With Spring just around the corner its time to start thinking about your turkey hunting equipment.
Yesterday I remembered that I needed to look into a “failure to feed” issue that my beloved Remington 11-87 has developed. It Just don’t quite seem to have enough oomph to shove the follow up round fully into the chamber.
This came to a head this past spring when it almost cost me a bird. I spent days and days hunting this one gobbler at the end of the season. An unusually tough bird, wouldn’t come to any call I used, would shy from even an AvianX decoy and had no real pattern other than he would come to this one long road once each day to check for hens that would dust there. However, there was no pattern to the time of day he arrived. I just made up my mind I was going kill him or end my season trying.
I was finally reduced to just waiting him out. I was about 3 hours in to the hunt one day when he stepped out in the road several hundred yards distant. I had a new plan this day however. The previous hunt he had shyed from the deks at about 100yds. This time I moved my hens 100yds back behind me! Sucked him right in!
Well, took my shot, knocked the bird down, he’s flopping like a gigged flounder, I stand up in the blind and he’s on his feet running all out? I throw up for a follow up shot and FTF! Foot race ensues, bird escapes. Lucky for me my coon hound Lacy was able to track the thing down for me and save the day!
Long story, that’s how we arrive at this point with the gun in a pile.
Googling the problem it appears that a corroded, gunked up action spring inside the stock is typically the issue. Sure enough, it was pretty nasty. Some wire wheel action to the spring and a 50cal brass brush to the tube and we’re good to go. For a little extra power I stretched the spring which is about 14″ long, 1″ inch. Of course while it was apart we cleaned everything else up and gave it a light coat of oil.
Got it all reassembled and seems to be working properly. I’ll run some shells thru it shortly just to make sure she’s good.
I am sure I have some other issues with my gear to address, my guess is that you do also. It time to take care of them and get everything squared away.
Best of Luck,
It was almost like Christmas today….except for the part that I already knew what was in the box……New Ol’ Tom Technical Turkey Gear, for Larry, Nice Stuff!
Though Turkey season is still months away it’s a good time to add some new gear for the up coming season.
I ran across a good deal on some new camo that I just couldn’t pass up. Ol’ Tom Makes some quality hunting clothing that is claimed to be geared for turkey hunters but in truth works well for any mild weather hunting conditions.
I picked up a couple sets of their 7 oz Interceptor pants and shirts and am pretty impressed with them.
Both the shirt and pants are a 7oz, 60/40 cotton/polyester blend and are treated with Interceptor Silver Technology that is an anti microbial treatment.
The Shirt is long sleeve with a button collar and double chest pockets. The shoulder and arm seems are triple stitched. I lean towards Mossy Oak pattern but settled for Realtree APG as that was what was available though a good runner up choice. The 7oz is maybe just a tad bit heavy but then again some morning can be pretty cool even here in Florida. Matter of fact I fairly regularly have to wear some light thermal bottoms.
I personally much prefer a standard long sleeve shirt with a button down collar to a tee shirt, plus it looks great.
The pants are a standard 6 pocket pant with draw string leg bottoms, side waste adjustments and brass zipper. The waste also has a button closer above the zipper. If I had a criticism on the pant it would be that the front pockets are just a bit shallow but then I try to avoid anything in them when I’m hunting anyway so not really a problem.
If your in the market for some new camo duds give these a look.
Best of Hunts
D A M N a Mosquito!!! Ticks and Chiggers too for that matter.
If you have spent any amount of time in the outdoors you’ve no doubt had a run in with one or all of these biting bugs. If you’re a turkey hunter…putting up with these guys comes with the territory. Biting insects pretty much go hand in hand with turkey hunting.
Most of my turkey hunting time, which is almost every day of the season, is spent hunting Osceolas in Florida. There may be some other places in North America that best Florida for biting, stinging bugs but were near the top of the list, guaranteed. This makes devising a plan to defeat the bugs a real must
The First Line of Defense!
Protective outer ware…..The Bug Tamer !
I Like to avoid using chemicals when ever I can. During dry years when the mosquitos are relatively tame, most of the time I can get by using a Bug Tamer jacket and no repellant. The Bug Tamer has a mesh outer shell with a large chord mesh interior that holds the outer shell off your skin just far enough that the mosquito’s beak can’t reach you. Over the years they have used a few different sizes on the mesh outer shell including some that are tight enough that a no-see um probably can’t get through. I have (3) different versions and camo styles myself.
