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  • 06 Jun 2011
    The whitetail’s “second rut” and how to bowhunt it successfully. by Steve Bartylla   The second rut spurs another round of buck activity. Put the second rut to work for you.            In my younger days, I used to feel tremendous envy while reading stories about the second rut. Growing up in Northern Wisconsin, I believed this was a magical time saved only for those in the states that fell below my own. Truth be told, I was wrong. Unlike the southernmost states, where once the first does are bred some form rutting activity can be seen for months after, breeding is much more condensed in the north. Here, the timing of spring birth demands that the vast majority of does are impregnated in a fairly tight window of time. If she is bred to early her fawns may be born during the tail end of harsh weather conditions. If born while snow still covers the ground or in single digit temps, the odds of a fawn’s survival are drastically reduced. The same is true if the fawn is born late. In that case, it doesn’t have the time to grow as much before the hormones kick in that halt growth and inspire fat production. If the snow depths are significant that winter, not only is being small a handicap for travel, it results the fawn’s inability to reach as high to eat the buds on trees. The result is an animal that must expend more energy to travel, yet isn’t able to compete as well for nutrition. Obviously, that is a bad combination when straddling the line between life and death. Now, all of this must be combined with the fact that, over the course of a year, northern deer can’t intake the same potential amount of nutrition as the deer that live in areas that don’t have long-term snow cover. For example, a fawn born even in Illinois has a fighting chance of being able to feed on greens, acorns and the waste in farm fields until some point in January. In much of the northern herd’s range, not only are there vast areas void of any farming, but the much earlier average snow fall often buries any morsel of food on ground level, leaving less nutritious woody browse as their best choice. With the healthiest fawns making up most of the second rut in the Upper Midwest and point further north, the increased nutrition that occurs as we travel to the mid regions of the US allows a higher percentage of fawns the ability to come into estrus. Of course, in the parts of the deer’s southern range where droughts and poor soil conditions hamper the available level of nutrition a reduction in the percentage of fawns that come into estrus occurs, as well. Rather amazingly, even with all the hurdles facing the northern deer, some fawns typically do come into estrus each year. Even in the UP of Michigan, where excessive snowfall and frigid temps are the norm, an average of 5% of fawns come into estrus early in their first winter. The point is that, despite my youthful belief that the second rut didn’t exist in the northern regions, it does. It’s just far less noticeable than in areas that experience milder winters. Another factor that helps mask the North’s second rut is the drastic reduction in rutting buck activity. Much like fawns that try to survive their first winter, the bucks are also handicapped. Having burnt 25-30% body weight during the rigors of the rut, mature bucks must now contend with trying to survive winter. Because their fat reserves are depleted, they simply can no longer afford to invest their energies covering miles and miles of ground each day. If they did, chances are that it would cost them their lives. Instead, they’re primarily focused on conserving energy. Commonly, this involves in setting up reduced home ranges that are hinged upon the best remaining food source. Luckily for their chances of catching second rut breeding opportunities, the family groups are now concentrated around them, as well. Because of that, they can spend most of their day resting and still check a good number of fawns at the late afternoon food source. When one of the local girls enters womanhood, you can bet that the area’s bucks will be competing to win her favors. Of course, with freezing temps and snow cover remaining for even a week being rare in the southern regions, the deer residing there don’t face the same obstacles. In the South, adult does have the luxury of being able to successfully produce fawns born very early or late. Because of that range in birth dates, along with a host of other contributing factors, does are bred for a much longer window of time, blurring the lines between a first and second rut essentially into one elongated rut. To be continued—Put this knowledge to use in Part 2: Hunting Strategies   Courtesy Steve Bartylla.  
    1180 Posted by Chris Avena
  • The whitetail’s “second rut” and how to bowhunt it successfully. by Steve Bartylla   The second rut spurs another round of buck activity. Put the second rut to work for you.            In my younger days, I used to feel tremendous envy while reading stories about the second rut. Growing up in Northern Wisconsin, I believed this was a magical time saved only for those in the states that fell below my own. Truth be told, I was wrong. Unlike the southernmost states, where once the first does are bred some form rutting activity can be seen for months after, breeding is much more condensed in the north. Here, the timing of spring birth demands that the vast majority of does are impregnated in a fairly tight window of time. If she is bred to early her fawns may be born during the tail end of harsh weather conditions. If born while snow still covers the ground or in single digit temps, the odds of a fawn’s survival are drastically reduced. The same is true if the fawn is born late. In that case, it doesn’t have the time to grow as much before the hormones kick in that halt growth and inspire fat production. If the snow depths are significant that winter, not only is being small a handicap for travel, it results the fawn’s inability to reach as high to eat the buds on trees. The result is an animal that must expend more energy to travel, yet isn’t able to compete as well for nutrition. Obviously, that is a bad combination when straddling the line between life and death. Now, all of this must be combined with the fact that, over the course of a year, northern deer can’t intake the same potential amount of nutrition as the deer that live in areas that don’t have long-term snow cover. For example, a fawn born even in Illinois has a fighting chance of being able to feed on greens, acorns and the waste in farm fields until some point in January. In much of the northern herd’s range, not only are there vast areas void of any farming, but the much earlier average snow fall often buries any morsel of food on ground level, leaving less nutritious woody browse as their best choice. With the healthiest fawns making up most of the second rut in the Upper Midwest and point further north, the increased nutrition that occurs as we travel to the mid regions of the US allows a higher percentage of fawns the ability to come into estrus. Of course, in the parts of the deer’s southern range where droughts and poor soil conditions hamper the available level of nutrition a reduction in the percentage of fawns that come into estrus occurs, as well. Rather amazingly, even with all the hurdles facing the northern deer, some fawns typically do come into estrus each year. Even in the UP of Michigan, where excessive snowfall and frigid temps are the norm, an average of 5% of fawns come into estrus early in their first winter. The point is that, despite my youthful belief that the second rut didn’t exist in the northern regions, it does. It’s just far less noticeable than in areas that experience milder winters. Another factor that helps mask the North’s second rut is the drastic reduction in rutting buck activity. Much like fawns that try to survive their first winter, the bucks are also handicapped. Having burnt 25-30% body weight during the rigors of the rut, mature bucks must now contend with trying to survive winter. Because their fat reserves are depleted, they simply can no longer afford to invest their energies covering miles and miles of ground each day. If they did, chances are that it would cost them their lives. Instead, they’re primarily focused on conserving energy. Commonly, this involves in setting up reduced home ranges that are hinged upon the best remaining food source. Luckily for their chances of catching second rut breeding opportunities, the family groups are now concentrated around them, as well. Because of that, they can spend most of their day resting and still check a good number of fawns at the late afternoon food source. When one of the local girls enters womanhood, you can bet that the area’s bucks will be competing to win her favors. Of course, with freezing temps and snow cover remaining for even a week being rare in the southern regions, the deer residing there don’t face the same obstacles. In the South, adult does have the luxury of being able to successfully produce fawns born very early or late. Because of that range in birth dates, along with a host of other contributing factors, does are bred for a much longer window of time, blurring the lines between a first and second rut essentially into one elongated rut. To be continued—Put this knowledge to use in Part 2: Hunting Strategies   Courtesy Steve Bartylla.  
