Monday, April 14, 2014

Afternoon Turkey Hunting Tactics

© By Othmar Vohringer

The prime time to hunt turkeys are from dawn to midday. However, hunting can be just as good in the afternoon. It needs to be said though that it is illegal to hunt turkeys in the afternoon because that is the time when the hens that are already laying eggs return to their nests. Having an afternoon hunting ban in place provides these birds with some measure of security from hunters roaming around in their territory. With that said. Before you plan on hunting turkeys in the afternoon make sure to read the hunting regulations pertaining to the area you hunt.

To be perfectly truthful, sometimes afternoon hunts can be more productive than morning hunts. For two reasons. Firstly, most hunters go home around lunchtime which means you have the woods to yourself. With fewer hunters there is less hunting pressure which in turn makes for less spooky toms. Secondly, as the season progresses more hens sit on the eggs in the afternoon and toms search frantically for the remaining hens and become susceptible to calling.

How you hunt turkeys in the afternoon? Morning tactics work well, with the only difference that you don’t have to be so aggressive to bring a tom in to your set. Instead of a full flock of decoys you do very well with only a jake and hen to arouse a tom’s full attention. Throw in a few soft calls and he will come running. In the afternoon toms react in general faster than in the morning because there are fewer hens around to distract him.

Start with hunting typical strutting areas, like you would in the morning, close to roosting areas. Be careful in your approach to your setup. At this time of day the birds are out and about, slowly working their way back to the roosting trees, unlike in the early morning when they are still all in the trees. It is good advice to stop frequently and call a bit to “detect” birds that you can’t see but are close by. This way a gobbler will often respond before you reached your planned set up. In this case set up quickly on the most appropriate spot available and keep calling, the tom might be on his way in.

If nothing is happening get up and continue. In the afternoon I like to walk a lot, or as I call it, the run-and-gun method. Stopping every 50 to 60 yards to call and hope to get a response. Sometimes toms respond right away and other times they sneak quietly in. Always be prepared for a tom to appear out nowhere. When you walk keep as much as possible just inside the edge of woodland to disguise your movement, remember turkeys have eagle like eyesight. When you stop to call look first for a setup such as a small clearing or fields with adequate trees nearby to sit against. If you have time you can set out a decoy or two fine, if not just sit tight and wait.

As mentioned earlier the calling should be light. Content clucks, purrs and soft yelps with the occasional cluck to two thrown in to mimic a feeding hen often provide the desired result in bringing a wandering tom within shooting range. A true run-and-gun tactic is to observe turkeys from a distance. Observe what direction they are heading and then try to get undetected ahead of them, set up and wait for the birds to parade by you. In this case it pays to know where the birds roost as they slowly work their way back to the roosting trees.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Latest Craze In Turkey Hunting - Gobbler Fanning

© By Othmar Vohringer

For those of you that haven’t heard about this “new” turkey hunting tactic. Let me explain what gobbler fanning is. The tactic entails using a gobbler fan that you hold in front of you and crawl up to the birds. Since you’re hidden behind the fan the gobbler thinks you’re another bird looking for a fight. I’ve seen videos of this tactic and it is truly amazing how close the hunter can get to turkeys, almost to within touching distance. From what I have seen there are two types of gobbler fan decoys on the market. One style attaches to the gun barrel and the other is a handheld version that comes with a stand to use like a blind. (See Mojo turkey decoys for examples.)

This new decoy marketing hype is not as new as some would have you believe. Historical evidence shows that Native Americans have used that type of hunting tactic often as a deception to get close to game animals. However, back in the “good old days” there were a lot less hunters out and about, not unlike these days were we see often more hunters than turkeys. I think that this “new tactic” is contrary to everything we teach new hunters in hunter education courses.

My concerns with gobbler fanning are that it requires a hunter to belly crawl through the landscape while holding up a gobbler fan decoy. In other words, he could easily be mistaken by other hunters as a turkey and be shot at. In my long turkey fever years I’ve seen and heard about hunters that have been sneaked up to by others hunters, shot at simply because they called turkeys and were mistaken for the real thing by those that shoot at sound rather than sight. I still get chills running up my spine when I think a few years back when a hunter sneaked up on my decoy and shot at it without warning from about 50 yards away. I was lucky that day because my decoys were set up at a 45 degree angle from my position and not direct in front of me.

