will do your best to help control these and any other predators that are a threat to them. Landowners you talk to may have already had trespassing problems and use this to refuse your access request. I would tell them the best way to stop unwanted and unknown trespassers is to have someone they know and trust on the property and let them/you sign and police the property for them. Offer to put up signs and explain that a letter of exclusive permission from them is a way for you to move the trespassers off the property safely and with no hassle for them. Ask if they have eaten wild game and offer to provide some for them to try, sharing the game that is harvested on a landowner’s property is only common sense.

Finally you may have to lease a property to hunt on as many landowners and farmers are finding it hard to manage economically in this current recession. It is often the harsh truth that money talks and bull manure walks in today’s world and the American-style “lease to hunt” model is rapidly leaching into our hunting culture. We pay for all our other recreation why not pay for access to someone’s property? This does not have to be financially onerous and a contract with money changing hands also removes much of the liability involved. I have found that a couple of hundred dollars a year to have exclusive permission to hunt is much cheaper than driving 300 km to hunt on crown land. A little bartering can also go a long way. Working farms can often use labour, and a little help with the winter’s firewood for the private landowner is an age-old gesture that carries great clout in rural communities. Actions ALWAYS speak louder than words, and small communities are closely knit.

Once you’ve forged an understanding with a neighbor and fellow landowner you must work to maintain it. Be courteous at all times and if they’ve graced you with the permission to use their property recreationally, remember that you must act simultaneously as an ambassador on their behalf and on behalf of the shooting and hunting community at large. Permission can be lost as easily as it is granted and even if you have permission on one property, the lot immediately adjacent may house individuals with very different opinions of the hunting and shooting sports. It is not your place to be adversarial with those of differing opinions, nor should you take it on yourself to educate them. Respect their opinions (as uneducated in the realities of hunting, shooting and rural living as they might be) and endeavor to be a good neighbor at all costs.

If you are fortunate enough to have purchased or already own your own property to hunt on and enjoy nature I applaud you. I purchased a 100 acre deer-yard 22 years ago, and can offer you the following advice from my own experience. First, manage your resources wisely and practice the conservation and ecology ethics that you learned in your hunter education course. Second, try to get along with the neighbors in your area. Let them know you are a hunter and shooter and to expect associated gunshots and people on your property. Most rural people will accept hunting as a traditional and respected land use even if they don’t partake themselves, but you may also encounter those neighbors who cannot reconcile that hunting is a socially acceptable behavior. This type of person can often try to take ownership of wildlife and might even appoint themselves as nature police.
Remember that you do not have to curtail your activities to accommodate these unthinking and irrational individuals. Very often if you give them an inch they will take a mile so my best advice is to ignore them completely.

Remember also that you have the law on your side and that interference with the lawful pursuit of game carries stiff penalties under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (1997). This includes but is not limited to actions like patrolling property boundaries with the intention of disturbing game or hunters during open hunting seasons, and also spot-lighting fields, game and hunters within them. Conservation officers have and will readily charge people who try to interfere with lawful hunting. Your local township is well aware of the game laws and the economic benefit of hunting to the local community. The police, MNR and CFO are your friends and allies when dealing with unruly and unlawful neighbors.

Above all, you must establish and work to maintain your reputation as a considerate and professional hunter who respects the wildlife, other hunters, the land and landowners.

Good luck finding your own hunting grounds! I hope this blog proves helpful.

Red.

The Gun is Civilization

by Mark Kloos

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation.. and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

TURKEYS HUNTING TURKEYS! The Secrets to Turkey-Hunting Success

Hello from Big Red.

Guess what hunters? We have about 90 sleeps until turkey hunting rears its wrinkled blue head for the 2010 season. For those of you that have taken part in a turkey hunt and heard the primitive gobble of a Tom, I know for certain that you are excited about this year’s spring hunt! I suppose many of you (probably most of you) are neophyte turkey hunters looking for your first bird, or maybe you have shot a Jake, maybe you got lucky and shot a Tom or two in your hunting career. Whatever your hunting past, how would you like to become a top-notch turkey hunter and know the number-one secret to turkey-hunting success?

Have I got your interest now (I am thinking yes!)?

For those who don’t know me, I’ve had the fortunate luck to be an agent hunter for turkeys and I have shot dozens of birds at all times of the year. This has given me an advantage and unique perspective by simple exposure, and I have learned some basic and simple truths about turkeys and hunting them. I am talking about the feathered kind not the human ones that hunt them (but I will talk about the latter as well). Please forgive me if you find after reading this blog, that you a turkey of the humanoid kind.

