Hunting is more than just a hobby or a means to put food on the table, and I believe America needs it today like never before. On this episode I talk about the science, psychology, philosophy, and more about how hunting not only grounds us in the real world but also better equips us to overcome the complicated but very real problems our nation is facing as we grow more and more immersed in digital reality.
Today we have both an experiential shift and a culture shift caused by technology and spending more and more time in the digital world. More and more of our pursuits, emotions, and relationships are being experienced digitally, in a type of synthetic reality. The way we feel and relate is very real, but the way we are interacting is unnatural to how we are wired to experience life. There are many consequences to this, and they are real consequences and real problems felt by real people.
We were created to interact tangibly. to invest ourselves in others’ lives over the process of time through sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and more while getting real time verbal and nonverbal feedback that affirms and builds connection. When this is replaced with text messages, video messages, and avatars interacting over days and weeks instead of months and years, true problems emerge.
Our ability to process reality with proper context and safeguards is compromised. Emotional trauma, loneliness, depression, and even suicide rates are soaring in an age when we are the most connected, we’ve ever been.
We were designed to live in tangible, tactile, hands-on reality. And hunting anchors us to the real world, to nature, to a benchmark that is mostly unchanged for thousands of years. It gives us a pursuit, a challenge, and a reason to experience nature in a very focused and strategic way that is not preprogrammed with machine learning, odds, or manipulatable outcomes.
Hunting also creates social structures and relationships based on shared experiences, time spent together afeild or fellowshipping around shared passions. Hunting also impacts our physical fitness, our diet and the quality of food we consume. It sparks creativity, inspiration and innovation.
Hunting also creates opportunities for reflection, introspection, and to simply sit and soak in beautiful moments for a day at a time. Something unheard of in the fast paced, instant gratification centered world of digital entertainment and social media relationships.
There is also no digitally induced equivalent to the to the physical and emotional high points that hunting can provide. The rush of adrenaline that causes hands to shake as you raise your rifle to take aim at a deer that has suddenly come into view after a season of waiting. The overwhelming satisfaction that flows for days, weeks, even a whole year of a big success and leaving the woods with not just a trophy but a supply of food that is untainted by the supply chain.
In one sense hunting acts as a type of therapy, in another it provides context and perspective to help us remember what is real and what isn’t. It also forces us to exercise the most strategic parts of our mind and prompts tremendous focus around a positive and rewarding pursuit.
Are there other ways to accomplish these same things? Yes of course. There are ways. But hunting is one way that enables us to do it all at the same time. Or at least it creates the opportunity to do so. Our nation needs hunting today like never both, amongst our youth but also in all age brackets.
The turkey tail mount is one of the greatest memorials of a turkey hunt, it can be done at home for virtually no cost and very minimal effort. It is the perfect beginner project. But there is a lot more you can do to make a turkey trophy, some things you can do at home and others require a professional taxidermist. On this episode I talk about most of the options available, what they cost, and what a brand-new turkey hunter with no experience can do for free.
When I take a gobbler or any turkey for that matter, after the meat, the tail fan mount is my favorite part. I think turkey tail fans are one of the most beautiful things God made in the animal kingdom. Did you know that turkeys are distance cousins of the peacock? It is no wonder they are so beautiful. No two turkey tail fans are the same, and each one tells the story of an exciting hunt that I will never forget.
Many people often mount the beard with the fan, and lots of modern mounting kits come setup for that. My favorite mounting kit that I buy season after season is theTaxidermists Woodshop Black Walnut Kit with Beard Plate.This kit is utterly beautiful, comes with everything you need, and even includes a packet of borax to help dry out the fan. There are cheaper kits out there but none I’d rather have on my wall.
When doing a mount, you want to make sure you have salt and/or borax on hand. I typically just use salt and lots of it. I have used borax before and I cannot tell any difference. Some people mix them, I have also done that and noticed no difference. Borax is a laundry soap booster, it helps draw moisture out of the meat and fat and bug proofs it. You can buy it cheap at the grocery store, just make sure it is 100% pure borax and no added scents.Here is a good boraxyou can order online.