I almost never use inspect repellant directly on my skin! I just don’t like it and it’s a poor choice for deer hunting anyway. Obviously, turkeys don’t smell so the odor part is not an issue. I consider this a last resort option.
Treat my clothing with an insecticide that is designed for this application. There are a number of companies that sell this product such as “Repel Permanone ” and “ARI Tick Stuff “. One name for it is “Permanone” but the active ingredient is “Permethrin”. As a word or caution….read the warning label on Permethrin….it is not to be applied to your skin! It is for treating clothing only!
Permethrin is the only pesticide approved by the EPA for this uses. When it is applied properly, permethrin binds tightly to the fabrics, resulting in little loss during washing and minimal transfer to the skin. It will reportedly last through multiple washings. Also, Permethrin is poorly absorbed through the skin, although sunscreens and other products may increase the rate of skin absorption.
Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, widely used as an insecticide, acaricide, and insect repellent. It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin.
The chemical binds to the fabric being treated and actually kills insects that come in contact with it. This stuff works incredibly well. You absolutely will not get a tick or chigger while wearing cloths that have been pre-treated with this product. Since I use a Bug Tamer jacket I only treat my pants and saves me a little money. However, If you sit down in high grass or come in contact with brush above the waste line, it’s possible you could get a bug on you that way. The jacket and treated pants will eliminate 99% of them anyway.
I have seen ticks literally jump off my pants trying to get away from this stuff! It’s a beautiful thing to see!
You can also treat your head net with the Permanone when the mosquitoes are extra bad. I try to avoid it but sometimes it’s a must. Mosquitoes react a little differently than ticks and it takes a few minutes of buzzing around before they realize your not something they want to eat and leave. You’ll sit down and get swarmed but after a few minutes you’ll realize, they’ve all disappeared!
Additionally, the U.S. Military has been using permethrin to treat combat uniforms for over 20 years in order to better protect soldiers from the risk and annoyance of biting insects.
With this combination you’ll be able to keep yourself pretty much bite free while hunting or scouting.
Oh yeah, your wife will appreciate it when you and your cloths come home, bug free!
Best of Hunts,
UPDATE on the Raspy Red Reactor,
Feb. 2, 2014
It looks as though Woodhaven has solved this sticky problem!
Not long after receiving the replacement call that had some of the same issues as the first, I received a follow up email from Scott Ellis himself wanting to verify that my problem had been resolved. Scott is the Head of the Pro Staff for Woodhaven Custom Calls and Pro Competition Caller. After relating my story over the phone and a number of email exchanges Scott had Woodhaven forward another replacement call and this one performed as designed.
-What Went Wrong?
Scott related that their tape supplier had received a bad batch of adhesive and that the problem has since been corrected! That was good news to me because I really liked the quality of the sound from the Red Reactor call. I was planning on this being my new go to call for this coming spring.
-What I Like About the Reactor?
As I stated in the beginning of this review, I’m no competition caller but I have been using diaphragm calls for my entire turkey hunting career. I have always had difficulty trying to blow a three or certainly a four reed call and just stayed away from them for this reason. Personally, I found that it took so much air to make a sound on them that I couldn’t really call soft on one. I first heard about the “Raspy Red Reactor” when I saw Scott Ellis demonstrating it on Youtube. He is an awesome caller and it really got my attention when I saw him reproducing every call in the book on this thing.
I am having a bit of trouble with a kee kee on this last reactor for some reason but hopefully I can over come it. Other than that, I can handle anything form soft tree calls to really aggressive cutting on this call. It purrs really well also.
I really appreciated and was impressed with Scott taking the time to follow up and make sure this problem was resolved. Matter of fact…..I just sent out an order for (2) more Red Reactors and (1) Yellow Venom. I’ll make a post on the Yellow Venom when it arrives.
If you need some help with your calling from someone that I would personally recommend as a top notch caller, contact Scott on face book or on his web site….http://www.scottellis-eliteturkeyhuntingandcalling.com/default.html. I would recommend you get a copy of his “Mouth Call Magic” DVD.