Below are some simple truths regarding turkeys and turkey hunting:

1. Hunters often use hen calls and decoys to call gobblers to them, when doing so is against the practices of nature. The truth is that hens usually seek out Toms and stay with them until they are bred. Toms with hens are difficult, if not impossible, to call!

2. Hunters frequently use one or two loud calls repeatedly, and many times they use gobble calls to entice a bird towards their decoys. In truth, turkeys for the most part are not very vocal. When they do communicate they use very subtle vocalizations that are very hard for the neophyte to mimic. When busy with a call, you are likely scaring most mature birds off your decoys and away from you. Imagine a Russian (ie. human) trying to speak English (ie. turkey); most English-speakers can easily detect the Russian in the room. In other words the birds immediately know you are Elmer Fudd trying to sound like a turkey if you are not a seriously adept caller!

3. Almost all new turkey hunters buy a call and attempt to call turkeys into their hunting area before the season opens. Some newbies use a turkey call to locate birds on the roost; some nimrods will see birds, stop their car and start scratching away on a slate call like a hip-hop DJ on a turntable. Worse, I have seen hunters walk into the middle of a field, whip out the box call, and start flailing away like they are playing Rock Star on their Wii! These savvy birds are highly wary and learn from experience; for the last number of years, this newbie phenomenon has served to educate whole generations of turkeys to be call-shy. Perhaps most importantly, you should be aware that it is illegal to chase, pursue, harass, or call turkeys before the season opens (with or without a turkey license).

4. Most new hunters try to move on a bird. They initially hear one gobble and (after a little while) it sounds like it is moving away, so they get up and move towards where they last heard it. Makes sense right? Not exactly. Many times, this bird is not moving away, but rather changing direction as he struts back and forth for a group of hens. Not only is stalking turkeys extremely dangerous (ie. GETTING SHOT BY, OR SHOOTING, ANOTHER HUNTER) but you have virtually NO CHANCE OF SNEAKING UP ON A TURKEY!

5. I often see hunters in full camo in the woods hunting turkeys, and the reason I see them is because they are moving. They look like bobble heads scanning in all directions for a turkey that could be sneaking up on them. The truth is that the turkey can see much farther and hear much better than you; if he decides to come to your setup, you will likely hear him long before you see him.

6. Hunters walk into their hunting area right at sunrise to hunt, but by this time the birds are already on the ground and can often see the hunter approaching! Alternately, hunters go into the woods in the dark and set up too close to the roost tree without realizing that the birds can see very well in the dark from way up high; the birds see the hunter and when they do, they will fly down and far away from the hunter.

OK so now that you know some of the problems, what do you do?

Firstly, and most importantly, you should never call turkeys before the season! There are a couple of generations of call-wise birds out there right now that are completely spooked by calls. Don’t be one of the turkeys that stops on the side of the road and calls turkeys from your vehicle! Scout your hunting area with binoculars first, keeping at a good distance. Alternately, you can find roosted birds late at night with a coyote, hawk, or woodpecker call; anything but a turkey call. Never approach within 100 yards of a roost tree that has birds in it; they will see and hear you even in the dark. Remember that the birds move to different areas once the snow is off the ground (this is usually sometime in March). The way to find the roost tree is to glass for birds (using good quality binoculars is imperative) after 4:00 P.M. Remember that southern and western exposures hold the light and the heat the longest, so look for birds in these warm areas late in the day. At this time, the mature birds will likely be grouped together close to their roost and will fly up at or near dusk (depending on the weather). Once you have a good idea of where the birds are (and where the roost tree is), find a couple of good setups at least 100 yards from the roost and with good approach cover! Find or build your blind (and a couple of back-up blinds, if you’re so inclined) early, then stay the heck away from it! Do not walk your dog there; don’t tell or take your friends there to show them; and do not feed the birds!