My thinking is that for as long that there are hunters that shoot at decoys and sound, and there always will be such hunters, it really is not safe to employ the gobbler fanning tactic, especially on public land. Even on private land that you share with other hunters, unless each hunter knows where the other is and what he is doing.

Rather than looking for more gimmicks and gadgets that promise success, no matter how questionable from a safety and fair chase point of view they are, I would encourage hunters to work harder to get their bird. For me part of what makes turkey hunting fun, or all game for that matter, is to learn and figure out the animals habits and behaviours. Learn how to call and what the different sounds turkeys make mean - speaking and understanding turkey language in combination with diligent scouting and choosing stand locations accordingly. That to me this is the true art of turkey hunting.

Now I am not one to point fingers, because I too think of ways how to make it easier on myself. I’ve no objections, other than the safety concerns I voiced above, with any hunter using the gobbler fanning tactic. Sometimes moving in on a hung-up gobbler seems like the only option left. But often times that is not possible, especially when the gobbler hangs up in an open field. There have been more times than I care to remember when a hung-up gobbler drove me crazy when after an hour calling he would not advance a single step toward me. But is gobbler fanning the answer to this dilemma?

What is your opinion on gobbler fanning? Do you think it something worth to try out, provided it can be done in a safe manner? Or do you think that good calling and decoy set ups are the true art of turkey hunting? I am looking forward to read your comments below in the comment section.

Friday, April 04, 2014

What Is A Turkey Slam?

© By Othmar Vohringer

I’ve been asked a few times, “What is a turkey slam?” A turkey slam is when a hunter shoots one tom from several turkey subspecies, what subspecies are required for a slam is determined by the type of slam the hunter is aiming for. The National Wild Turkey Federation recognizes six different turkey slams. These are: Grand, Royal, World, Canadian, U.S. Super and Mexican. The completion of a slam does not require completing the feat in a single calendar year.
Below is the outline of each slam and what subspecies it requires to be officially recognized.

Grand Slam consists of:
Eastern Wild Turkey, Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Merriam’s Wild Turkey and Osceola Wild Turkey.

Royal Slam consists of:
The same subspecies as the Grand Slam in addition to the Gould,s Wild Turkey.

World Slam consists of:
The same five subspecies listed above in addition to the Ocellated Wild Turkey.

Mexican Slam consists of:
Rio Grande Turkey, Gould’s Turkey and Ocellated Wild Turkey. All three subspecies must be taken in Mexico.

Canadian Slam consists of:
Eastern Wild Turkey and Merriam’s Turkey. In order to be recognized as “Canadian Slam” the birds must be taken in the following provinces; Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta or British Columbia.

U.S. Super Slam consists of:
One turkey of every state except Alaska. This is without question the most challenging wild turkey slam to complete. James, Wilhelm of VA is the latest of three turkey hunters to ever achieve this incredible feat.

For more information about the National Wild Turkey Federation visit their website.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Hunting Turkeys In Wet Weather

© By Othmar Vohringer

The early spring turkey hunting weather can be fickle. Often times hunters get up before dawn only to be greeted my miserably rainy weather and promptly go back to bed. Turkey hunting in wind and rain does not have to be futile. True, hunting turkeys on a beautiful sunny day is nice for the hunter and can make for much livelier turkey action. But in wet weather the hunting can be just as good and you do not have to content with a lot of competition from other hunters.

The common opinion is that turkeys shut down on rainy days, but that is not always the case. Some rainy conditions make actually turkeys more active and gobble more. While a heavy downpour and cold can shut gobbler activity completely down, a light drizzle and overcast skies seem to have not much effect on gobbling activity. When it stops raining and the first rays of sun break through the clouds gobblers become very active, making up for lost time.