Best of Hunts,
June 10, 2013
Recently I was watching champion turkey caller Scott Ellis demonstrating his signature call, the Raspy Red Reactor by Woodhaven Custom Calls. Scott is an awesome caller and I was impressed with the sound of the call and the fact that he could make every sound made by a turkey using this call.
I decided I needed to give the Red Reactor a try. At $10+ it is at the upper end of the price range for diaphragm calls, especially given the short life expectancy of this type call when compared to other turkey calls.
My preferred call is the simple double reed call with no cuts and I have killed a pile of turkeys with one of these. As a matter of fact most of the turkeys i’ve taken have fallen to this call. However, this type call is a clear sounding call that produces very little, if any rasp. I also find a little rasp desirable. The rasp comes from the way the reed is cut or split.
On the next to the last weekend of the season, I cut some sign of a gobbler that had strutted down a dirt road on the edge of the lease. This bird had been heavily hunted and was only alive because he spent most of his time across the fence. The next morning I set up on him and I decided to put some “Raspy Red Reactor” on him. Exactly 2 minutes after hearing his first gobble, he was standing 30yds in front of me looking at my decoy! This Tom had been hunted hard by some pretty good hunters and was one of the few remaining mature Gobblers left in the area. I dubbed him “The Last of the Mohicans!” Click the title link for the whole story.
Though the sound of the call and its performance on the first field test was super impressive, I had a problem…..about the third time I used the call I noticed the tape was coming off.
I was torn on what to do with the call given the issue of the tape coming off. The call sounded so good I did not want to give it up for a replacement.
After the season was over I called Woodhaven to discuss the matter. They asked me to send the call back to them and they would provide a replacement at no charge.
Against my better judgement but thinking that the replacement call should sound basically the same, I shipped the call back to the manufacturer. After about a week and a half I received a package in the mail from Woodhaven……my new call!
I considered not using it until next season but couldn’t resist giving it a run. Boy was I disappointed! I could hardly do anything with the new call and the calls that I could get out of it did not sound that great.
That wasn’t the end of the bad news…..you guessed it, the tape was beginning to show signs of coming off after only an hour of use. I don’t know what to think about these calls but I can’t use them if the tape is going to keep coming off like this. I cannot ever remember running into this problem before. I will contact Woodhaven again to let them know about the problem but I can’t see myself wagering more money on one of their calls. When I’m guiding another hunter, I need to be confident in my call and know that if I have to go to a new call in the middle of the season, the new one will sound and preform just like the previous. So far, I am sorry to say that Woodhaven is not living up to that expectation.
So….the hunt for the best diaphragm call goes on.
Here are some photos of the original failing call. However, I must say that this did not seem to affect the sound of the call.
If there are any updates on this product I will post them as they develop.
If you have had any similiar issues, please add a comment to share with others.
If you would like more information on the “Raspy Red Reactor” call, just click on the link.
Man by his very nature, is a Hunter, a predator by design. To deny this fact is to be dishonest with ones self. Though the desire to hunt is instilled in all of us to varying degrees, the ability and knowledge of how to hunt, must be learned.
Starting your young hunter on the right foot is critical to their development and future as a hunter. Hunters above all and by far carry the majority of the burden for care of the wild places and the creatures that reside there. The recruiting of young hunters into the sport is very important to its future and thereby also, the future of the wild places.
Adventures in the Outdoors!
I can’t say that I have any real memories of my first hunts with my dad and grandfather. They were more than 40 years ago now. However, they served as the foundation that so many futures adventures would be built upon. What those experiences accomplished was to instill a love for the outdoors that I will carry with me to the end of days.
Dad couldn’t leave the house to go hunting or fishing without me, and it was a rare occasion when he did. There wasn’t any adventure in the outdoors that we did not embark on and we were in the woods or on the water on almost every day that he was not encumbered by work. We hunted anything that would run, trapped coons and wild hogs, ran trotlines, cut bee trees, gigged flounder, crabbed, cast netted mullet off the beach at night, fished both salt water and fresh, stayed out all night gigging frogs, shrimped, you name it, we did it!