The most common turkey mounts include:
Tail Fan. Everyone should do at least this every turkey they take. I have two videos at the bottom showing you how to do this, both the easy way and the hard way for you over achievers out there. This costs nothing, except for some salt and/or borax.
Turkey Rug. This is the tail fan and the back feathers. These look amazing on a wall. They are more of an intermediate taxidermy project though, something I tend to leave to the professionals. But it can be done at home with a little time and care.
Whole Turkey. If you are new hunter, you probably are not going to be able to tackle a whole turkey mount at home, especially if you want it to look good. Professional taxidermists charge between $500-$1,000 for these and they can include many different poses. I recommend new hunters stick with the free tail fan mount, but this is always an option for a great bird if you have the funds.
Beard. The beard is super easy and just takes a little salt, most people mount it with a tail fan.
Feet with Spurs. Some people love foot mounts, I am not a huge fan myself, but more power to you if you like them. They are also very easy to do and just require salt and time.
Turkey Wings. These look pretty cool when done well and are often mounted with a tail fan to make a very impressive mount. They can be done at home and are somewhere between a tail fan and turkey rug in difficulty.
Listen to the podcast episode to hear all the details! In addition to looking cool, a mount is great to preserve the memory of the hunt. I can look at every mount from every turkey I’ve ever taken and instantly recall the hunt, the thrill, the details, how it all came together and what a great day it was hunting gobblers.
The Easy Way
Here is the quick and easiest to mount a fan. I use pins on cardboard instead of staples on wood but either way works.
The Hard Way
Here is the more exact, professional taxidermist approach. This is great if you have the time, focus, and tools. I never go this far and have never had an issue.
I have hunted with the new Tetra CustomShield Multi-Pursuit with Bluetooth for the past two seasons. I was honored to be one of the first people ever to buy this model as soon as it was released. You read it right, I bought it with my own money. These are the most advanced digital hearing augmentation and protection devices on the market that I am aware of.
I have been an active and avid Tetra user and did areview of the Tetra AlphaShieldlast year. I can tell after using the AlphaShield for nearly 3 years at this point that they lack nothing and have changed my life as a hunter. But the CustomShield adds so much that I didn’t even know could be added, they are truly impressive and deserved their own review.
Tetra makes various grades of both the AlphaShield and CustomShield with different features, prices, and technologies. For the sake of simplifying this review, unless I specify otherwise, I am talking about the Multi-Pursuit version of each product.
Tetra does make single pursuit devices, optimized just for one type of game, such as waterfowl or turkey hunting. Those are good if you only hunt one thing and want to save some money. I hunt ducks, turkey, deer, pheasants, and more, so for me the Multi-Pursuit is key. If you are considering the single pursuit version of either device, everything in this review is still relevant to you, just keep in mind you will only have devices set for one type of game.
The Tetra CustomSheild does everything that the AlphaShield does and more. You can visit myAlphaShield reviewto see lots of detail, or watch this video:
But I can summarize the key features of the Tetra’s into three main points and then a few secondary point.
First, they are calibrated to support your current hearing. You take a hearing test before ordering the devices, so they come set for your ears. They can compensate for varying levels of hearing loss in each order to help restore lost hearing and balance your hearing. It is as if you are wearing perfectly calibrated hearing aids, because you are. You put these on, and you can hear everything happening around you as well or better than with your naked ear.
Second, the moment you pull the trigger on a firearm, the devices detect sound levels above the safe range and shup off the sound going to your ears. They become instant hearing protection. They reduce the sound of a magnum shotgun with a ported choke tube to something that sounds about as loud as a BB gun. And if you have other sounds that are unsafely loud like high volume calling, power tools, you name it, they lower the volume of those things to safe levels also.
Third, Tetra has developed patented audio algorithms that can recognize the sounds of the game you are hunting and amplify those sounds while filtering out sounds you do not want. If you are hunting ducks, it can amplify the sounds of quacks, whistles, flapping wings, splashes in puddles, etc while filtering out sounds that are unhelpful, like squirrels running across dry leaves.
So, whether you are hunting waterfowl, turkeys, deer, elk, upland game, and more, you pick that setting and you can hear your game more clearly and from further away than with the naked ear. The Multi-Pusuit devices can be set for up to six different types of game that you can easily cycle through with the tap of a finger.