    Jun 06, 2011 1180
  • 31 May 2011
    ROCKLEDGE -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were called to a home in Rockledge on Wednesday after they were told a 10-year-old boy dragged a 6-foot alligator home from a nearby canal. Michael Dasher said he was fishing with his friends from the side of the canal, near Green Road and Fiske Boulevard, when something caught the hook. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   Michael Dasher said he was fishing with his friends from the side of the canal,  near Green Road and Fiske Boulevard, when something caught the hook --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The line snapped," Michael said.  His friend, Kentral Welch, said he thought Michael caught a big one.  "I thought it was a really big fish until I saw his face," Kentral said.  The boys said Michael hooked a 6-foot alligator. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The boy was somehow able to capture the animal, which wildlife officials measured at 5 feet 9 inches long,  and drag it home without getting seriously injured. He did have a few minor scratches on his hands and arms. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael said the alligator ran at him, so he started hitting it with sticks. He said at one point he jumped on the back of the beast.  Michael was somehow able to capture the animal, which wildlife officials measured at 5 feet 9 inches long, and drag it home without getting seriously injured. He did have a few minor scratches on his hands and arms. His grandfather, Benjie Cox, said when he saw the alligator in the front yard he called the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and wildlife officials.  Cox said after he gave Michael a stern talk about what he had done, the officers gave him one, too. He said they told him that if he was older, he would have been arrested and charged with a felony. Cox said the alligator seemed like it was in bad shape, but wildlife officers said they were planning to release it back into the St. John's River.  Michael said he learned his lesson and will run if he ever sees another alligator.  
    1165 Posted by Chris Avena
  • ROCKLEDGE -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were called to a home in Rockledge on Wednesday after they were told a 10-year-old boy dragged a 6-foot alligator home from a nearby canal. Michael Dasher said he was fishing with his friends from the side of the canal, near Green Road and Fiske Boulevard, when something caught the hook. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   Michael Dasher said he was fishing with his friends from the side of the canal,  near Green Road and Fiske Boulevard, when something caught the hook --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The line snapped," Michael said.  His friend, Kentral Welch, said he thought Michael caught a big one.  "I thought it was a really big fish until I saw his face," Kentral said.  The boys said Michael hooked a 6-foot alligator. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The boy was somehow able to capture the animal, which wildlife officials measured at 5 feet 9 inches long,  and drag it home without getting seriously injured. He did have a few minor scratches on his hands and arms. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael said the alligator ran at him, so he started hitting it with sticks. He said at one point he jumped on the back of the beast.  Michael was somehow able to capture the animal, which wildlife officials measured at 5 feet 9 inches long, and drag it home without getting seriously injured. He did have a few minor scratches on his hands and arms. His grandfather, Benjie Cox, said when he saw the alligator in the front yard he called the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and wildlife officials.  Cox said after he gave Michael a stern talk about what he had done, the officers gave him one, too. He said they told him that if he was older, he would have been arrested and charged with a felony. Cox said the alligator seemed like it was in bad shape, but wildlife officers said they were planning to release it back into the St. John's River.  Michael said he learned his lesson and will run if he ever sees another alligator.  
    May 31, 2011 1165
  • 27 May 2011
    Choose the right kind of scent and technique to attract and stop a buck in his tracks. by Jack Young Most hunting-related scent products are designed to eliminate human odors. Four scent categories include: masking, odor-adsorbing, odor-eliminating, and oxidizing. Each has advantages, disadvantages, and preferred applications. Masking Scents Masking scents are most misunderstood. Covering one scent with another is a poor approach to odor management. Game possess olfactory senses many thousands times better than humans. Dousing oneself with masking scents means game animals simply smell you and the cover scent. Adsorbing Scents Odor-adsorbing products are better solution, but after active ingredients (baking soda, activated carbon, Abscents crystals/powder) reach carrying capacity they will adsorb no more. They’re certainly effective but require frequent recharging. Odor-Elimination/Oxidization Odor-eliminating or oxidizing products prove most effective on a wider variety of odor sources and have become the industry standard. Active ingredients chemically neutralize or oxidize odors. In the first case key chemicals react with odor molecules to turn them into inert, odorless compounds. Oxidizers quickly accelerate the break-down of odor compounds to make them disappear. Scent Lures And Tools Unlike masking or odor-eliminating scent-control products designed to camouflage game-spooking odors, bowhunting lures are meant to attract attention. These contain urine, glands, or hormones to arouse sexual interest from game. Some also contain “curiosity” agents that many deer feel inclined to investigate. The latter are used for early seasons preceding the rut. In general, game lures, like “doe-in-heat concoctions, are most effective during rut periods when males seek female companionship. Many over-zealous bowhunters dump entire bottles of lure around stand sites hoping to attract full-out charges from love-crazed bucks. It could happen, but it is highly unlikely. Effective approaches to sex-lure attractants include creating drag-lines to bring trailing bucks within range and placing scent pods to stop animals in desired shooting lanes. Regarding drag-lines, take care to assure that your human scent doesn’t mix with the scent line. Tie a clean length of cord to a long switch, a wick, or clean cloth saturated with lure attached to the end. Hold the branch at arm’s length. This distance, plus the added reach of the switch, will help leave your drag-lines free of human scent. If you know that your boots are completely scent-free, you can apply lure scent to your boot soles and trail in. Create a multitude of drag-lines around stand sites. Each line vectoring toward your stand can help bring a rutting whitetail buck in for a closer shot. Too, by paying attention to wind direction, you might actually be able direct animals away from your downwind quarter and avoid being winded. Scents Can Stop And Distract Using scents or lures to stop or distract animals is also effective. Place scent-charged wicks or scent pods upwind of your position to create standing shots at preoccupied animals. Placing scent pods behind stumps, tree trunks, or rocks might also stop deer while also blocking their vision, allowing you a chance to draw your bow undetected. Scents of all kinds can prove to be highly effective tools to regular bowhunting success. Use today’s array of scents to disguise your own scent, to better position animals for the shot, but do so wisely. Avoid desperate measures and always, always watch that wind to prevent educating animals in your hunting area—or sending them into retreat at the moment of truth.