All of these experiences served to instill a great appreciation for all things wild. I have hunted from the mountains of Idaho to the swamps of Florida and seen sights that no hand and canvas could match. I’ve have witnessed wild creatures embroiled in their most secrete of habits and of course, learned of both life and death. All experiences that I would not trade for the world!
If you are reading this article I guess I really don’t need to sell you on the benefits of spending time in the outdoors with your son or daughter. You should already have a handle on that, as well as the rewards that are to be gained. Though hunting may not necessarily be a skill we now need for survival, a more grounding experience you will not find. I do not feel that people that grow up involved with hunting and fishing have questions of what life is all about.
It should also be evident that I have a special passion for turkey hunting. The point of this article is to give you some tips that may help you plan a successful turkey hunting adventure that you can share with your young son or daughter thereby passing your knowledge to the next generation.
Hunting is an experience which has no end to what can be learned. The following information covers most of the basics and some advanced ideas in both gear and “how to” that will help to get the novice hunter started off on the right foot in the sport of turkey hunting.
What Is An Appropriate Gun For A Young Turkey Hunter?
Most young hunters will not be able to handle a full size shotgun. For very small hunters I would recommend a single shot 20ga shotgun in 3” magnum. They are some of the lightest weight style guns and have a simple action which are both equally important qualities for the novice.
Magnum turkey loads can kick like a mule! If the punch from a magnum load is a concern, a high brass 2 3/4″ shell could be used. For that matter even a low brass game load in 2 3/4″ could be used, however you should shorten the shot range accordingly based on how your gun patterns. I would start at 20 yds and advance until the the number of shot in the kill zone dropped to less than 5-8 pellets. That would be the guns max effective range.
For the mid-sized hunter a semi-auto or pump action 20 ga, in 3” magnum may fit and carry with them for a number of years. The semi-auto produces a little milder kick due to the gas operation which is a welcome result.
I would recommend practicing with 2 ¾” #8 dove shot but hunting with 3“ magnum in #5 or #6 shot. In the excitement of shooting a turkey, the extra kick from the magnum load shouldn’t be noticed but it surely will be at the range!
The gun should be a youth model gun with the shortest barrel length available. The extra weight of a longer barrel is difficult for most youths to handle. The shortened butt stock is typically mandatory also. Most Youth stocks have a LOP (length of pull) of 13” but most could be altered if necessary.
My 10 year old daughter went on her first turkey hunt this year and since I had neglected to deal with the long stock issue of her weapon until the last minute, I had to build a cut down stock to fit her Remington 870 from a piece of 2X8 yellow pine I had in the shop. I could not bare the thought of cutting off the walnut original. I robbed the softest butt pad I could find from another shotgun and the job as complete. The little 16 ga. Pump fit her like a glove and she downed her first turkey within an hour of the coming of daylight, on the opening mornings hunt.
I would also recommend having the youth hunter practice on a life sized target to learn what the sight picture should look like when the moment of truth comes. You can easily sketch out your own full size turkey silhouette onto a piece of cardboard or even purchase some pre-printed copies.
What Is The Best Choice In Camo Clothing?
Camo for youths is not as readily available as adult sized camo and is available in less of a variety of patterns.
Also, there are not a lot of camo patterns with a substantial amounts of green in the pattern for spring turkey hunting. Currently my personal preference is either RealTree’s – “all-purpose green” or Mossy Oak’s – “Obsession“. It can be a good idea to use a browner pattern on the upper body as this will blend with the trunk of a tree better. I personally like to miss-match my camo, using a different pattern on top.
Mossy Oak Obsession®
Realtree APG ®
Realtree Xtra ® Green Camo
Of course turkey hunting requires top to bottom total camouflage so you will need gloves and a head net that fits as well. I prefer a ¾, mesh type head net as a rule. I always prefer to cut the tips off the fingers of my gloves. At least for the thumb, index and middle finger’s. The others can remain and do not hamper your feel or use of your fingers.
If there is a thing I hate, it’s wet feet! A pair of light walking boots that are waterproof are mandatory in my book. I do not like rubber boots if I can avoid them but when hunting wet woods they are pretty valuable gear and beat wet feet. Rubber boots tend to also be heavy but the worst problem is stepping in to deep and over topping the boot! They don’t dry out.
