© By Othmar Vohringer
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.