1st Turkey Hunt of 2019

The Tom’s hormones are at their peak and the Hens are playing hard to get, but even these incredible birds can not resist the Ritual Dance & Courting Struts when Nature calls.

The Morning Hunt

It’s was 5:45 am on Saturday morning when I sat down on the front porch to savor the moment of a new dawn. The temperature is cool and I can see the fog rising, which makes a picture perfect hunt. As I took a few moments to enjoy the sounds of nature waking up I could hear the Toms Gobbling throughout the valley. A few minutes later I picked up my pack, decoy, and calls and set out to see if I could call in and video a Tom Turkey.

Where To Set-UP

My first set-up (6:15 am) was on the wood line at the top of the valley along the field edge. As I placed my decoy I could see a large Tom (30lbs best guess) in the middle of a herd of deer, just going to town gobbling, which was so amazing I just stood there taking it in and totally forgot to video him.

Not thinking to get my video camera out I quickly got positioned and began working that Old Tom, but that only pushed the deer off, taking him with them (Note, the smart Turkeys will hang around the deer for added detection of intruders). With a few more Hen Clucks I caught the attention of a younger flock of Toms working the field edge and the Hens, which were still in the their roost (Trees) just North of my position. At 7:00 am things went quiet, but the hens were still in the trees and I knew I would not get those Toms out from under them, so I figured I would try something that seems to work for me. I picked up my decoy and started to sneak toward the Hens to get them to fly down, separating them from the Toms. It worked perfectly as the Hens flew down across the valley and the Toms ran down the field edge. At this point I knew I had them and headed down to the bottom to setup between them. At 7:30 am I finally got two Toms to answer back to my Hen clucks, but they were still a long ways away. 30 minutes later I had those two Toms within 100 yards and the next thing I knew they were 40 yards and Gobbling. What a wake up that was as they came in unseen and sent shivers down my back as their gobble went right through me.

Tip: Once you have the Toms within 100 yards you better be ready with your gun as they will be on top of you within seconds and then it’s too late to be moving and getting your gun ready.

Tip; If the Turkeys are heading away from you pick-up, circle around (staying out of site), and setup again. Do not waste your time trying to call a Tom off Hens. Instead get between them and make the Tom’s think you’re part of the flock of Hens.

When To Be In The Woods

I like to be in the woods before the sun starts to rise, as the Toms will get out of their roost and start their dancing and gobbling long before the Hens start to stretch their wings and fly down. This give you the benefit of knowing where the Turkeys are and your first opportunity for calling in a Tom, before the Hens start to move.

Then around 8:30 am things start to get quiet as the gobbling slows to a minimum or a full stop. At ~9:30 am the Hens will kick the Toms off, which gives you your next best opportunity to pull in a Tom, but be ready as they come in quiet and may catch you off guard. After this I leave the woods until evening, hunting the two hours before the Turkeys get back into their roost.

Tip; Toms will be in the woods all day scouting for the Hens and can be called in. However it is the warmest time of the day and seldom will the Toms answer back to a call, so you need to be alert and ready.

Tip; Field-edges are a great place to set up first thing in the morning and at evening, but during the day focus in the woods, valley, and river bottoms.

Tip; In the Spring the Hens will stay in the trees well after the sunrise, flying out between 7:15 – 7:30. Where these hens go is where the Toms will follow, so plan your trip to that.

Easiest Way To Take A Tom

The easiest and fastest way I have found to bag a Turkey is to locate the Tom’s before Dawn (calling & listening to their Gobbles). Then approach quickly and use a Hen call to see if you can work that Tom in. If you have not gotten a shot by 7:00 am then try to approach the hens before they leave the trees, working between them and the Toms, trying not to push the Tom’s off before getting the hens to fly out of the roost. This will let the Toms know where the Hens went right before you push them off in the opposite direction. Now circle around toward the hens, away from the Toms and setup between them. Using your hen call start working those Toms you chased away and who are actively searching for those Hens. I have taken many Turkeys doing this and by 8:30 am your heading home.

Tip: Don’t spend hours in one spot calling, be willing to move and go after them…

2019 Turkey Season Is Firing Up!

We just pulled the taps from the Maple Syrup run and finished our boiling when I looked up and could see three Toms and 5 Hens working through the field. Wow what better way to transition from one outdoor activity to another as our Turkey season is only a week away.