Though I don’t personally give them a second thought…..snakes may be a consideration when hunting in the south. Turkeys here are typically associated with wet areas, particularly in the early season. A young hunter with little woods experience may not pick out that coiled moccasin before he steps on it. A pair of snake boots or gators might be worth the parents piece of mind.
The photo above is of a Moccasin I ran across while turkey hunting this year. This snake is more dangerous than the average as he is about to begin shedding his skin. Though difficult to see in this photo his eye is beginning to take on a blue hue and that is the first indication that they are about to shed. When this happens their vision is impaired and they are less apt to run. This is a snake that would let you walk right up to him and then strike with no warning.
I would also recommend a turkey vest for the young hunter. Having his or her own gear just like dad will go a long way towards making them feel a part of the hunt as opposed to just an observer. I guess there is a cool factor in being completely outfitted with all the necessities. Of course a dry seat is of utmost importance and a waterproof cushion is a must, at a minimum.
Which Turkey Calls Are Best Suited For A Young Hunter?
I would definitely recommend you purchase your young turkey hunter his or her own call. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had by mastering your own call. Also, it gives the young hunter something to do when trying to out wait a longbeard. Allowing the young hunter the ability to call affords him or her a larger more active roll in the hunt. A box call is probably best but a slate or glass call is also a good choice. I would consider some of the small diameter slate type calls to fit the youths hands better. One of my favorite box calls is the Lynch box. The smaller single sided, Fool Proof, model 101 call would be a great choice that he or she would never out grow.
Children have a heightened ability for learning and if your son or daughter expresses the desire to learn to use a diaphragm call that would be an outstanding achievement and worth the effort. However, they should master all the basic calls on a box or slate call first so they have a feel for not only the sound they are trying to mimic but the cadence as well. The diaphragm call is an advanced and much more difficult call to master but comes with some real advantages.
If you decide to give a diaphragm call a try, depending on their build, you may need to select a small frame type call made for women and youths. I would start out with a simple, single or double reed type call. They typically have little rasp to them and are a clear sounding call but easier to learn on. I can’t tell you how many turkeys I have taken with a standard twin reed call! it’s a pile!
I would also recommend outfitting them with an owl and crow call. They are easy to learn to use and there is nothing like hearing a distant gobbler respond to your call from his roost. Even if they cannot quit get the turkey call down in time for their first hunt they can at least experience the excitement of fooling a tom into a response with a locator call.
Things to Consider When Planning a Youth Hunt!
Another very important consideration when planning to take a young hunter afield for their first hunt is to remember that they have a shorter attention span than an adult. They will not have developed the drive and enthusiasm for the hunt that you may have. A 3 hour stint in a turkey blind with nothing to do may seem more like an endurance test than a enjoyable adventure to a beginning hunter.
When afield, it is important to not just take the prospective hunter hunting, but to make an adventure out of the entire occasion, teaching them everything about the natural world that you can. The average person knows little of the world that exists in the woods and on the water and therefore can never really understand or appreciate the love for the outdoors a hunter develops over time. Doing this will keep their mind occupied and fill the day with interest.
It is also important to remember that your son or daughter does not have your stamina for a 5 mile prospecting adventure. It is best to start off with relatively easy hunts and preferably in a dry area.
Keep in mind the comfort of your young hunter. This is another important aspect that will make the hunting experience a failure or success. Of course, if you are hunting from an enclosed blind you will need chairs to keep you high enough to see out and shoot. You may be there a while…..get a chair with a back and avoid stools. A prolonged and uncomfortable position could ruin the hunt.
A compact pair of binoculars can also be a big plus. Searching for game with his binoculars is a good way to pass the time. Also, there is usually almost always some kind of bird or animal activity to watch, even if only a fluttering redbird.
How to Close the Deal – Taking the Shot!
This is one place where you can make or break the new hunter. You want to stack the deck on his side as much as possible. Hunting a location with few turkeys is not the best way to start off. You want them to be entertained and see as much game as possible.
Consider their shooting limitations. Set your hide for a relatively close shot when possible, 20 yds is ideal. From your target practice, He should already have a good feel for the sight picture he will be looking for.
One thing that can make a big difference in the enjoyment of the hunt and the success is an enclosed blind. A blind affords the young hunter the ability to move a little without scaring off the turkeys. Little things like being able to thump a mosquito when necessary helps keep the hunt from being more like a torture test.