Even if your hearing is perfect to start with, I wholeheartedly believe that the Tetras give you a significant hunting advantage being able to hear game from further away. And if you have any hearing loss at all, their impact in this area is greatly increased.
The Tetras also do a great job at filter our wind noise. Often, I do not even know it is windy unless I feel the wind. People ask about this all the time because many other similar types of devices do terribly with wind. Tetra nailed it here.
They can either be rechargeable or use disposable batteries. I personally prefer disposable batteries because I can always just change them and have full power. I do not have to worry about forgetting to charge them. And the disposables are not very expensive and last for several days of straight hunting, and weeks if you just leave them in the devices on the shelf.
The CustomShield comes with adjustable volume controls while the AlphaShield has preset volume options. At first, I preferred the presets to adjustable volume. But only until about halfway through turkey season. Then I realized the adjustable volume is superior. For walking in, I can set the volume to a low or middle level, so I am not annoyed at amplifying the sounds of everything, like my shoelaces bouncing on top of my boots. Then once I reach my spot and get setup and completely quiet, I can crank up the volume to hear birds from impossible distances. They are smartly designed so you can adjust them while in your ear and wearing a hat doesn’t change the volume level on you unwittingly.
Adjustable volume also means you do not need to use up your limit of 6 audio programs with boost modes for your regular game resets. You can save all 6 slots for different game animals. I did an entire video on the subject ofHow To Pick Your Audio Programsfor the AlphaShield if you want more info.
BlueTooth is a big deal for some people. I do not use it much in the field while hunting. But this feature empowers you to use the CustomShields for more than just hunting. This feature is vital for when working outside with machinery, cutting grass, running a chainsaw, loud equipment, etc. You can wear the devices for hearing protection and use the blue tooth to listen to music, audiobooks, and podcasts just like mine interviewing Dr. Bill Dickenson, the founder of Tetra Hearing. It is also nice for slow lonely days in the blind or in a tree.
There is a lot to say about the custom fit, more than I expected, so that gets its own section.
Custom Fit Makes A Huge Difference
The biggest question I had is does the custom fit really matter? Isn’t the universal fit AlphaShield good enough? Yes, it is good enough, and yes, the custom fit really does make a big difference. They say the AlphaShield fits 95% of ears well. They always fit me good. They were a little tight early on but eventually they felt fine. I often forgot I was wearing them. But after long days of hunting, it did feel good to take them off.
The CustomShield is molded to fit your exact ear, to have a perfect seal, and to be perfectly comfortable. They do three. They feel so good in your ear that you could wear them all day, every day, and not even know you have them on. The level of comfort is surprising. When the end of the day comes around my ears are not tired, stretched, irritated, or fatigued from having them in. There is no other ear protection I’ve ever used that I can say that for. Nothing feels that good after entire days of use. If you hunt often or long, the CustomShield is worth every extra penny.
They also give you more security that they are fully sealed against your ears. Which isn’t a huge deal, but it is appreciated. Using the CustomShield is a different experience, it is a whole different level of comfort and performance. Also, I should note that from the pictures, I could not understand how these things would stay in your ears and not fall out. But they do a great job of staying in your ears. I have total confidence in them. The design is excellent.
Durability & Serviceability
It is easy to think of these device as being more fragile and high risk than they really are. They are a significant investment, but they are also fairly rugged. According to Tetra they are “hunting proof” which means they are built to stand up to any weather, temperature, conditions, or use you may encounter responsibly hunting any of the game they are designed to hunt. You should not drop them in the water but you can wear them in the rain.
All of the Tetras are also very easy to service. If something breaks, chances are they can fix it at little or no cost. If the microphone breaks, they have new ones they can put in. If a circuit board gets fried, they can replace it relatively inexpensively. Broken battery door, cracked casing, put them through the wash cycle and drier… Tetra can often repair them very reasonably.
So, while it is a significant investment, it is not some fragile thing you may accidentally damage and be out all of the money. So long as you don’t run them over with your car int he driveway, Tetra can likely get you back in the game at little to no extra cost.
Cons & Concerns
I want to say that the Tetra’s are utterly perfect. But like anything, there are some cons to be aware of.