Preparing For the Season

The Turkey Season is fast approaching so we need to take a few minutes and make sure we are prepared. First make sure your camouflage clothing is ready and still fits. Then locate your Turkey Backpack with its seat (don’t want to get a cold and wet bottom), find your decoys, and make sure the blind is in good shape, if you’re going to use one. Next get out your calls and Turkey Strikers (I use multiple Strikers as they each make a little different tone) and practice your calling. Then do a little pre-season scouting, both morning and evening. Try calling the Turkeys while they’re still in their roost, this way you will know where to set up.

Where to Set-Up

When deciding where to set-up for your Turkey Hunt do some scouting and find out where they have been roosting and where they have been flying down and heading. If you do not have the time to do this then focus on the East & Southeast fields adjacent to the woods. I find the Turkeys prefer to fly down to those areas that see the first morning Sun. When setting up your decoy place it 5 to 10 yards from the wood line and then find a good tree to rest against just a few feet in the woods.

Once you’re set-up and calling give yourself 1 – 2 hours before moving, as a Tom can be called in from long distances. once you’re confident that the Toms are not interested in your calling or decoys then go after them. Start by getting them to Gobble and then make a plan to approach them without being seen. When you have gotten close then move into the crawling position, keeping your decoy standing up and in front of you. Approach where the Turkeys are and pause every few yards and make a hen call. I have found using your decoy and approaching them by crawling on the ground can get you close enough for a shot. I know as I have taken my share of Toms this way.

How To Find Good Deer Hunting Land – Buying Great Hunting Habitat

Purchasing Great Deer Hunting Land

As some of you have seen or heard in my articles and videos my deer hunting land has been encroached upon by developers. This has pushed the larger bucks out of the area toward the large river that lies a mile away. I have also had people living in these developments stray unto my land during the archery season and walk right under my stand with their dogs. Now I do kindly ask them to leave, however enough is enough and I finally decided to look for a better deer hunting parcel further away from the small City I live near.

Finding the right ground is a labor-intensive process that may take months and possibly years. But, if you invest the time to do it right you will find what you’re looking for. I been looking off and on for the past 10 years, knowing the time would come when I will want to move further out, and that time is here.

What To Look For In Hunting Land

So what do you look for to make sure you are buying a great piece of hunting land? Well as in this article you need water, feeding area, thick cover, and bedding. Now since my trophy bucks have moved to a large river just a miles away I started looking at aerials along this river focusing on; woodland to cropland ratios, low land, high land, wood funnels (large game crossing areas between sections), ridges, and wood fingers stretching into the tillable land.

Once I find a couple of properties for sale I walk them 3 or 4 times and use my camera and a notepad to record the game (Deer, Turkey, Pheasant, etc.) sign and habitat (Water, Food Sources, Bedding, and Thick Cover). I also noted what the Woods versus Tillable land ratio is and what types of trees are on the property. I like to see 75% – 85% woods, 15% – 25% tillable (crops) and would even consider a few acres of wetland or pasture.

Here at a few things I look for:
1- The Woods must NOT have been logged within the past 30 years. If logged then only selectively logged.
2- Having a river on the property or near by is a big plus.
3- The woods needs to have major crossing areas from Crop fields, Water, and adjoining sections.
4- Major Deer trails packed to the mud, with a number of large scrapes and rubs.
5- Plenty of hardwoods such as Oak, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, hickory, etc..

The Hunting Land I Purchased!

I finally decided to purchase a 64 acre parcel just 12 miles North of my present location. The major river in the area runs across the North side of the property and winds down the West side. One major deer crossing comes from the West where there is 70 acres of tillable, 20 acres of woods, and then a narrow wood-line connecting to this land. On the East side are large parcels of tillable with multiple wooded fingers stretching out into the fields. From the deer sign it’s obvious there are Boone & Crockett’s in the area. Talking to the neighbors one took a 189 scored buck and the other a large 16 pt, but did not get it scored. So it’s going to be nice passing up those 135’s and focusing on those 175’s or larger bucks. I’m looking forward to doing videos on this property and sharing them with you.

The land ratio on this 64 acres is 81% Wooded, 16% Tillable, and 7% in pasture (grasses), which can be tilled. The river runs North approximately 200 yards from the property line and West approximately 400 yards away. I have seen many pheasants, deer, squirrels, rabbits, and signs of turkey, fox, and of course coyotes.

Don’t Rely On The Realtor When Purchasing Land

Purchasing land has gotten difficult over the past few years and it takes longer to complete the purchase transaction due to tougher County Regulations and Bank Requirements. Also any realtor selling land has the sellers best interest and of course their pockets, so have your own lawyer it will be well worth the money.