A shooting stick can also be a big help for smaller hunters that have difficulty with the weight of the gun. As a rule, the gun may have to be held in shooting position for some time before a shot at the turkey is offered. The young hunter can’t be rushed on the shot.
One last important thing to consider when turkey hunting is how to actually sit during the hunt!
Unless you have some physical limitations that prevent this, you should always sit with one knee up, the left for a right handed shooter, with the gun resting on your knee. Of course this does not apply if you are in an enclosed blind. For a right handed shooter you should sit so that the birds approach is left of center. Sitting in this manner provides for the least amount of movement prior to the shot. Hunter movement is the number one reason for missed shot opportunities when turkey hunting.
If you are hunting with a very young hunter you shoulder consider having them sit between your legs. You can whisper instructions readily and even help them with the gun a little if necessary.
Last, but one of the most important issues with this sport is SAFETY! Hopefully your young hunter comes to love and appreciate the outdoors as much as you and these early trips afield will shape how they handle themselves and a weapon, probably for the rest of their life. It is extremely important to teach them all of the aspects of both gun and personal safety. I find that the best way to accomplish this is with repetition. Each time your son or daughter handles a gun you should be reminding them what to do or quizzing them with questions. For example, just before they pick up their gun I like to ask…..o.k., what’s the first thing you need to do when you pick up a gun? Then comes….Where should your barrel always be pointing? Eventually gun safety will become second nature and done without need for thought.
With some preplanning and a few tools of the trade your son or daughters first hunts can be an enjoyable experience that will provide memories for years to come.
Passing on the knowledge and love for the outdoors is the best way I know, to ensure that our hunting heritage is preserved for the future.
If there are any questions or advise you need help with that I did not cover here, don’t hesitate to contact me using the contact form. I’d be glad to help in any way that I can. Any comments that you may have are greatly appreciated as well.
Best of Hunts,
If you are on my site you are probably an avid hunter like myself and I expect you are taking advantage of the use of a trail camera for monitoring game movement, etc.
I have amassed a collection of (8) trail camera that I am currently using. They are especially useful when it comes to turkey hunting, particularly the time lapse units that do not rely on motion to trigger the camera. You can watch a large portion of a field, road, pasture, etc. and get a good idea of when and where the birds are coming and going.
Of course you are going to need SD memory cards for the camera to record the photos too. I like to have at least (2) cards for each camera so I can pull one and install a fresh one all at the same time with no down time for the camera.
With all those cards I occasionally run into a problem with one. Recently I had the lock fall out of one of my Sandisk Extreme cards. When this happens you cannot write to the card or erase any of the photos from it.
The card on the left has it’s lock in place and the card on the right is missing its lock!
An easy repair for this is to cut about a 3/8″ wide section of scotch tape and wrap it over the lock area being careful not to cover the copper contacts on the back of the card.
I pulled this strip of tape off using the cutter on a tape dispenser but I would recommend you cut it with scissors for a clean edge that is less likely to snag in the card slot.
Install the tape from the back side so as not to cover the contacts and wrap it tightly over to the opposite side.
The camera of computer will now read and write to the card normally.
You could also fill the lock slot with a stiff epoxy or superglue a strip of plastic in place to simulate the lock for a more permanent repair.
I recently purchased a new hunting blind and was impressed with both the price and construction and wanted to share this info. with everyone. After a lot of research and consideration I have decided to go with Barronett Blinds-Grounder 250 blind. It is a 5 hub design and the setup and take down is unbelievably simple and quick.
Of course, if you are going to sit in a blind for any amount of time and be comfortable, you need a chair of some kind. My critera was for a light weight chair with a back support and I decided on the Alps Outdoors – Rhino Stool. It is a 3 legged chair and It only weighs 5lbs.
I had had been using a coil up blind but the new 5 hub design is a snap to set up and take down compared to that. You just pull on the tag at the center of each panel until it pops into place. Pop the roof into place and your ready to go! It only takes a few seconds.
The blind has one large window on each side with a center vertical zipper that will allow you to just open the left or right half of each window.