The Squeal. If a sideways pressure is put on the devices while in your ears, like a lanyard that is stuck in your shirt when you turn your head, the impacted side makes a bit of a squeal sound in your ear if the volume is turned up. It’s not a problem, it’s easy to correct by getting the lanyard unstuck, and game can’t hear it, but it can be annoying. Especially if you don’t know what I just told you about why it’s happening and how to fix it.
Volume Overload. If you turn them up all the way or almost all the way, they can be way too loud. So loud that a sparrow landing on the ground 20 feet away sounds like an elk walking through the woods. On one hand it’s kind of cool that you can crank them up that far, on the other hand, you almost never want to do that, you will always think game is approaching.
Bluetooth Wire. The Bluetooth is not wireless, you have to plug a wire into both devices that kind of works like a lanyard with volume controls on it. It’s totally fine, but I was expecting wireless Bluetooth. The devices are wireless for their regular functions.
Ordering Process & Ear Molds. It takes a bit of time to get these. You have to schedule an appointment to get ear molds done at a hearing center, clinic, or doctor. I did it at Sam’s Club and they didn’t charge me anything. But often you’ll have to pay something out of pocket. Then you mail in your molds, email your hearing test results, and put in your order. Then it takes a few weeks for them to build the devices to fit your ear, program them, and send them. It takes about a month from the moment you decide to get the CustomShields to them arriving to your house. The AlphaShield’s come much quicker, within days.
What To Buy First?
If you are new to Tetra, what should you get first? The AlphaShield or the CustomShield? This is a big question that people ask, and understandably so because the CustomShield costs a chunk more. There are alot of factors to consider, like your budget but also your situation. Do you only hunt ducks and nothing else on a shoestring budget? Then get the AlphaShield single-pursuit waterfowl model. But if your budget has room in it, I would go right for the CustomShield, most of the time.
Another thing to keep in mind is who else do you or may you someday hunt with. If you have a young a child that will eventually go hunting with you, then you lose nothing by getting the AlphaShield today and the CustomShield down the road because you can give the universal fit AlphaShield to your child once they grow into them. But if you are not in a situation where you may foreseeably buy more than one model over the next few years, then I go right for the CustomShield if you can.
Why Upgrade From AlphaShield to CustomShield?
Why would someone with perfectly good AlphaShields upgrade to the CustomShields? That is a significant additional investment. But there are several good reasons to consider it.
The custom fit is wonderful, and you are hunting more days and/or longer days now.
You have a child or friend you want to be able to use your old ones.
The Bluetooth can be a big factor.
You want to upgrade the audio technology from the 60-Level to the 90-Level for better sound clarity and noise cancelation.
You need to upgrade from single-pursuit models to multi-pursuit so you can use them to hunt more things.
Overall, you have gotten used to “good” and you are now ready to step up to “great”.
Or like me, you have been a hearing enthusiast and wanted every tactical advantage the new technology could give along with the added comfort and long-term wearability. And yea, after years, part of me wanted to see first-hand how good the CustomShield really is so I could know and be able to tell you about it.
Pricing & Discounts
As of this writing the Tetra CustomShield starts at about $1,100 and the fully loaded versions go for much more. The AlphaShield starts at around $750 with various higher levels. Lots of people, including me initially recoil at the price. However, lots of people will spend much more than that on a new factory shotgun that will do very little to improve their hunting effectiveness. And lots of people will spend drastically more money on vehicles to haul their decoys and gear and get them better trail access. They will reason those purchases away because they use the truck or the ATV for “other things”, but they bought it for hunting.
But the cost is significant, which is why I reached out to Tetra and asked them for a discount code that you can use to get 10% off your order, for the CustomShield, AlphaShield, or anything else they sell.
I whole heartedly believe that we could change the lives of every hunter if instead of their next gun upgrade they instead got a pair of Tetras, and put the gun purchase off for another season or two. I fact, that is exactly what I did. I spent money I could have used on a fancy shotgun to get this pair of CustomShields, and I have no regrets. The shotgun will come in time, but I think the Tetra’s actually help me take more game than the shotgun would have.