A day or two before the opener and after 11 PM, go out to your hunting area and from a distance, use your coyote or woodpecker call and try to illicit a gobble from the roost tree. This will ensure that the birds are still there. When opening morning arrives, you should be ready and in your blind/setup at least an hour before sunrise. Make sure you park well away from your hunting area and are quiet; a car door shutting or a human voice can alert birds a far distances on a quiet morning. Do not use a bright flashlight when walking in. Use a muted red lens (with a tight beam pointed low) or no light at all if you can do it safely. Once you get to your blind, get setup quickly and quietly and with a modicum of movement and noise (make sure your camo is all done up and you have your face mask on in advance). If you have your heart set on shooting a Tom, using single hen decoy early in the season is preferable (two hen decoys is even better). Stay away from the traditional Jake decoy; this prop is not natural and it will spook the savvy Toms and hens they are with most times. Set your hens at 25 yards and about 10 yards apart so that your gun is pointing at them with a minimum of movement. If you are hell bent on shooting a Jake, put three Jake decoys and a small hen out in front closer to your gun (25 yards is the perfect distance to the farthest Jake in the set). Later in the season you can start putting out more decoys in different setups, watch the birds that you see at a distance and try to mimic the demographics you see! As the season progresses the mature Tom and breeding hen setup can be dynamite and a real tail fan on a realistic Tom decoy is a bonus to fool those really amorous Toms late in the season.

Once your all set up in the dark and sitting down with your firearm or bow still in the case unloaded you can now get ready to call and what I am about to tell you is the key to successful turkey hunting so listen carefully! About one hour to 40 minutes before sun-up the turkeys will softly call to each other in the roost and most often the Jake’s and Toms will gobble once… do not call back! Wait! Naturally they will gobble again within a minute or two and this is when you should call. You need to do a really soft tree yelp and then just wait if you got his attention he will gobble again, then you wait again for the second gobble. When you hear the second gobble you can do a fly down cackle, which is just a fast series of cackling yelps and clucks while slapping your hat rapidly against your leg and by flapping it in the air and then against the ground once or twice hard. Now the only thing you should do is two or three more modest yelps and shut up!

The Toms that heard you have now marked your way-point on the tiny little GPS map in their brain and they know exactly where you are! All you need to do now is be patient, don’t call, don’t move, stay awake and wait! Those roosted birds will fly down and do their morning libations, the hens will feed and scratch and the Toms will strut and try to get lucky. And after the adult birds have paired, the Jake’s have ganged up and the hens move off on their own there is an extremely likely possibility that the Tom or Toms or the Jake’s are going to search for you and they will start at your last know location. This could be immediately after fly down or one or two hours later normally I have shot my bird within 45 minutes to an hour and most of my clients have shot birds this way as well. Be aware that the Gobblers will just as likely circle in from the other direction as come directly in and they sometimes like to use the field edge or a fence line for some cover. Just don’t fall asleep and whatever you do don’t start calling out of boredom, if you by some chance get a bird coming but he hangs up use only very subtle cuts and purrs and once he answers shut up again.
I have used this simple method very successfully for long time now during the early season and I know it will work for you if you have the patience!

Watch Big Reds Blog for some mid and late season tips soon to be posted.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

Red

Hey You Turkeys!

Guess what season is rapidly approaching? If you don’t know the answer to this question go back to watching Oprah or Dr. Phil and leave this Blog for the hunters.

Monday the 27th of April is the big day ( SPRING TURKEY HUNT ) and I have got most of the first week booked with guided hunts. But there are still many openings available for a GUIDED SPRING TURKEY HUNT! This is of course a job for me, a fun and rewarding job but a job nonetheless. I have got two big flocks of birds on two of the properties we manage but the big flocks have not broken up yet. Over the next two weeks as the ground shows through the snow and it warms up to double digits we should see a lot of strutting and movement of the birds.

Now is the time for your pre-season scouting and this weekend is shaping up to be a good one to get out and find some birds. Stay off the calls though, I repeat do not call the birds! It will not do anything but educate your birds and make it tougher on the opener and it is illegal anyway! Just get out there and look at the edges of the bush along some good southern exposure about mid morning, take your binoculars and camera. Most of the birds are still huggin’ the low lands where there are seeps that allow them to water and eat through the snow! So don’t discount the cedar and swamp areas.

If you don’t have the time to scout for your Turkey or you do not have a place to hunt you can always give us a call here at Guide To Game and set up a Guided Turkey Hunt with one of our Pro Staff. We have an outstanding success rate with our Guided Turkey Hunts and we guarantee that you will see birds and have an opportunity to collect your Trophy. We always have Turkeys on all of our properties and last year our clients took many really nice gobblers during the Spring Turkey hunt.