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It’s Eastern Wild Turkey hunting time.

04/24/2017 Craig Joyner

It’s Eastern Wild Turkey hunting timeI want to express my judgement that hunting the Eastern Wild Turkey is the #1 big game animal to hunt in North America.  The hunter must be more adept, practiced and masterful at the greatest combination of talents and gear in all of hunting to bag the Eastern.  Mind you, the other species, Gould, Oscillated, Miriam and Rio Grande, in comparison to the Eastern, practically walk in and ask to be shot.

Think about it a moment–you call and get a response, you must be completely camouflaged, stealth is an absolute must, you absolutely cannot move, shot placement is necessary, poorly shot Turkeys are food for Coyotes, and finally, you are reversing the natural action of the specie.

How it works in nature is this: the male, the gobbler, wakes up on his roost on a limb high a tree and gobbles.  The sound he makes alerts the females in the vicinity and they run or fly over to him, he flies down, breeds them and spends the balance of the day walking around a feeding and trying to recover from the demands of the flock.  The day is done.  He, and they, repeat this daily for about the first five weeks of the season.  Got it?

Now you come along and you have done all the things necessary. You know where he probably is roosted and what happens in the mornings. However, when you call sounding like a lovingly beautiful, eager female, you do not visit him–you are asking him to visit you instead.  This is tough on him and quite unnatural.

You call him into your shotgun range, place the obligatory shot and he’s yours.   However, think of how many things can go wrong. No other game animal in North America requires you to be so skilled.  Fail in one thing and the hunt is over.

What to do?  Read, study, practice, get outfitted, know the lay of the land and GO hunting, OVER, AND OVER, AND OVER AGAIN.  When?  Now! The last two weeks of the season is best because the hens are sitting on the nests and the gobbler is lonesome.  The best teacher you’ll ever have is the Eastern himself.

-O’Neill

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