It is also worth noting that you can apply HSA (Health Saving Account) funds towards buying a pair of Tetras. And depending on your situation, the Tetra’s may possibly be tax deductible as well. But please seek expert counsel on that for yourself, I am not a tax specialist by any means.
Did you know that about 86% of hunters do not use any kind of hearing protection? That is 86% of hunters who are losing a measure of their hearing with every trigger pull, season after season. That is 86% of hunters who will likely end up with at LEAST moderate hearing loss, which puts them at a 300% higher risk of Altheimer’s and dementia. Not to mention all the other complications caused by hearing loss, like decades of spending thousands of dollars every few years for new hearing aids…
Lots of folks that have hearing loss from shooting also experience ringing in their ears that never goes away, white noise, pain, and other uncomfortable issues for the rest of their lives. Protecting your hearing is exceptionally important.
Every shot you take without hearing protection has a cost, and the next shot could be the one that costs more than you ever thought possible. That is sometimes how it goes, minimal damage from years of hunting then one shot takes half of your hearing or worse. Other times people think it’s not affecting them, then after years they all at once realize they can’t hear very important sounds, like a child calling their name. Don’t believe it? Ask a doctor of audiology who has been seeing patients for a long time.
Conclusion & Recommendations
I am very obviously a big fan of the new Tetra Custom Shields. They are head and shoulders above all other hearing technology I have yet seen on the market. I also think they make me a better more effective hunter. If it is at all possible for you to get a pair, get them. If not, find something you can use for hearing protection in the meantime. Nothing here is more important than protecting your ears when hunting.
There are lots of cheap options on the market that will still enable you to hunt with some sound and protect your ears. If that is where you are financially, then use those until you are in a position to get some Tetras. If you do nothing just because you can’t have the best, it is a lose-lose. But if you protect your hearing today, you can easily upgrade your technology tomorrow.
Till next time. God bless you, and go get em in the woods!
George Konetes Ph.D. – Founder and Host of the New Hunters Guide.
The New Hunters Guide is simply what George wishes he would have had when learning how to hunt; a single place to get practical hands on knowledge about different kinds of hunting, gear, strategy, and tips that can improve your comfort and fun factor in the woods.
The end of the turkey season brings unique challenges. But you can still absolutely take a turkey, even on the last day. You will need to change your strategy and tactics, however. On this episode I give you tips to adjust your hunting style for maximum late season turkey hunting success.
Late season gobblers do a whole lot less gobbling than they do in the early season. But they are still out there, still interested in hens, and still huntable. You will have to break your dependence on gobbling to be able to hunt them successfully though. You will need to become more patient as well and be slower to move. The only way you will have the confidence to do these things is if you are reasonably sure there are gobblers around.
Scouting is the most important part of late season hunting. It is the only thing that will give you the confidence to sit and wait even when you do not hear anything. It gives you the mental fortitude and motivation to endure silent days and always be on guard ready to shoot at the first sign of a long beard. Late season hunting without scouting is like a role of the dice, you might get lucky but usually you will lose.
For some hunters the late season is their favorite time of the year to be in the woods, and depending on what state you are in, that time can be more productive than others. But some like it because fewer hunters are out and because gobblers are often more lonely and more likely to come in to a call. In some states though the birds are past that point by the end of the season and the urge to mate has begun to fade and birds begin to start to flock back up into small groups. But even then, you can still hunt them.
Even post mating gobblers will come to check out a call from time to time. They are also looking for other birds to join up with. They likely will not do much gobbling, but they may still come in to take a peek.
Regardless of where you hunt and what phase of the breading cycle your season ends during, you need to adjust your tactics for hunting quiet birds. But can absolutely still hunt them and take them home. Scout hard and hunt strong.
Very rarely do you come across something that is really innovative in the hunting industry. When I first saw theTideWe See Through Hunting Ground BlindI thought it was too good to be true. How could you really see through a blind that appeared solid from the outside while maintaining any durability at all? Well, TideWe found a way.
This thing is impressive all the way around. It really has no major weaknesses. Even the things I was the most skeptical about, are now areas I am fairly impressed with. This blind may not be for everyone, but it is certainly for most people, including me. It is perfect for deer hunting, turkey hunting, and I am sure much more.