Also do not get discouraged as you will get through the process and your lawyer will help keep things moving. For this piece of Land it took me 3 weeks to get the bank loans approved and another 3 months to get the Purchase Agreement (PA) signed. Why so long for a PA to get signed, well this is what I ran into and was glad I had a lawyer from the beginning, he also wrote my PA. In this case the realtor’s best interest was NOT in the sellers or mine, but had different intentions. This realtor wanted the land or a section of it for himself and was delaying every step of the process, trying to either find a way to purchase the land or get the farmer or myself to sell him 10 acres. So I finally bypassed him and went directly to the owner were we worked out a Purchase Agreement. I then took legal actions against the realtor to keep the process from delaying any longer and within 2 weeks I had the land purchased.

Start Improving The Habitat right Away

This Spring I will start planting Apple Trees, Plum Trees, and fruit trees that produce small fruit for the grouse and pheasants. The pasture area I will put a few apple trees in and let it grow for deer bedding and the pheasants, mowing it once every two years. Since I have plenty of tillable (corn & beans) with oak trees (acorns) along the edges I will not need to put in any food plots. I will however put in a lot of apple trees since it cheap and easy to grow and graft them. For Winter I will leave a few rolls of corn standing and build a wire cylinder to place whole corn (with cob) in for the Pheasants. The tractor lanes going through the woods will be planted to a mixture of Clover & Chicory. I will also start clearing dead trees, downfalls, and thin areas to allow sunlight in, improving the vegetation in the woods.

What To Do When You Encounter Bees – Attacking Bees

How To Minimize Bee Stings Once You Have Disturbed Their Hive

The most common bees that Outdoorsmen encounter during their Hunting, Camping, or Hiking adventures are the Yellow Jackets. So you need to know what to do when you have accidentally disturbed a hive? Now the question is NOT are you going to get stung, but rather what to do to minimize the number of stings? Here I will give you a few tips on what to do based on which type of bee you have accidentally threatened.

Bumble Bees – Honey Bees – Wasp

These types of Bees are more aggressive toward their intruder, when the intruder stays in the immediate area. So run and seek shelter quickly if you want to minimize the number of times you’re going to get stung.

While running try to protect the majors areas such as your face, if in the woods run through thick brush to help confuse the bees, and keep running until they stop their pursuit or you find shelter. Avoid getting into the water or thinking you can dive underwater to escape them. This is a false safety haven the many have come to believe will work. This does not work and creates a serious situation for you, as you must come up for air and the only thing exposed is your face.

Honey Bees

The Honey Bee can only sting once and then it will die, however the stinger along with the remaining venom is left in the skin of its victims. To avoid squeezing more venom out of the stinger and into your body remove it by using your fingernail or the blade of your survival knife and scrape sideways across the stinger.

Yellow Jackets – Ouch!

Yellow Jackets are different then most other bees and running make things much worse and the reason I’m writing this article. I have accidentally disturbed these bees many times and this past weekend was another exciting one. You will see the bees and my plastic bag next to the log in my video and I will explain how I avoided hundreds of stings. Oh ya, these things hurt like heck and I prefer the Bees mentioned above over these things. If I had to decide which ones I want stinging me I would start with the Honey Bee!

How to minimize Yellow Jacket Bee Stings

I learned at age 8 not to run from these guys as I got stung 102 times, so here is what I do. Once I realize what I have done I start stepping backwards, keeping them off my face, and killing as many as I could during their attack. Yes, you will get stung as I took eight to twelve hits in this case, but I avoided hundreds of stings, which is what would have happened if I just started running. The last time I was in this situation was just last year in my Apple Orchard, and I only got stung 5 times then, so I strongly believe this is the best way to avoid Yellow Jacket stings, other than not to piss them off in the first place.

Avoiding Hundreds Of Stinging Yellow Jackets

Here is my story. I was in the woods clearing my last shooting lane for Archery when the log I just pushed started pouring out Yellow Jackets. Now due to experience I know exactly what not to do (Do Not Run!). Running makes these bees more aggressive and they will follow the air stream or vacuum you create when running and be on you quickly. Instead I dropped the plastic bag I had in my hand and continued backing up, away from the swarming bees. I then killed any Yellow Jacket that landed on me or stung me since they can sting multiple times. I also focused on protecting my face and mashing bees against my body or between my hands. I continued this, while walking backwards, until no more bees attacked.

Now, I very fortunate as I’m not allergic to bee stings or or insect bites, but let me tell you it still hurts like hell. I have always said I would prefer Honey Bees, Wasp, or Bumble Bees, over those Yellow Jackets. But it seems the only Bees I ever encounter anymore in the Woods or Orchard are those dang Yellow Jackets. Last year I was pulling some fence out from around my Apple trees and again opened up a hive. Yep, I got it that time too, but only a few stings, and I was in shorts, a muscle shirt and sandals without socks. Now the Black Lab took off 90 miles an hour, but I walked away slowing, getting stung maybe 5 times, but on the ears. Which brings up another good point.