One of the nicest features of this blind is its light weight! At only 14lbs. it is one of the lightest blinds you can get of comparable size. That is important when you consider all the other gear you will packing in along with the blind.
The blind has a lot of room inside and measures 59″ x 59″ square by 67″ high!
I was pretty impressed with both the price and construction and compares to other blinds that cost considerably more.
If you want more information on this blinds or are looking to purchase one, just click on the Amazon link below.
Best of Hunts,
UP DATE 3-32-13
I have gotten a few hunts under my belt with the Grounder Blind and have a few comments to add to the post that may help you.
So far the blind is performing well with no break-downs or failures. However, I am coming to realize two things that bother me about the blind. The first is that the windows are really to large. When fully zipped down the window openings are really large and let a little to much light into the blind. You can over come the issue by leaving the outside mesh zipped at the top and pulling the Velcro attachment away from the sill at the bottom and folding it up. You will need some small clips or cloths pins to hold it at the right height but it works well and makes a big difference!
The second is that the window sills are just a bit to high. If you are a short person say 5’6″ or so and sit in a 16-17″ high chair it feels like you are almost eye lever to the sill if you sit back in the chair. I have the 3 leg rhino chair that is about 20 inches high so that fixes the problem for the most part. When videoing or shooting I have to sit out at the edge of the chair and very upright. You will have to be very careful if shooting a bow that you do not catch the edge of the blind.
That said, I still think you get more blind for the money compared to most other manufacturers and it has a lot of room. I guided a pair of hog hunter recently and these were big boys! We all fit in the blind without to much trouble.
I have been considering a new hunting and filming blind. After a lot of looking around and consideration, I decided on a Barronett Blinds-Grounder 250 blind. It is a 5 hub design and the setup and take down is as fast as it gets. You can set the blind up in as little as 10 seconds.
The bottom of the window opening is a little high for me to shoot a bow out of from a kneeling position but a taller person probably would not have a problem.
To solve this issue I decided a light weight chair would solve this issue for me and provide some comfort while waiting out a long beard.
I decided to go with the “Alps Outdoors – Rhino Stool”. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and only weighs in at 5lbs.
This chair provides reasonable comfortable without excess weight to pack in.
If you are looking for a hunting chair I would definitely recommend it. Here is a link where you can get more information or order one for yourself;
Best of hunts,
I have been hunting turkey for many years now. During this time I have spent more money than I care to remember (or admit to my wife) on gear and equipment in pursuit of gobbling turkeys. I can’t tell you how many turkey calls I have purchased that have gone by the way side, never to again grace my turkey hunting vest. The worst part was, a great deal of them never even made it into the vest! I guess it was easy to justify a few bucks each spring for something that held the promise of being a grunt better than what I was using at the time. After all, with all the other money we spend to be able to participate in this sport, what’s another $10-$20 bucks for a hot new call or other gadget that could give you an edge against a wary adversary. I guess there is nothing wrong with this if you don’t get to carried away.
However, after a few years you will eventually come to the same realization that I did…most new gear is much like fishing lures, They are designed to hook more fishermen than fish. So it is with turkey hunting equipment. This is not to say that there are not some great new calls or other turkey hunting paraphernalia brought to market each year.
Here‘s the deal, you can only use one or two turkey calls at a time and you can only carry a limited amount of equipment afield. More importantly, with time and experience you will “cull the head” when it come to your gear, until you have developed the essentials that work for you and your style of hunting turkeys. At this point, you should have in your arsenal, 2-3 key turkey calls, several locator calls and misc. gear that hold a permanent position in your tool box. This setup will cover 90% of your hunting. Here is the key point in all this; it will be battle proven gear that you have confidence in. This cannot be understated! There is no sense in changing what works!
Now, if you find you have a weak link in your tools, by all means, seek out a new piece of gear that will be an upgrade to that key item. I would recommend taking the advice for that new acquisition from someone you know has experience with it. Most new gear such as calls, cannot be tested before you buy them! In the middle of a battle is no place to discover your new hot call has a flaw and fails under pressure!
-What Gear Do You Really Need, To be an Effective Turkey Hunter?