On the other hand when it rains steadily, especially on cold days, the turkeys shut down. The birds sit longer on the roost as normal and huddle together. What can you do? Go out after sunup and hunt fields and openings with low growth vegetation. Turkeys prefer short vegetation to keep their feathers dry, rather than slogging through high grass and underbrush that gets them wet. In the open turkeys also can hear much better than under the trees where the noise of the rain hitting branches and foliage makes hearing approach predators harder.

What I like to do in rainy weather in to look for turkeys in open fields, use binoculars from a distance to prevent been spotted by the birds. By watching the flock for a while I usually can determine what direction the turkeys travel and then try to get around and ahead of them. Set up and stake out a decoy or two and then start calling. Be patient as the turkeys may not respond as quickly as they would on sunny warm day, but they will come.

Keep the calls you’re not using in a sealed plastic bag to prevent them from getting wet, a wet friction call becomes useless. Keep the call you’re using close to your body and upside down in order to keep the call surface dry.

If the wind is howling on a rainy day were you can’t hear the birds, and they can’t hear you the birds become a little spooked. On these days turkeys seek refuge in wind shelters hollows and depressions out of the wind, where they can hear again. Find these wind sheltered places, set up and call very loud and strong. Make the calling sequences short then pick up your gun and be ready, chances are you won’t hear the toms gobble back at you –let alone hear them coming in- in all that noise from the wind.

The bottom line is that with work and all the other commitments we only have so many days in a given season to go turkey hunting. With that said, we might just as well go out whenever we get the chance, regardless of the weather, and make an effort. You can’t shoot a turkey sitting in camp.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Are You Ready For Turkey Hunting Season?

© By Othmar Vohringer

All winter long we have been sitting indoors waiting for the spring turkey hunting season. Now it is almost here and the question is; Are we ready? Here are a few tips to prepare for turkey hunting.

Getting in physical shape

There is no doubt that most of us gained a few pounds during the winter months and only moved when we had too. Turkey hunting is a very active undertaking that often involves long hikes, even short sprints to get ahead of a turkey flock. Getting back into shape by exercising regularly is important. For me this means going hiking around our home and it usually starts right around after Christmas. That is also the time when I start scouting for turkeys and do some shed antler hunting. Being in good physical shape will go a long way to make the hunting season more enjoyable and getting to places where other hunters don’t go, or can’t go. A few years ago a hunting buddy and I had to hike a fairly steep hillside to get away from the other hunters and to where they turkeys had moved to evade hunting pressure. Having had a good regime of physical training for weeks before the hunting season I had no problems climbing that steep hill side. For my hunting partner it was a different story. More than ones we had to stop in order for him to catch his breath again. When we finally reached the top of the hill the turkeys had moved off to the next ridge, this meant another long hike. We finally caught up to them but my partner was completely exhausted and ended up with blisters on his feet. In other words; it was not an enjoyable day for him and he stayed in camp the next day to nurse his sore leg muscles and blisters.

Practice your turkey calling

The way I look at it turkey calling is like playing a musical instrument. You only can maintain the required quality of calling by regularly practicing. As the spring turkey season approaches I make a point of making every day at least a half hour time to practice with all my calls. You will be surprised how fast you lose good calling form when the calls stay boxed up from one to the next season. This is also the time when I check all my calls for flaws, wear and tear. There is nothing worse than taking a call on a hunt and then realizing it needs to be tuned or fixed. Often times the difference of getting a big mature gobbler is the difference of sounding like a turkey, or just like almost a turkey. A mature tom that has survived a few hunting seasons can tell the difference, it’s what kept him alive for so long.

Getting you and your gun into shooting shape

Spending sufficient time on the shooting range to pattern your shotgun will pay off when the time of truth comes. Make sure your gun is patterned well and that you practice shooting in various situations you would encounter in the turkey woods. DetailingYour Turkey Shotgun is an article I wrote for the Western Sportsman Magazine. This article explains in detail how to turn any shotgun into a gobbler harvester and provides information of a useful practicing schedule to shoot like a turkey hunter.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Using A Push-Button Call To Entice A Gobbler To Take The Last Few Steps

© By Othmar Vohringer

A mouth diaphragm turkey call is a great way to get a gobbler to take the last few steps to come within shooting range. However, if you are like me, suffering from a rare allergy to Latex that prevents you from keeping a diaphragm call for a extended time in your mouth, or simply have not the time to learn to use such calls, here is a trick that use with great success.