What Part Of Your Body Do Yellow Jackets Attack First

Yellow Jackets like to go high with their attack and will head for the ears of its prey first, then the neck, face, & head. So focus on keep these areas protected during any attack.

Tips For Minimizing Bee Stings

1- know your bees and how to react to each type.
2- If you disturb a yellow jacket nest slowly walk away protecting your face, ears, head and neck. Do not swat at them as they will quickly sting your hands. Swift movements will only attract more yellow jackets.
3- Use thick brush or vegetation when trying to escape from bees. This will help confuse them and minimize the number of bees pursuing you.
4- Seek shelter as quick as you can
5- All but the Honey Bee can sting multiple times, so kill as many bees as possible during your escape.
6- Do not use water as a safe haven (security) as this creates a serious and dangerous situation for you.
7- Allergic reactions to bees stings may cause shock and life threatening conditions. Those with known allergies should carry sting treatment kits and be prepared to seek prompt medical attention if stung.

Yellow Jacket Video – 20 Minutes Later

Here are the Yellow Jackets I disturbed, using my phone I took this small video. You can see even after 20 minutes these bees are still pissed off! Also note the sound, not the bees themselves, but the humming sound. It sounds like a magnetic field or some type of energy field phasing in and out.

The Best Hunting Blinds 2017 – Deer, Turkey, And Other Large Game

Best Hunting Blinds of 2017

Portable ground hunting blinds are becoming more popular every year as the designs and durability continue to improve. Factors contributing their popularity are; older hunters are moving away from ladder stands, portable stands, and self climbing stands, young hunters are being mentored by their parents or grandparents, and they are ideal for hunting areas that do not have trees available for a tree stand.

Today’s hunting blinds are of higher quality and are designed to be comfortable, compact, light, and easy to set up, making these blinds attractive for both deer and turkey hunters. Large hunting blinds also provide room for multiple hunters or for shooting in the standing position, which makes them an excellent choice for the archery hunter as well.

In choosing the right hunting blind you need to consider the following; where are you hunting, what is the terrain like, can you leave the blind up for an extended period of time, how often are you going to be using the blind, and what weapon are you using? This should help you decided on which blind is best suited for you.

Advantages Of Using Hunting Ground Blinds

So what are some of the advantages of using a ground blind?
– It’s more comfortable, allows more freedom of movement, and allows for a comfortable seat to be used.
– It helps block your scent. This does not mean it’s a scent eliminator, so continue to practice scent control.
– It gets you into places where there are no trees available or trees large enough to support a stand.
– They are much more affordable now.
– They are very easy to set up and take down.

The Best Big Game And Turkey Hunting Blinds – Whitetail, Elk, Mule Deer, & Caribou

These big blinds are great for both turkey and big game. They offer comfort, height, and room for more then one hunter. Below we briefly review the best portable hunting blinds available.

Browning

Browning is our number one choice when looking for a great deer blind. Hunters, if you’re looking for a sit down shooting position then the Illusion, Mirage, Phantom, and Phantom X are great choices. These prices range from $179.99 to $299.99. If you’re looking for a blind that allows you to shoot from the standing position then you want to purchase the Powerhouse. The Powerhouse is priced at $299.99, not a bad price for a great blind that will last.

Powerhouse Features And Specifications

SILENT-TRAC Window System for Limitless Window Positions
Stand-and-Shoot Design
180° Curtain Style Viewing Area
180° Strategic Window Placement with “Shoot-Thru” Mesh
Durable 600D Polyester Fabric with Blacked Out Backing to Help Keep You Concealed
Realtree® Xtra HD™ Fabric
Aluminum Hubs with Engineered Tips and Pins
Strong and Flexible Fiber Glass Poles
Oversized #10 Zippers
Durable Mesh Windows for Even Better Concealment
Accommodates Long and Recurve Bows
Center Support Included
2 Camera Window Ports
Full Length Zippered Door for Easy Entry
Ground Skirt Helps Conceal Movement, Keeps Scent In and Light Out
4 Gear Pockets for Storage
Brush Loops for Extra Concealment
Bow Hanger Included
Oversized Stakes with Tie Downs Included
Includes Durable Custom Carry Bag with Padded Shoulder Straps
Dimensions: 59″ wide x 59″ deep x 82″ high
Shooting Dimensions: 74″
Weight: 23 lbs.