    1546 Posted by Chris Avena
  • Choose the right kind of scent and technique to attract and stop a buck in his tracks. by Jack Young Most hunting-related scent products are designed to eliminate human odors. Four scent categories include: masking, odor-adsorbing, odor-eliminating, and oxidizing. Each has advantages, disadvantages, and preferred applications. Masking Scents Masking scents are most misunderstood. Covering one scent with another is a poor approach to odor management. Game possess olfactory senses many thousands times better than humans. Dousing oneself with masking scents means game animals simply smell you and the cover scent. Adsorbing Scents Odor-adsorbing products are better solution, but after active ingredients (baking soda, activated carbon, Abscents crystals/powder) reach carrying capacity they will adsorb no more. They’re certainly effective but require frequent recharging. Odor-Elimination/Oxidization Odor-eliminating or oxidizing products prove most effective on a wider variety of odor sources and have become the industry standard. Active ingredients chemically neutralize or oxidize odors. In the first case key chemicals react with odor molecules to turn them into inert, odorless compounds. Oxidizers quickly accelerate the break-down of odor compounds to make them disappear. Scent Lures And Tools Unlike masking or odor-eliminating scent-control products designed to camouflage game-spooking odors, bowhunting lures are meant to attract attention. These contain urine, glands, or hormones to arouse sexual interest from game. Some also contain “curiosity” agents that many deer feel inclined to investigate. The latter are used for early seasons preceding the rut. In general, game lures, like “doe-in-heat concoctions, are most effective during rut periods when males seek female companionship. Many over-zealous bowhunters dump entire bottles of lure around stand sites hoping to attract full-out charges from love-crazed bucks. It could happen, but it is highly unlikely. Effective approaches to sex-lure attractants include creating drag-lines to bring trailing bucks within range and placing scent pods to stop animals in desired shooting lanes. Regarding drag-lines, take care to assure that your human scent doesn’t mix with the scent line. Tie a clean length of cord to a long switch, a wick, or clean cloth saturated with lure attached to the end. Hold the branch at arm’s length. This distance, plus the added reach of the switch, will help leave your drag-lines free of human scent. If you know that your boots are completely scent-free, you can apply lure scent to your boot soles and trail in. Create a multitude of drag-lines around stand sites. Each line vectoring toward your stand can help bring a rutting whitetail buck in for a closer shot. Too, by paying attention to wind direction, you might actually be able direct animals away from your downwind quarter and avoid being winded. Scents Can Stop And Distract Using scents or lures to stop or distract animals is also effective. Place scent-charged wicks or scent pods upwind of your position to create standing shots at preoccupied animals. Placing scent pods behind stumps, tree trunks, or rocks might also stop deer while also blocking their vision, allowing you a chance to draw your bow undetected. Scents of all kinds can prove to be highly effective tools to regular bowhunting success. Use today’s array of scents to disguise your own scent, to better position animals for the shot, but do so wisely. Avoid desperate measures and always, always watch that wind to prevent educating animals in your hunting area—or sending them into retreat at the moment of truth.
    May 27, 2011 1546
  • 25 May 2011
    The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to open new areas east of the Hudson River to bear hunting and establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone starting this year.   ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to open new areas east of the Hudson River to bear hunting and establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone starting this year. DEC Commissioner Joe Martens says black bears are thriving in New York and have expanded their range considerably in recent years. He said expanding bear hunting will help ease homeowner and farm conflicts with bears. The proposed changes would open bear hunting in all of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Rensselaer, and Washington counties, and the portion of Rockland that was not already open for black bear hunting. Public comments on the changes will be accepted by DEC through July 5. ___ Online: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html
    1058 Posted by Chris Avena
  • The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to open new areas east of the Hudson River to bear hunting and establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone starting this year.   ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to open new areas east of the Hudson River to bear hunting and establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone starting this year. DEC Commissioner Joe Martens says black bears are thriving in New York and have expanded their range considerably in recent years. He said expanding bear hunting will help ease homeowner and farm conflicts with bears. The proposed changes would open bear hunting in all of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Rensselaer, and Washington counties, and the portion of Rockland that was not already open for black bear hunting. Public comments on the changes will be accepted by DEC through July 5. ___ Online: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html
    May 25, 2011 1058
  • 03 May 2011
    By BDN staff reports  SANFORD, Maine — A 44-year-old Sanford man was shot while hunting Monday near Hollis, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has reported. According to MDIF&W, Mark Lemieux, 44, of Sanford suffered injuries to his legs, chest, head and face. The gunshot was fired by his uncle, Gerard Lemieux, 69, of Gorham, according to Maine Warden Service Lt. Adam Gormely. Mark Lemieux was treated and then released from Goodall Hospital in Sanford. The incident is under investigation by the Maine Warden Service. Monday is the first day of spring wild turkey hunting season for residents and nonresidents with a license and a permit. The season runs through June 4 in Wildlife Management Districts 7, 10 through 26, and 28, a large portion of the state excluding northern Aroostook County.
    1336 Posted by Chris Avena
  • By BDN staff reports  SANFORD, Maine — A 44-year-old Sanford man was shot while hunting Monday near Hollis, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has reported. According to MDIF&W, Mark Lemieux, 44, of Sanford suffered injuries to his legs, chest, head and face. The gunshot was fired by his uncle, Gerard Lemieux, 69, of Gorham, according to Maine Warden Service Lt. Adam Gormely. Mark Lemieux was treated and then released from Goodall Hospital in Sanford. The incident is under investigation by the Maine Warden Service. Monday is the first day of spring wild turkey hunting season for residents and nonresidents with a license and a permit. The season runs through June 4 in Wildlife Management Districts 7, 10 through 26, and 28, a large portion of the state excluding northern Aroostook County.