Mount a push-button call onto your shotgun barrel. With a few minor modifications this is a great way to call to a tom with the gun shouldered and ready to shoot. Attach a string, about two to three feet long, to the push beg of the call. Next glue a strip of Velcro® around the body of the call with a few inches standing free on either side to wrap around the shotgun barrel. That is all that is needed.

When you arrive at your setup and get ready to hunt simply fasten the push-button call onto the shotgun barrel. Make sure you run the Velcro strip between barrel and rib, not over the rib (see image). When the turkey approaches your setup hold the string between two fingers of the hand that supports the fore end (forestock) of the gun and start calling using the string. This lets you call without any noticeable movement while having the gun at the ready. It takes a bit of practise using a push button call in reverse, instead of pushing the button you pulling it, but you very soon will get the hang of it.

Push-button calls are ideal for close in calling, they produce perfect soft yelps, clucks and purrs. Mounted onto your shotgun they a deadly. Try it out and let me know how it worked for you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Boots Made For Turkey Hunters

© By Othmar Vohringer

Turkey hunting season, especially the early part, is notorious for constantly changing weather conditions, rain, snow and cold temperatures mixed with warm and sunny days are not uncommon. Quit often weather conditions can change during a single day from nice spring to cold winter conditions.

Because of that the avid turkey hunter has to be prepared for everything mother nature can dish out. For me this means, among other things, having a good pair of boots that can put up with the worst weather and still provide protection and comfort.

Is there such a thing? Yes there is! A year ago I purchased a pair of Muck boots and have grown so fond of them that I now own several pairs. I use to hate putting on rubber boots in wet weather because they made my feet sweat and cold. Another problem I encountered with rubber boots was that either they provided no ankle support whatsoever or if they did they were so tight around the ankle that you needed Vaseline to get in and out of them.

Muck boots are a very different story. These boots are made of Neoprene, of various thicknesses depending on the model, this fabric has a natural stretch that permits easy on and off despite the snug fit around the ankle. Neoprene also makes the boot much lighter than its rubber relative which in turn makes for less tiresome walking. This is especially important for turkey hunters as a lot of the hunting success depends on walking quickly from one to the next setup. For me a big plus of the Muck Boots is the fact that they a 100% waterproof and yet still breathable, which means, no more sweaty feet. Depending on the model the boots come insulated to keep your feet warm from departures as low as minus 60 degrees. While several features in the foot part of the boot make sure that your feet are comfortable. The aggressive sole of the boots lets you walk on just about any surface from a frozen lake to swamp without worries of losing traction.

Here I introduce you to the two models that I might use on any of my turkey hunts.

In cold weather with snow still on the ground, which happens often around here in early spring, I chose to wear Artic-Pro Muck boots (the brown pair in the image)
  • Fully insulated with 8mm Neoprene. This provides the optimal warmth, comfort, and waterproofing that you expect from a Muck Boot.
  • A fleece liner is added to keep your feet warm in down to -60 degrees
  • We wanted to make sure your feet were warm so we added an extra 2mm of thermal foam in the foot area.
  • The stretch-fit topline binding is snug around the calf to keep warm air in and cold air out
  • The seamless construction allows for easy cleaning with the simple spray of the hose
  • Double reinforcement in the instep, heel and achilles area where you need it most.
  • EVA midsole cushions with every step
  • Our specially designed Bob-Tracker outsole is molded to be rugged, aggressive and durable.
In warmer but wet weather I might wear my all-purpose knee high boots the Elite Stealth Muck Boots (camouflaged boots in the image)
  • Anti-microbial treatment prevents growth of odor causing bacteria
  • Inscentible® scent masking for improved concealment when hunting
  • 5mm NEOPRENE bootie with four-way stretch nylon, 100% waterproof, lightweight and flexible
  • Fleece lined
  • Additional Achilles overlay for added protection
  • 2mm thermal foam underlay added to the instep area for additional warmth
  • EVA molded midsole with contoured footbed
  • Reinforced toe
  • MS-1 molded outsole is rugged, aggressive and durable for maximum protection and stability.