Barronet

Our number two choice for Deer hunting blinds are from Barronet. These big blinds allow for the hunter to either stand or sit when shooting. They are much like the Browning, but just a step behind on the design and necessities. The blind technology and high quality fabric help make this portable hunting blind light, easy to set up, and easy to take down. Barronet blinds provide plenty of room for multiple hunters and caters to both gun and archery. If interested in Barronet blinds take a close look at the Big Mike or SupperTough hunting blinds. Prices range from $199.99 to $299.99.

SuperTough Big Mike Features And Specifications

Double-Layer Welded Fabric
3 Year Warranty
80 Inches Tall For Standing Shots
Versatile 5-Panel Window Configurations
Extra reinforcement on all corners
Replaceable shoot-through mesh camo windows for broadhead use.
Durable five-hub design for easy set-up and take-down.
Brush holders provided for additional concealment.
Height (A): 80”
Set-Up Size (B): 75” x 75”
Footprint (C): 59” x 59”
Water Resistant
Weight: 29 lb
Capacity: 2-Person

Primos Double Bull Blinds

These blinds offer a 360-degree view and enough room for two hunters or an adult hunter with two children. Shooting is from a sitting position since the blinds are not tall enough for standing, making this blind less desirable for the archery hunter.

A real advantage over many other blinds is the zipper-less double-wide door, making it very easy to get in and out of. The window zippers are quite when operated, easy to maneuver, and give a 180 degree front view. The carrying case needs improvements and comes with only one strap. Primos blinds are heavier than most large blinds and are more difficult to setup and pack away. The cost for the Deluxe hunting blind comes in at $482.95.

Our team agrees that the Primos blinds are over priced and the quality does not live up to its high price tag.

Primos Double Bull Deluxe Blind Features And Specifications

270-degree field-of-view.
180º full-front view
Double Bull cotton/polyester canvas
Ironclad, lifetime warranty
Zipperless double-wide door
70″H x 60″W x 60″D.
Wt: 27 lbs.

Other Blinds To Check Out

The following blinds are of less quality and more suitable for shooting from the sitting position. However, depending on your hunting techniques and how little you want to spend you may find something you like. Check out the BlackOut, Invisi-Bull, and the Ameristep blinds.

Best Turkey Hunting Blinds

The big blinds mentioned above are also great for Turkey hunting. However, if you’re like me, you like to move and stalk after the first couple of hours of daylight, so a blind that is light and effective is more practicable.

Hunter’s Specialties

This blind is easy to set up, pack away, and carry. It stands 27 inches high and stretches out 12 feet. The material is very durable and will last many years. These blinds run from $20.00 to $25.00.

Specifications

Easy carry, easy setup 12′ x 27” ground blind
Collapses to 19” package for easy carrying
Shock-corded poles
Spun-bonded polyester blind material die cut for 3D camo effect
Designed to last

Ghost Blind

The Ghost blind is quite the blind and would be great to try, but is the cost worth it? The design of this blind use mirrors, which are angled down toward the ground, reflecting its immediate surroundings. The blind requires the hunter to either be sitting behind it on a chair or crouching, and does not have much area to hide behind unless you purchase more panels, which adds more weight. The Ghost blind will run you between $150 and $200.

Specifications

4 reflective mirror panels Constructed with unbreakable, waterproof plastic
Optional Extra 2 Panel Additions
Dimensions: 102”W x 46”H
Weight 12 lbs

Recommendations And Tips

*Purchase a high quality blind, it will last longer and you will be happy with your decision.

*If you want the best (cost, quality, comfort), purchase a Browning!

*Don’t purchase the cheap $50 special deer blind, these will only last you two to three years. The biggest problems with these blinds are the zippers. The material and zippers are of low quality and will tear out easily.

*Blinds where the door zips down to open and requires you to step over are not desirable. First, if you step on this part of the blind you will most likely damage or tear the zipper. Second, its not a safe practice to be stepping over this when carrying a weapon, as you can easily trip.

*Blinds will help block scent, but if you do not practice scent control (clothes and body) you can still be scented.

*Do not fully open all the windows in your blind, this increases your chances of being scented or seen. Control the light and scent by keeping windows shut, using only small peak holes, and one or two openings for shooting.

*If possible set your blind up 2 months before the season starts and use as much of the natural cover as possible. Take advantage of natural foliage to help conceal your blind.

*Wear black or dark clothing to help conceal you in your blind.

*When stalking Turkeys do not carry a blind, carry a decoy and when you have that Tom in sight use the decoy as a blind, approach by crawling with decoy in front.