    May 03, 2011 1336
  • 20 Apr 2011
    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is planning a new event in November to open the state's pheasant season and promote hunting.   TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is planning a new event in November to open the state's pheasant season and promote hunting. The Ringneck Classic will bring business and community leaders from across the state to the northwestern town of Oakley for a dinner and a weekend of hunting. It's scheduled for Nov. 18-20. Brownback says he wants to market Kansas as the Midwest's premier destination for pheasant hunting. Wildlife and Parks Secretary Robin Jennison says the Ringneck Classic — named for a type of pheasant — will give the state a chance to show off tourism opportunities in northwest Kansas
    1168 Posted by Chris Avena
  • Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is planning a new event in November to open the state's pheasant season and promote hunting.   TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is planning a new event in November to open the state's pheasant season and promote hunting. The Ringneck Classic will bring business and community leaders from across the state to the northwestern town of Oakley for a dinner and a weekend of hunting. It's scheduled for Nov. 18-20. Brownback says he wants to market Kansas as the Midwest's premier destination for pheasant hunting. Wildlife and Parks Secretary Robin Jennison says the Ringneck Classic — named for a type of pheasant — will give the state a chance to show off tourism opportunities in northwest Kansas
    Apr 20, 2011 1168
  • 14 Apr 2011
    Simply throwing some seed down does not make a food plot. If you want action, you must take action and do it right. by Steve Bartylla It was amazing. I could glass the property line squatter’s stand. He was a mere 105 yards away from mine. Sitting along the edge on the hayfield, he was trying to intercept the deer coming off of my small lease. What I found amazing wasn’t that he’d put his stand in a tree that the property fence ran through or that it was situated to shoot into my lease. Unfortunately, such acts happen far too frequently. What was amazing was how effective my food plot strategy had been in foiling his attempts. During each sit on my half-acre food plot, I saw many deer, with the majority offering shot opportunities. Heck, from that stand I eventually arrowed the biggest buck in the area. However, a mere 105 yards away, the squatter saw next to nothing. That’s precisely how powerful food plots can be. Unfortunately, the majority aren’t effective. They are often slapped into the easiest locations, with little thought invested into how they can maximize hunting opportunities. To get killer results from food plots, one must do more than the minimum. Feed Plots, Kill Plots, And Size That starts with planning. Of course, sunlight, soil types, soils conditions, accessibility, and a host of factors need to be considered. For now, let’s focus on size, shape, and location assuming that the conditions are also suitable for planting. Before we can begin, we must first differentiate between feed or kill plots. As the names imply, they serve distinctly different purposes. Feed plots are designed to both help keep deer on the property and address their nutritional needs. Kill plots are for hunting.       Because they are designed to be a primary food source, feed plots must be larger in size to sustain prolonged feeding. Furthermore, one must account for the competition factor. Most prime 40-acre-plus properties have more than one doe family group spending some time on the land. Each family group can consist of multiple generations of does and young that can be traced back to the matriarch doe. These family groups struggle for dominance much like bucks do during the rut. If the feed plot is too small, family groups and individual bucks are often driven off by the dominant family group and buck in the area. To feed and hold the maximum number of resident deer on the property, one can approach feed plots in two ways. The least cost-effective method is to make feed plots large enough for the deer to share nicely. That size varies based on other available food choices and deer density, but requires comparatively more acreage. The other option is breaking the feed plot into several plots, with each containing the same plantings. For example, three completely separate feed plots, each containing 1 acre of alfalfa and 4 acres of double-planted grain can support a minimum of three mature bucks and up to six family groups. One 15-acre plot will most likely lose one or more family groups and, once the bachelor groups break up, risks trimming the mature bucks to 1. The younger, subordinate bucks will also compete and disperse less with the illusion of reduced competition that the multiple-plot option provides. Conversely, kill plots should be small. After all, as the name implies, their purpose is for killing deer. Since bow range is limited, smaller, horseshoe, and “L” plots maximize shot opportunities. Along with that, within reason, the smaller the food plot, the safer the deer feel. All else being equal, a narrow half-acre food plot, completely surrounded by cover, will receive more daylight feeding activity than a square 5-acre plot. Furthermore, orienting the plot so the outside apex of the horseshoe or L works with the prevailing fall wind direction is important in providing the maximum opportunities. With that, one can place stands on the outside and inside edge of the apex.     Because of the shape, size, and placement of the kill plot, the author realized great daylight buck activity, whereas just 105 yards away the line squatter saw nearly nothing.   Additionally, the shape naturally funnels deer to your stand. From the apex, deer can see the entire food plot. Because of that, they gravitate to that area. Finally, the kill plot should be no more than 30 yards wide. That further increases the odds of any deer entering the plot being within bow range. Though the shape and orientation isn’t important for feed plots, you can see why addressing both is extremely beneficial on kill plots. Minimizing near misses should be a priority, and these two factors do just that. Food Plot Location At first thought, the location of the feed plots may not seem overly important. After all, since hunting them isn’t a primary concern, who cares if the feeding occurs after dark? In fact, it works to our advantage if we can keep deer in the woods until after dark. Still, location means everything for both the feed and kill plot. Ideally, they work in concert with each other. We want the bucks to stage in our small kill plots before venturing out to the feed plots after dark. Maximizing location begins by determining where the bedding activity occurs. Next, one can plot the feed plot locations. Inside corners of existing fields and remote areas of open grass lands are both great choices. Deer tend to feel safe in these locations, but the relative openness still promotes twilight and nighttime activity. With the bedding and feed plot locations identified, determine the most likely path deer will take between the two. Backing off around 100 to 200 yards from the feed plot is where our kill plot should be located. Determining the precise location is a balance between conditions suitable to grow the planting and the ability to keep disturbances to a minimum when hunting, accessing, and departing the plot. Luckily, two of best planting choices for the kill plots are clovers and brassicas. Both are relatively easy to grow and don’t require ideal conditions.   Pairing grains and greens helps feed plots provide nutrition throughout the entire year.   