To find out more about Muck Boots visit their website.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What’s In My Turkey Hunting Vest?

© By Othmar Vohringer

I have been turkey hunting for almost 17 years now, and while some consider me an expert on the topic, I am still learning more every season and improve my equipment. Optimizing the equipment and organizing it in a practical fashion is as important to hunting success as knowing the habits and routines of the turkey.

To get well organized it is in my opinion imperative to have a suitable hunting vest with a variety of designated pockets to store all the equipment one might need in the field. A good turkey hunting vest has to fulfill several requirements: The vest has to fit. Pockets need to be easily accessible, permitting the hunter to stow and retrieve turkey hunting tools with as little movement as possible and without having to avert his attention from approaching birds. Last but not least, a turkey hunting vest has to be equipped with a decent seat cushion and padded backrest to avoid fatigue and sore back when sitting, sometimes for hours, at the bottom of a tree.

What’s in a turkey vest? This is a question I get often and to answer it I will list below what I currently carry with me on a typical turkey hunt. The vest I currently use is the Primos Gobbler ® Vest and it fulfills all my requirements of what I consider a good and practical turkey hunting vest.
  • Hunting License, turkey tags and vehicle keys are stowed safely in a small inside pocket of the vest that can be securely sipped shut.
  • Ratchet limb clippers and a small folding saw. Just in case you have to remove a few branches to get a clear shooting lane.
  • An extra pair camouflaged gloves and a face-mask. I found that these are two items I loose or misplace the most.
  • Decoys. Usually two hens and a jake.
  • Bottle of water and snacks. Even on a daylong hunt I only carry a few chocolate bars and a bag of mixed nuts and dried fruit. This is plenty to get me through the day.
  • Flashlights. Usually I carry a small handheld flashlight and a head mounted light with me.
  • GPS. I consider a GPS a essential tool to find my way around and to log important turkey sign that I encounter during my scouting and hunting trips.
  • Spare batteries for flashlights and GPS. Especially when you out all day from dawn to dusk away from civilization you do not want to be caught with dead batteries.
  • Small pocket folding knife. Every hunter should always carry a good quality knife. A good knife serves many purposes in the great outdoors.
  • A roll of toilet paper. Toilet paper has many uses not only the obvious.
  • A small box of wet wipes. After flied dressing turkeys wet wipes make a quick cleanup of hands and knife without having to use water.
  • Binoculars. My favourite is the Swarovski 10 x 42 that I use for all my hunting.
  • A slate and class pot call. I always carry several strikers made of different wood and other materials. This lets me create different tones with one and the same call.
  • Two paddle box calls. No turkey hunter should leave home without these time tested calls.
  • A set of mouth diaphragm calls. Diaphragm calls are very useful for close calling. However, it needs many weeks, even months, of practice to get good at it. Purchasing such calls well in advance of turkey hunting season and practice often is the key to good calling with diaphragm calls. 
  • Turkey locator call. My favourite is the crow call because crows exist everywhere and they are neither competition nor a danger to turkeys.
  • Federal Premium Mag-Shok high velocity turkey shot shells. Always make sure you pattern your shotgun, using different load/choke combinations to get the best pellet spray pattern that works for your gun.
  • First Aid kit. I never go out without carrying a small first aid kit with me. Nature is full of small accidents waiting to happen, be that a small cut, wood splinters or blisters on the feet, a first aid kit will help to lessen the problems.
This may seem a lot of gear to carry but believe me; as you gain turkey hunting experience the amount of hunting equipment increases accordingly. Could you do with less equipment? Absolutely! There have been times when I just took a call or two, a few shells and the gun. However if you plan an all-day hunt (where legal) a few hours drive from home you don’t want to shortchange your options by not having all the equipment you might need.

