I thought that my first blog post for Team Surra Outdoors would involve me writing about a new and ground breaking technique or Turkey call that would have gobblers running to a hunter practically committing suicide. As luck would have it, that is not the case. I do not have a sure-fire 100% method or sound for killing a bird, I do however; have some suggestions to keep you safe and comfortable. As the season approaches consider these tips to help improve your Turkey hunting experience.
Much like the rest of the northeastern United States, Pennsylvania has experienced a warmer than average winter. The mild winter may have helped us endure a bad case of cabin fever but it also kept many insects and parasites alive and active. The main pest I am concerned with heading into Spring Gobbler season is the black-legged tick (BLT), also known as the deer tick. In PA, the two main types of ticks you will find are the dog tick, which is basically, and the black-legged tick, which is the carrier of Lyme Disease. The BLT can be described as an eight legged tick that has a mostly black body with a red moon-shaped area towards the rear. Although ticks will be more prevalent this year, there are ways to combat these pests. I have found the most effective way to avoid ticks while Turkey hunting is to treat all of my hunting clothes with PERMETHRIN a couple of days before you plan of going hunting. To treat your skin, use a product that has 30-35% DEET. Both of these products can be found any of the larger outdoor stores for a nominal fee. This system will help keep you Lyme Disease free and as an added bonus will help repel mosquitoes.
Comfort is a luxury that eludes most Turkey hunters because not moving is both a necessity and a hindrance to a hunter. By not moving, you have a lesser chance of alerting the keen eyes of a gobbler and spooking him away but it also means that you will develop a backside that may not wake up when it’s showtime, or an arm that is exhausted from holding that big magnum up for so long. The fixes for the aforementioned fatigues can be surprisingly easy. Purchase a turkey hunting seat that is low to the ground (these are usually sold as turkey chairs or gobbler loungers) or at a minimum buy a decent camo cushion. Then buy or make yourself a shooting stick(s). By implementing these two items weight is redistributed off of your body and is transferred to the ground increasing your comfort and helping you be ready for the big moment. I promise these two items will help you stay still longer. Another item that many people think helps them but sometimes can make them miserable is the turkey vest. Turkey vests are wonderful for holding gear, calls, and whatever else will fit into it but at times can nearly cripple you in the woods if your vest is overloaded. If you do decide to use a turkey vest, make sure the weight is evenly distributed. If not, one side of your body will pay the price for your lack of balance and you will feel it the next day. For maximum comfort when using a turkey vest make sure that your vest has a strap system that distributes the weight over the hips. This will give your shoulders a break and you’ll have a better range of motion.
USE COMMON SENSE FOR SAFETY!!
Over the years turkey hunting I have seen some bonehead moves by other hunters that could have ended in tragedy. One hundred percent of the time, those stupid moves that other hunters made were motivated by and carried out because the hunter believed that a dead bird would be the result of his ill-advised actions. Many hunters have been injured or worse turkey hunting and some are lucky to be alive. Stay away from crawling up on turkeys, stalking turkey sounds, trespassing, making turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence, and carrying strutting gobbler decoys by the stake low to the ground. Make sure when you are moving that all decoys are folded and packed away properly before you begin moving through the woods.
The easiest way to stay safe is to wear orange. You don’t have to wear a lot of orange, but consider wearing an orange cap while you’re walking into and out of the woods. This could might save your life or save the life of your son/daughter. The most important safety tip to remember while turkey hunting is to positively identify your target as a living, breathing, walking, bearded bird before you pull the trigger.
These suggestions have proven effective and successful techniques for me and my cohorts over the years. Give some or all a try and you’ll learn that being mentally beat up by turkey is a lot easier to overcome than being physically diminished due to a lack of preparation and planning.
PA SPRING GOBBLER SEASON
Spring Turkey – Junior Hunters:
Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license, and mentored youth – April 21, 2012. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.
April 28-May 31, 2012. Daily limit 1, season limit 2. (Second spring gobbler may only be taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.) From April 28-May 12, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon; from May 14-31, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.