Of course, this type of placement will require some clearing work. A decent dozer operator can typically knock out three to five of these kill plots in a day, as well as complement each with a small waterhole. They can even pile the debris to form a barrier in front of the stand sites so the deer enter where you want them to. The costs generally fall under $500 for a day’s work. For those on a tighter budget, all one really needs is a chainsaw and an ATV equipped with a sturdy disc. Remember, we’re not cash cropping here. So, if the plots contain some stumps, it’s not an issue. Either way, carefully planning the location of the feed and kill plots can make the difference between arrowing the buck of your dreams and seeing virtually nothing. By then shaping and orienting the kill plot correctly, one stacks the odds for producing killer results. Devil In The Details The details often separate a thriving food plot from crop failure. Here are a few items that many overlook, but can prove to be real difference-makers. Match the planting to soil types and conditions: For example, because of a relatively shallow fibrous root system, clovers will do very well in comparatively moist areas and heavy soil types. However, they do poorly in sandy, comparatively dry areas. Because of a deeper tap root system, alfalfas are better suited for lighter soils and can tolerate significantly lower moisture content. Match the planting to amount of sunlight: Chicory, clovers, and even many brassicas can do well in as little as three hours of direct sunlight a day. Most grain crops, such as corn and soybeans, do much better with six or more hours. For the best possible food plot, matching the planting to the specifics of the location is critical. Test soil pH and nutrient levels: Soils tests are cheap and easy. Simply collect tablespoon-size scoops of topsoil from evenly dispersed areas of your food plot until you have filled about half a sandwich baggie. Most seed dealers or the county agricultural office can send it away for testing. A few weeks later, you will get a report that details the exact fertilizer and lime requirements for your particular planting.   Firm seedbeds are critical for broadcast seeds to realize high germination rates.   Use lime wisely: Speaking of lime, not all limes are created equal. Limes range from fine to coarse grain. Pelletized lime is an extremely fine lime that has been bonded to form pellets. It breaks down in the soils very fast. The effects can begin within weeks. Barn lime is the opposite extreme. It’s so course that as much as 50 percent may never break down into usable form and can take many months to make a significant difference. Frankly, it shouldn’t be used for food plots. The field lime that is sold most often to farmers strikes a balance between the two extremes. In either case, one should realize that lime is not a permanent fix. The finer the grain, the quicker the impact, but also the faster it leeches from the soil. With pelletized lime, one often must reapply every year. Most field limes are commonly good for two or more years. Prepare a proper seed bed: This is well worth the effort. Even the “no tills” that are available will do significantly better in properly prepared soils. After disking, the soil should be cultipacked to create an even and firm bed. This is mission critical for small seeds not meant to be drilled. If the bed isn’t firm, a high percentage of seed is often covered too deep to ever break the surface. For seeds that are drilled, all that is left is praying for rain, but broadcasted seeds should be cultipacked one last time. Doing so sinks the seeds into the soil and promotes a higher germination rate. Maintain your planting: Weed competition is often the greatest challenge. Most all seed blends these days can be sprayed with herbicides. The trick is selecting the right one for the specific planting. The seed dealers can point you in the right direction. Also, many greens can be mowed to knock back the weeds. Some plantings, such as clovers and alfalfas, need to be mowed to keep them in a highly digestible and nutritious state. When they reach 6 to 12 inches in height, knocking them down to approximately 4 inches does the trick. One can never control rainfall. However, following the steps above will help give your food plot its best chance to thrive
    1795 Posted by Chris Avena
  • Simply throwing some seed down does not make a food plot. If you want action, you must take action and do it right. by Steve Bartylla It was amazing. I could glass the property line squatter’s stand. He was a mere 105 yards away from mine. Sitting along the edge on the hayfield, he was trying to intercept the deer coming off of my small lease. What I found amazing wasn’t that he’d put his stand in a tree that the property fence ran through or that it was situated to shoot into my lease. Unfortunately, such acts happen far too frequently. What was amazing was how effective my food plot strategy had been in foiling his attempts. During each sit on my half-acre food plot, I saw many deer, with the majority offering shot opportunities. Heck, from that stand I eventually arrowed the biggest buck in the area. However, a mere 105 yards away, the squatter saw next to nothing. That’s precisely how powerful food plots can be. Unfortunately, the majority aren’t effective. They are often slapped into the easiest locations, with little thought invested into how they can maximize hunting opportunities. To get killer results from food plots, one must do more than the minimum. Feed Plots, Kill Plots, And Size That starts with planning. Of course, sunlight, soil types, soils conditions, accessibility, and a host of factors need to be considered. For now, let’s focus on size, shape, and location assuming that the conditions are also suitable for planting. Before we can begin, we must first differentiate between feed or kill plots. As the names imply, they serve distinctly different purposes. Feed plots are designed to both help keep deer on the property and address their nutritional needs. Kill plots are for hunting.       Because they are designed to be a primary food source, feed plots must be larger in size to sustain prolonged feeding. Furthermore, one must account for the competition factor. Most prime 40-acre-plus properties have more than one doe family group spending some time on the land. Each family group can consist of multiple generations of does and young that can be traced back to the matriarch doe. These family groups struggle for dominance much like bucks do during the rut. If the feed plot is too small, family groups and individual bucks are often driven off by the dominant family group and buck in the area. To feed and hold the maximum number of resident deer on the property, one can approach feed plots in two ways. The least cost-effective method is to make feed plots large enough for the deer to share nicely. That size varies based on other available food choices and deer density, but requires comparatively more acreage. The other option is breaking the feed plot into several plots, with each containing the same plantings. For example, three completely separate feed plots, each containing 1 acre of alfalfa and 4 acres of double-planted grain can support a minimum of three mature bucks and up to six family groups. One 15-acre plot will most likely lose one or more family groups and, once the bachelor groups break up, risks trimming the mature bucks to 1. The younger, subordinate bucks will also compete and disperse less with the illusion of reduced competition that the multiple-plot option provides. Conversely, kill plots should be small. After all, as the name implies, their purpose is for killing deer. Since bow range is limited, smaller, horseshoe, and “L” plots maximize shot opportunities. Along with that, within reason, the smaller the food plot, the safer the deer feel. All else being equal, a narrow half-acre food plot, completely surrounded by cover, will receive more daylight feeding activity than a square 5-acre plot. Furthermore, orienting the plot so the outside apex of the horseshoe or L works with the prevailing fall wind direction is important in providing the maximum opportunities. With that, one can place stands on the outside and inside edge of the apex.     Because of the shape, size, and placement of the kill plot, the author realized great daylight buck activity, whereas just 105 yards away the line squatter saw nearly nothing.   Additionally, the shape naturally funnels deer to your stand. From the apex, deer can see the entire food plot. Because of that, they gravitate to that area. Finally, the kill plot should be no more than 30 yards wide. That further increases the odds of any deer entering the plot being within bow range. Though the shape and orientation isn’t important for feed plots, you can see why addressing both is extremely beneficial on kill plots. Minimizing near misses should be a priority, and these two factors do just that. Food Plot Location At first thought, the location of the feed plots may not seem overly important. After all, since hunting them isn’t a primary concern, who cares if the feeding occurs after dark? In fact, it works to our advantage if we can keep deer in the woods until after dark. Still, location means everything for both the feed and kill plot. Ideally, they work in concert with each other. We want the bucks to stage in our small kill plots before venturing out to the feed plots after dark. Maximizing location begins by determining where the bedding activity occurs. Next, one can plot the feed plot locations. Inside corners of existing fields and remote areas of open grass lands are both great choices. Deer tend to feel safe in these locations, but the relative openness still promotes twilight and nighttime activity. With the bedding and feed plot locations identified, determine the most likely path deer will take between the two. Backing off around 100 to 200 yards from the feed plot is where our kill plot should be located. Determining the precise location is a balance between conditions suitable to grow the planting and the ability to keep disturbances to a minimum when hunting, accessing, and departing the plot. Luckily, two of best planting choices for the kill plots are clovers and brassicas. Both are relatively easy to grow and don’t require ideal conditions.   