To get the most out of a turkey hunting vest it is important that you do not just stuff everything into the pockets as it comes. Plan what goes in which pocket. For example; I am left handed, this means that my most frequently used calls are all stored in pockets on the left side of the turkey hunting vest. It is best to load your vest with the equipment you need, sit under a tree like you would on a turkey hunt and practise a few times getting equipment in and out of various pockets. Do that until you found a system that suits you and lets you “work” the vest without having to look or concentrate where or what you need. While hunting all your attention should be on the hunt not on what you need and in which pocket it is.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hunting Accidents On Opening Day Of Turkey Hunting Season

© By Othmar Vohringer

It makes me cringe each time I learn of a hunting accident. Especially those that occur because of mistaken identity. Last week two “mistaken identity” accidents occurred on opening day of the spring turkey hunting season in Indiana.

In the first case 55-year old David Iron of Cicero mistook his brother, 35-year old Brian Iron of Noblesville, for a turkey. According to the investigating conservation officer, the shooter fired his shotgun at his brother. The pellets hit the victims face and chest. The accident occurred in Morgan Monroe State Forest north of Bloomington. Because of the remote area it took rescuers several hours to find the injured man and move him from the forest by hand and off-road vehicle to the waiting Life Line Helicopter that took him to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where he been treated for life threatening injuries to his face. 

Meanwhile, in Orange County, Jesse W. Boyle, age 26, was shot at by his father-in-law, 49-year-old Gerlad D.Walton. The men had been hunting near each other when the father-in-law was heading to meet his hunting partner. He saw movement from behind a tree and discharged his shotgun, injuring Boyle in the face, neck and on the shoulder. The victim has been transported to the University of Louisville Hospital where he is been treated.

These accidents could have been avoided if the hunters would have taken their due time to make absolutely sure that what they see is indeed a turkey and not a human. I understand that at times "buck fever" or in this case "tom fever" can rattle us, but there should never ever be any reason not knowing what you’re shooting at. If in doubt it is better to loose a gobbler then to loose a human life. 

Be careful out there and before you bring  your gun up make absolutely sure you identified the target correctly. As my father used to say, “You can reverse every decision you make in your life with one exception. When you decide to pull that trigger it cannot be reversed or changed. You just played God and will have to live, for good or worse, for the rest of your life with that decision.” Think about that when you’re out in the turkey woods.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In Search Of Wild Turkey

(Originally published in the Merritt News – Othmar Vohringer The Outdoorsman)

 © By Othmar Vohringer

On Monday morning at1:00 a.m. the alarm went off and an hour later I was on my way towards Kelowna to meet up with my good friend Rick. The sparkling stars in the sky promised a beautiful sunny day. “The perfect weather for turkey hunting” I thought as I drove along highway 79 in anticipation of hunting my favourite game birds.

At 4:00 a.m. I pulled into Kelowna and shortly afterwards Rick arrived too. I loaded everything into his truck and off we went toward Beaverdell. During the drive Rick kept telling me about his past turkey hunting successes in that region, which, he said, “is loaded with turkeys”. I had no reason to doubt him. Rick is an accomplished turkey hunter. We arrived at our first hunting spot right at dawn. It’s the perfect time to locate a male turkey. This is accomplished by using a raven or crow call, a few loud “caw-caw-caw” calls makes the toms gobble. In fact any sudden loud sound makes a male turkey respond with a thunderous gobble that can be heard from a far distance away. Once a tom is heard the hunter tries to get as close as possible without alerting the bird and then by using female turkey calls to “love talk” with the hopes of luring the tom to within shooting range.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How The Wild Turkey Got Saved From Extinction

© By Othmar Vohringer

It's not often that I post a video here on Wild Turkey Fever. However, this is a great video especially for the younger generation of hunters that grew up with plenty of wild turkeys. This has not always been the case. There was a time, not so very long ago, where the American wild turkey was headed for extinction. A few concerned hunters founded the National Wild Turkey Federation which has become since the biggest turkey conservation organization in North America with branches in Canada and Mexico.