This list would be much shorter than you would expect. If you have been following my articles, you have heard me make the statement that a “master turkey hunter” does not even need a turkey call to be effective at harvesting turkeys. The only gear you cannot live without is your gun, camo and a locator call. With a little practice, hopefully you can get to the point where you can use your natural voice for “owling” and cull one more item from your vest. My best advice here, in general, is to keep your gear limited to the essentials. In up coming articles I will give you some in depth and highly detailed information on exactly what gear I pack around and more importantly….why!
I am not telling you my way is the only way but rather, I am providing you with a proven, successful template that you can use as a base to develop your own “essential gear list.”
Unfortunately, I find much of the information I read about turkey hunting is very general in nature and the author is either not experienced enough to explain in detail why he uses certain items or he just may not be the kind of purpose driven person that scrutinizes every detail of each piece of his equipment. That kind of information will not serve you well. Nor can such an author be taken as an authority. I will show you the where, when, why and my reasoning behind any advise I offer. This way, you can benefit from my experience and make your own intelligent, informed decisions. “Blind followers are easily led astray!” (from the book of Larry)
The following is a general list of items that I consider necessary to ensure a successful hunt.
-The Turkey Hunters Essential Gear List:
-Camo Clothing appropriate for the spring season
-Head net and gloves (fingerless preferred)
-Turkey Hunting Vest with a fold up, waterproof seat cushion
-Binoculars with bino system
-Turkey Calls (diaphragm and box call with chalk)
-Turkey locator calls, Crow & Owl
– Pruning Shears, Small light weight
-Knife, (not to large), a 3″ blade is perfect.
-Flashlight, light weight, the smaller the better!
-Good pair of light weight waterproof boots!
-Tick & chigger repellant (preferably with permethrin )
-Camera with remote or self timer
In up coming articles I will take an in depth look at each item, tell you what I use and why. Some may consider it TMI, (too much information) but it is what makes the difference between a guy that kills a turkey once in a while and a turkeys worst nightmare!
-Tailor Your Gear Around Your Turkey Hunting Style!
This is another key point. One box of tools is not enough to handle all repair jobs! If it was it would be so large you couldn’t move it. However, you can cover most situations with a box that you can carry in one hand. Such is the case when it comes to turkey hunting. You may go on a hunt where conditions dictate a different type of call, maybe a high pitch box for windy hunts or a diaphragm or waterproof slate for wet weather, at times maybe a blind for setting up in the middle of a field.
If you tried to include enough gear to cover all situations you might encounter while hunting turkeys, you would need three men and a boy just to haul it all around. Forget about mobility, which is where the most exciting hunting adventures take place, in my opinion. Rather, your strategy should be to have a base set of gear that will cover most hunts, then add or substitute other items as conditions dictate. Remember, if you can get by without it, leave it in the truck! Don’t sacrifice stealth and mobility for extra gear.
-Why it is Important to Keep Your Turkey Hunting Gear to a Minimum!
If your style of turkey hunting is to sit in a blind for hours on end in one location, then the amount of gear you have to pack in is not as great an issue as for a “run and gun” type hunter. You would not think that a small knife or metal pruning shears, etc. would make much of an impact in your vest but when you combine all the basic gear you really need, It is significant and the weight really adds up quickly.
However, though the overall weight of your gear is important, the real issue is the bulk! When you fold up several collapsible turkey decoys in your vest back, maybe a fly down wing, camera gear, etc, plus a fold up seat cushion, before you know it you feel like the pills berry dough boy.
The problem with this is that you trade away all your stealth in favor of gear. This is a serious mistake for a highly mobile turkey hunter. If you doubt me on this, grab your gun and light camo’s and go slip around in some relatively brushy woods for a little bit, then gear up with all the accessories you would like, (don’t forget the decoys) and try it again! You’ll be hung up on every little bush you pass by. You have just made the two greatest errors a turkey hunter can make, noise and movement! This has educated and saved more turkey’s lives than all other mistakes combined.
If you will gear down and keep it to just the essentials, you will be a far more effective turkey hunter and I guarantee you your success rate will go up. Just select the gear that best compliments your hunting style, tweak it a little as experience dictates and stick with that. Don’t get caught up in trying every trendy gadget that comes on the market. Remember, you were born with the greatest advantage that tops all others …… ….your superior intelligence. First learn to rely on this, it will kill you more turkeys than gadgets ever will!
Best of hunts,