Pairing grains and greens helps feed plots provide nutrition throughout the entire year.   Of course, this type of placement will require some clearing work. A decent dozer operator can typically knock out three to five of these kill plots in a day, as well as complement each with a small waterhole. They can even pile the debris to form a barrier in front of the stand sites so the deer enter where you want them to. The costs generally fall under $500 for a day’s work. For those on a tighter budget, all one really needs is a chainsaw and an ATV equipped with a sturdy disc. Remember, we’re not cash cropping here. So, if the plots contain some stumps, it’s not an issue. Either way, carefully planning the location of the feed and kill plots can make the difference between arrowing the buck of your dreams and seeing virtually nothing. By then shaping and orienting the kill plot correctly, one stacks the odds for producing killer results. Devil In The Details The details often separate a thriving food plot from crop failure. Here are a few items that many overlook, but can prove to be real difference-makers. Match the planting to soil types and conditions: For example, because of a relatively shallow fibrous root system, clovers will do very well in comparatively moist areas and heavy soil types. However, they do poorly in sandy, comparatively dry areas. Because of a deeper tap root system, alfalfas are better suited for lighter soils and can tolerate significantly lower moisture content. Match the planting to amount of sunlight: Chicory, clovers, and even many brassicas can do well in as little as three hours of direct sunlight a day. Most grain crops, such as corn and soybeans, do much better with six or more hours. For the best possible food plot, matching the planting to the specifics of the location is critical. Test soil pH and nutrient levels: Soils tests are cheap and easy. Simply collect tablespoon-size scoops of topsoil from evenly dispersed areas of your food plot until you have filled about half a sandwich baggie. Most seed dealers or the county agricultural office can send it away for testing. A few weeks later, you will get a report that details the exact fertilizer and lime requirements for your particular planting.   Firm seedbeds are critical for broadcast seeds to realize high germination rates.   Use lime wisely: Speaking of lime, not all limes are created equal. Limes range from fine to coarse grain. Pelletized lime is an extremely fine lime that has been bonded to form pellets. It breaks down in the soils very fast. The effects can begin within weeks. Barn lime is the opposite extreme. It’s so course that as much as 50 percent may never break down into usable form and can take many months to make a significant difference. Frankly, it shouldn’t be used for food plots. The field lime that is sold most often to farmers strikes a balance between the two extremes. In either case, one should realize that lime is not a permanent fix. The finer the grain, the quicker the impact, but also the faster it leeches from the soil. With pelletized lime, one often must reapply every year. Most field limes are commonly good for two or more years. Prepare a proper seed bed: This is well worth the effort. Even the “no tills” that are available will do significantly better in properly prepared soils. After disking, the soil should be cultipacked to create an even and firm bed. This is mission critical for small seeds not meant to be drilled. If the bed isn’t firm, a high percentage of seed is often covered too deep to ever break the surface. For seeds that are drilled, all that is left is praying for rain, but broadcasted seeds should be cultipacked one last time. Doing so sinks the seeds into the soil and promotes a higher germination rate. Maintain your planting: Weed competition is often the greatest challenge. Most all seed blends these days can be sprayed with herbicides. The trick is selecting the right one for the specific planting. The seed dealers can point you in the right direction. Also, many greens can be mowed to knock back the weeds. Some plantings, such as clovers and alfalfas, need to be mowed to keep them in a highly digestible and nutritious state. When they reach 6 to 12 inches in height, knocking them down to approximately 4 inches does the trick. One can never control rainfall. However, following the steps above will help give your food plot its best chance to thrive
    Apr 14, 2011 1795
  • 03 Apr 2011
    by Bob McNally If you want to shoot a big buck, you’ve got to play it cool and keep from alerting him that you’re hanging around. These six tips will help you fly under his radar.   1. Scout from long range, using high-quality binoculars and spotting scopes. This helps avoid contaminating prime buck areas with human scent. 2. Use long-range rifles with top-quality scopes, and set stands to allow for shots of 200 yards and longer. The farther from bucks and their home areas you can get, the more likely it is that you can capitalize on a mistake they might make. 3. Only hunt your best spots during optimum hunting conditions — perfect wind, cold weather, when the rut is rocking, etc. 4. Get on the trail-camera bandwagon. They allow hunters to "watch" numerous locations without setting foot on the property. 5. Move stands frequently to keep human contamination low in prime buck locations. 6. Hunt the periphery first. Especially in new hunting areas, learn from long range where to move in on a buck or choice location.
    895 Posted by Chris Avena
  • by Bob McNally If you want to shoot a big buck, you’ve got to play it cool and keep from alerting him that you’re hanging around. These six tips will help you fly under his radar.   1. Scout from long range, using high-quality binoculars and spotting scopes. This helps avoid contaminating prime buck areas with human scent. 2. Use long-range rifles with top-quality scopes, and set stands to allow for shots of 200 yards and longer. The farther from bucks and their home areas you can get, the more likely it is that you can capitalize on a mistake they might make. 3. Only hunt your best spots during optimum hunting conditions — perfect wind, cold weather, when the rut is rocking, etc. 4. Get on the trail-camera bandwagon. They allow hunters to "watch" numerous locations without setting foot on the property. 5. Move stands frequently to keep human contamination low in prime buck locations. 6. Hunt the periphery first. Especially in new hunting areas, learn from long range where to move in on a buck or choice location.
    Apr 03, 2011 895
  • 20 Mar 2011
    Researchers have found the state's black bear population continues to expand from its usual forest habitat into farmland in northwestern Minnesota, raising the chances of dangerous run-ins with humans.   HOLT, Minn. (AP) — Researchers have found the state's black bear population continues to expand from its usual forest habitat into farmland in northwestern Minnesota, raising the chances of dangerous run-ins with humans. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been in northwestern Minnesota studying the bear migration, which began in the mid-1990s when natural foods, like acorns and berries, in the traditional bear range became scarce. That becomes a nuisance for farmers, and DNR experts warn it could mean more bears will get shot. "If those foods fail then they have corn and sunflowers as a backup. That's here every year,'' DNR bear biologist Dave Garshelis told Minnesota Public Radio News. "The risk for the corn and sunflowers of course is that they're going to get shot in a farmer's field.'' The DNR is trying to learn more through a research project in which it studies bears in their natural habitats. Researchers are studying where the bears travel, what they eat and how healthy they are. The state is estimated to have 20,000 bears, but it is not clear how many are in northwestern Minnesota farmland. The state's bear population is stable, except for the growing group in the northwestern region. There is no limit on how many bears hunters in the state's northwestern region can shoot, but the DNR could soon impose limits to protect the bear population.