The video shows the hard work and dedication it took to restore the wild turkey populations. Today thanks to avid turkey hunters and the National Wild Turkey Federation there are more wild turkeys in America, Canada and Mexico then at any time before. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Judge A Turkey’s Age

© By Othmar Vohringer

Every turkey hunter can tell a tom form a young jake. But can you tell the difference from a younger 2-year-old from an older mature gobbler?

Here is how you can tell:

Young toms have a more youthful, lighter gobble. Three-year-old and older toms vocalize with much deeper, booming sound.

If you can glass the gobbler’s legs from a distance to estimate his the age. If the spurs are long, sharp and curved upward then it's a mature bird. If the spurs are short and rounded at the point and grow straight out it’s a young tom.

Mature gobblers do a lot of running around, chasing jakes off their hens, and loose weight. The biggest tom is not always the oldest bird. If you see a strutting tom chasing off other toms then that is the oldest bird in the bunch.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Make You Calling Count

© By Othmar Vohringer

Many hunters learn how to use a friction or mouth call and as soon they figure out how to make a yelp, maybe a purr and cluck too, head out in the woods and start calling turkeys. Sometimes these hunters get lucky but most of the times they re not. Quite often the unlucky hunters blame the birds for not “cooperating” or they say something like “These (enter brand here) calls are no good.”

To get the attention of a tom it is important to know the “vocabulary” of the turkeys and knowing what they are “saying” when they communicate with each other.I regard turkey calls as musical instruments. Knowing a couple of notes or chords doesn’t make me a musician. Knowing all the “words” turkeys use and what they are saying will go a long way in properly communicating with a gobbler and entice him to come in.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

National Wild Turkey Federation investing $215,000 in Missouri projects

© By Othmar Vohringer

The National Wild Turkey Federation in the leading wild turkey conservation organization in North America. It is safe to say that without the efforts of the NWTF, their many US state and Canadian chapters, the many dedicated volunteers and supporters there would be no more wild turkeys left in the wild. It is to no small thanks to these dedicated people that the North American wild turkey rebounded from the brink of extinction to numbers never seen before.

The following press release has been submitted to me by the NWTF.

The Missouri State Chapter of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation (NWTF) committed $215,000 this year to conservation, education, outreach and other projects in Missouri.

The chapter works diligently to conserve the wild turkey and preserve our hunting heritage.

The largest single commitment is more than $46,000 to fund habitat-related projects including equipment purchases, cost chare projects on private land, and contracted projects on state and federal lands.

The chapter allocated $38,400 to preserve our hunting heritage through its JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship), Wheelin' Sportsmen and Women in the Outdoors outreach programs, National Archery in the Schools program, 4-H Shooting Sports, the National FFA Organization and more.

For a detailed list of NWTF Super Fund projects in Missouri, click here.
For more information about the NWTF, call (800) THE-NWTF, visit or go to

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bowhunting Turkeys, Think Like A Gun Hunter

© By Othmar Vohringer

I am strongly considering getting a Merriam’s turkey with my Excalibur crossbow this spring season. Hunting turkeys with a bow is one of the toughest challenges known to hunters but I’ve never been shy to try new things or mixing different hunting tactics to make live easier. Here are some of the turkey bowhunting traditions I broke with.

Many bowhunters use ground blinds to ambush turkeys. While ground blinds have certain advantages over other turkey bowhunting tactics it is a fact that most blinds take some time to set up and additional camouflaging is necessary to make them blend into the surrounding. Ground blinds also make many hunters stay put when they should be on the move and go top where the turkey action is.

Ditch the ground blind this year and be more mobile and aggressive. This might be just the ticket you need to get a big tom this spring season. The most successful turkey hunters, be that with bow or gun, are those that are not afraid to seize every opportunity, even if that means to change plans and make smart, quick decisions. To do this you have to be mobile and fast. Hunting without a blind gives you this mobility.

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