    1034 Posted by Chris Avena
  • Researchers have found the state's black bear population continues to expand from its usual forest habitat into farmland in northwestern Minnesota, raising the chances of dangerous run-ins with humans.   HOLT, Minn. (AP) — Researchers have found the state's black bear population continues to expand from its usual forest habitat into farmland in northwestern Minnesota, raising the chances of dangerous run-ins with humans. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been in northwestern Minnesota studying the bear migration, which began in the mid-1990s when natural foods, like acorns and berries, in the traditional bear range became scarce. That becomes a nuisance for farmers, and DNR experts warn it could mean more bears will get shot. "If those foods fail then they have corn and sunflowers as a backup. That's here every year,'' DNR bear biologist Dave Garshelis told Minnesota Public Radio News. "The risk for the corn and sunflowers of course is that they're going to get shot in a farmer's field.'' The DNR is trying to learn more through a research project in which it studies bears in their natural habitats. Researchers are studying where the bears travel, what they eat and how healthy they are. The state is estimated to have 20,000 bears, but it is not clear how many are in northwestern Minnesota farmland. The state's bear population is stable, except for the growing group in the northwestern region. There is no limit on how many bears hunters in the state's northwestern region can shoot, but the DNR could soon impose limits to protect the bear population.
    Mar 20, 2011 1034
  • 18 Mar 2011
    Use these eight calling techniques to become a turkey assassin. Michael Waddell     It takes different calls to consistently close the coffin on longbeards. Have several calls and know how to use them.     Mastering a mouth call is critical for those last few crucial moments when you can't have any movement and your hands need to be free.     The author has found success by creating the illusion of a moving bird by using directional calling techniques.         While I dedicate a lot of time to chasing whitetails and other antlered monsters, spring turkey hunting is still one of my favorite pursuits. It's a great time to be in the woods, you don't have to freeze your butt off, and best of all, I can do most of it right near my home in Georgia. I grew up hunting ol' Booger Bottom right behind where my daddy still lives today, and I look forward to taking time off from my hectic traveling schedule every year to return there and hunt. But whether I'm hunting familiar woods I've hunted all my life or am chasing Rios or Merriam's in front of a camera in some place I've never even seen before, I use the same key skills to be successful. The most important skill I rely on is my ability to call. Calling is not only one of the things that makes turkey hunting so much fun, it's also the most important skill every turkey hunter needs to have in order to bring that big gobbler into gun range so he can ride home in the back of your truck. Here are a few tricks I've learned over the years. Maybe some of them will help you. 1 Mix It UpA lot of turkey hunters, especially beginners, learn to use one call pretty good, but never become proficient on other types. Or they may be able to use other calls, but they rely on that one they like almost exclusively. Bad mistake. Every call has its own pitch and sound and not every one is going to appeal to a particular longbeard. While one turkey may gobble his head off at your box call on Friday, that same turkey or even a different one, may ignore it on Saturday. Different calls may fire a tom up at different times. That's why it's important to learn to use several different calls and be able to run each of them as proficiently as the next. If turkeys aren't responding to your box call, switch to a mouth call or a slate. Even a tube call can work wonders in areas where gobblers have heard everything else thrown at them. If you prefer a box or a pot-and-peg type call, and are really good at that type, then buy several different ones and learn to use each of them as well as the other. Then you can keep inside your comfort zone, though I still recommend becoming versatile with different types of calls. 2 Master the Mouth CallMy favorite call to use, without a doubt, is a mouth call. To me, it's one of the most versatile. With a mouth call or diaphragm, you can make virtually every sound a turkey makes, varying rhythm, pitch and volume all with how you hold your mouth and huff air across the reeds. Best of all, it keeps your hands free so you can keep them on your shotgun when a gobbler is in close, but you need to work him just a little closer with a few light yelps or purrs. 3 Cadence is Key As varied as a hen's yelping and many other calls are, they nearly all follow a basic rhythm. In fact, I would say, when calling to a turkey at a distance at least, it is more important to have the right cadence than to even have the right sound. Listening to real turkeys in the woods or watching videos and TV shows of turkey hunts is one of the best ways to observe this cadence and learn to mimic it perfectly. Yelping, the hen's most basic call and the most important one for you to master, is delivered with evenly paced beats. Whether it is a casual yelp or one that is more excited and delivered with a little more speed, those yelps will always be spaced evenly apart. Cutting, which is really just a very excited, short burst of one-note clucks, will be more unevenly delivered, but still have a certain general rhythm to them. 4 Add Motion I bet you're scratching your head right now. "Add motion, he must be talking about decoys now," you're probably thinking. That can be helpful, too, but what I'm talking about here is adding some motion to your calling. How many guys, walk in the woods, plop down at the first gobble they make and just start calling from that same spot? If a gobbler is hopped up and ready for action, that will be enough. But when he is feeling more cautious and would rather the hen show herself, you're going to have to change positions. If a longbeard is far enough away, or even if the gobbles have gone silent on a particular morning, I will stand up and walk around, cutting and yelping and turning my head and body in different directions to make it sound like the hen is coming toward the tom and then moving away from him. I've walked 20 or 30 yards toward a gobbling tom that kept strutting back and forth out of sight to make him think I was a real hen. In these situations, try walking toward the turkey and then away while calling. Then shut up and move back to where you were closest to him and set up. The longbeard might think the hen is leaving him and finally show himself. When calling on the move like that, it is not only important that you do it when you are far enough away from a tom that he can't see you, but also that there is no chance of other hunters being around for obvious safety reasons. 5 Directional Calling Just like moving around while calling, it is important to be able to cast your sound in different directions as a gobbler approaches. With a mouth call, I cup a hand to the side of my mouth and use it to throw the sound of my calls in a particular direction. With a slate call, cup your hand beneath the sound board of the call and do basically the same thing. With a box, turn the sound chamber in a different direction, though I've found it's easier to throw a call's sound with a mouth call--one of the reason I prefer them. 6 Back It OffWhen trying to get a tom to offer up that first gobble or calling to one far off in the distance, it's perfectly fine to call as loud as you can. It's not okay to do that as that longbeard closes to within a 100 yards or less. Be sure to tone down the volume as the turkey gets closer. I've hunted with guys who had a gobbler hung-up 50 or 60 yards in front of them and then suddenly started calling as loud as if they turkey was in the next county. Loud calling will merely blow the turkey out, spooking him and sending him the other direction.  7 Clucks and PurrsThe yelp is the turkey's primary call, while cutting really works to get a longbeard fired up, but sometimes you need to go easy. That's where a single-note cluck and soft purrs can really come into play, particularly when working birds in close. Purrs are made when turkeys are content and can make a nervous tom relax as he works within range. 8 Keep It CleanWhen using friction calls such as a pot-and-peg or a box call, be careful not to touch the calling surfaces with your fingers. You also want to keep the surfaces free of dirt and free of moisture (unless the call is made to run wet.) Over time, oils in your skin can clog the pores in wood and slate, while it can make a striker slip and squeak on glass or metal. Likewise, don't touch the end of your strikers or stick them down in the dirt. Proper care will keep friction calls working a lifetime--at least yours.
    1577 Posted by Chris Avena
  • Use these eight calling techniques to become a turkey assassin. Michael Waddell     It takes different calls to consistently close the coffin on longbeards. Have several calls and know how to use them.     Mastering a mouth call is critical for those last few crucial moments when you can't have any movement and your hands need to be free.     The author has found success by creating the illusion of a moving bird by using directional calling techniques.         While I dedicate a lot of time to chasing whitetails and other antlered monsters, spring turkey hunting is still one of my favorite pursuits. It's a great time to be in the woods, you don't have to freeze your butt off, and best of all, I can do most of it right near my home in Georgia. I grew up hunting ol' Booger Bottom right behind where my daddy still lives today, and I look forward to taking time off from my hectic traveling schedule every year to return there and hunt. But whether I'm hunting familiar woods I've hunted all my life or am chasing Rios or Merriam's in front of a camera in some place I've never even seen before, I use the same key skills to be successful. The most important skill I rely on is my ability to call. Calling is not only one of the things that makes turkey hunting so much fun, it's also the most important skill every turkey hunter needs to have in order to bring that big gobbler into gun range so he can ride home in the back of your truck. Here are a few tricks I've learned over the years. Maybe some of them will help you. 1 Mix It UpA lot of turkey hunters, especially beginners, learn to use one call pretty good, but never become proficient on other types. Or they may be able to use other calls, but they rely on that one they like almost exclusively. Bad mistake. Every call has its own pitch and sound and not every one is going to appeal to a particular longbeard. While one turkey may gobble his head off at your box call on Friday, that same turkey or even a different one, may ignore it on Saturday. Different calls may fire a tom up at different times. That's why it's important to learn to use several different calls and be able to run each of them as proficiently as the next. If turkeys aren't responding to your box call, switch to a mouth call or a slate. Even a tube call can work wonders in areas where gobblers have heard everything else thrown at them. If you prefer a box or a pot-and-peg type call, and are really good at that type, then buy several different ones and learn to use each of them as well as the other. Then you can keep inside your comfort zone, though I still recommend becoming versatile with different types of calls. 2 Master the Mouth CallMy favorite call to use, without a doubt, is a mouth call. To me, it's one of the most versatile. With a mouth call or diaphragm, you can make virtually every sound a turkey makes, varying rhythm, pitch and volume all with how you hold your mouth and huff air across the reeds. Best of all, it keeps your hands free so you can keep them on your shotgun when a gobbler is in close, but you need to work him just a little closer with a few light yelps or purrs. 3 Cadence is Key As varied as a hen's yelping and many other calls are, they nearly all follow a basic rhythm. In fact, I would say, when calling to a turkey at a distance at least, it is more important to have the right cadence than to even have the right sound. Listening to real turkeys in the woods or watching videos and TV shows of turkey hunts is one of the best ways to observe this cadence and learn to mimic it perfectly. Yelping, the hen's most basic call and the most important one for you to master, is delivered with evenly paced beats. Whether it is a casual yelp or one that is more excited and delivered with a little more speed, those yelps will always be spaced evenly apart. Cutting, which is really just a very excited, short burst of one-note clucks, will be more unevenly delivered, but still have a certain general rhythm to them. 4 Add Motion I bet you're scratching your head right now. "Add motion, he must be talking about decoys now," you're probably thinking. That can be helpful, too, but what I'm talking about here is adding some motion to your calling. How many guys, walk in the woods, plop down at the first gobble they make and just start calling from that same spot? If a gobbler is hopped up and ready for action, that will be enough. But when he is feeling more cautious and would rather the hen show herself, you're going to have to change positions. If a longbeard is far enough away, or even if the gobbles have gone silent on a particular morning, I will stand up and walk around, cutting and yelping and turning my head and body in different directions to make it sound like the hen is coming toward the tom and then moving away from him. I've walked 20 or 30 yards toward a gobbling tom that kept strutting back and forth out of sight to make him think I was a real hen. In these situations, try walking toward the turkey and then away while calling. Then shut up and move back to where you were closest to him and set up. The longbeard might think the hen is leaving him and finally show himself. When calling on the move like that, it is not only important that you do it when you are far enough away from a tom that he can't see you, but also that there is no chance of other hunters being around for obvious safety reasons. 5 Directional Calling Just like moving around while calling, it is important to be able to cast your sound in different directions as a gobbler approaches. With a mouth call, I cup a hand to the side of my mouth and use it to throw the sound of my calls in a particular direction. With a slate call, cup your hand beneath the sound board of the call and do basically the same thing. With a box, turn the sound chamber in a different direction, though I've found it's easier to throw a call's sound with a mouth call--one of the reason I prefer them. 6 Back It OffWhen trying to get a tom to offer up that first gobble or calling to one far off in the distance, it's perfectly fine to call as loud as you can. It's not okay to do that as that longbeard closes to within a 100 yards or less. Be sure to tone down the volume as the turkey gets closer. I've hunted with guys who had a gobbler hung-up 50 or 60 yards in front of them and then suddenly started calling as loud as if they turkey was in the next county. Loud calling will merely blow the turkey out, spooking him and sending him the other direction.  7 Clucks and PurrsThe yelp is the turkey's primary call, while cutting really works to get a longbeard fired up, but sometimes you need to go easy. That's where a single-note cluck and soft purrs can really come into play, particularly when working birds in close. Purrs are made when turkeys are content and can make a nervous tom relax as he works within range. 8 Keep It CleanWhen using friction calls such as a pot-and-peg or a box call, be careful not to touch the calling surfaces with your fingers. You also want to keep the surfaces free of dirt and free of moisture (unless the call is made to run wet.) Over time, oils in your skin can clog the pores in wood and slate, while it can make a striker slip and squeak on glass or metal. Likewise, don't touch the end of your strikers or stick them down in the dirt. Proper care will keep friction calls working a lifetime--at least yours.
    Mar 18, 2011 1577
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