I had been watching and thinking about these see through blinds for a year or two, slowing warming up to the idea of giving them a try. One of my older large, rugged year-round hunting blinds was wearing out and needed replaced so I decided this was the right time to give it a try. And I am very glad I did!
Can You Really See Through This Blind?
So, the obvious question is can you really see through the blind? Does it work like the marketing says it does? Well, surprising, yes. It really is see through on three entire sides from top to bottom. But it is not crystal clear “see through”, it is very similar to closing the mess on a regular hunting blind and looking through that, except the whole blind is that mesh.
The blind does have windows which so easily slide open up and down so you can have a clear unobstructed view and shooting window. The slides for the mesh around the windows are really good quality and well designed. They work better and are more durable than on other blinds I have used. Opening and closing the windows is great. I did hunt with the windows open, but I wanted a crystal-clear view and wanted to be able to see some distance.
Is the blind really a solid shape from the outside? Yes and very yes. It looks just as firm and solid as the old solid wall hunting blind that it replaced. If you are more than a foot or two away, this blind looks very solid. From a few yards back, it is like a wall. When I showed it to people they could not believe how clear it looks from the inside while appearing completely solid from the outside.
Can You Shoot Through It?
Could you shoot through the mesh walls or window panels? I think so. In fact, normally when I’m hunting deer, I leave the mesh on a blind closed and shoot through it, even with a bow. I think you could do that with this TideWe blind just fine, and if the deer or turkey is within archery range, you will be able to see them very clearly and can shoot right through the mesh. Here is a review of the Rage Hypodermic Broadheads I normally use when shooting through mesh.
I was hunting with a gun and wanted to be able to see further so I opened the mesh on every hunt this past season. I also did not want to shoot a hole in the window mesh of my beautiful new ground blind. The window mesh is the same material the walls of the blind are made of.
What is so great is that you open your windows slightly so you can see and shoot far, but then you can still see all the way around you because the blind is see through. So many times, I have had a deer or a turkey in my blind spot, sometimes just a few feet away and could not see it. I waited and waited for a look and then either it walked off or did not cross into my field of view long enough to make a decision and take a shot. With this blind I can see the animals sooner and even shoot right through the blind if I want to.
So how does the see through effect work? It must be some kind of optical illusion impacted by how close you are to the fabric along with the relative darkness in the blind vs. light outside. I don’t really know, but that is my best guess. But even cameras do show it as clear. A still photo shows it as much less clear than the human eye does, that is for sure. The see through effect is much more impressive in person but it still shows up via photo somewhat.
Does it really work? Yes. Can you shoot through it? Yes. Is it magically crystal clear enabling you to see and shoot 100+ yards, no its not that good.
How Deer & Turkey Perceive It
Sure, the TideWe See Through Hunting Blind looks perfectly solid and concealing to people, but what do animals think? That is all the matters after all. Well, I had deer and turkeys within a few feet of me multiple times. Neither had any idea I was there. Eventually some of the deer did sniff me out and get spooked, but that will happen when they walk all the way around you feeding. No hunting blind will stop that, nor is it a reasonable expectation. I do not think this blind created any disadvantage when it comes to scent control. I could have easily shot those same deer multiple times before they winded me.
The turkeys cared less than the deer, in fact I sat there watching turkeys feed, scratch, and preen for the better part of an hour before they finally moved along. I even sat there and called to them some and they were not at all alarmed. I was perfectly concealed, even with the mesh windows open.
A personal note here, most people wear back inside a hunting blind. I wear camo with a loose camo mesh face mask. I think it provides concealment that is just as good as black if not better when you are dealing with mesh. And I never know when I may opt to leave the blind to hunt on foot and value that flexibility. I’ve never had an animal spooked by wearing camo inside of a camo blind. And with this blind, wearing camo inside feels all the more appropriate. Here is a podcast episode I did on When Ground Blinds Are Great For Deer Hunting.
Setup & Durability
I find that pop up hunting blinds are like consumable products. They have a shelf life. Not that they spoil or rot, but they are kind of like a cell phone, they only last for so long. And a 2–3-year service life is about all you can expect because they are seemingly designed to begin to fail at that point.
In my own experience I find I do more damage to the blind by setting it up and taking it down than if I just leave it up year-round. Half of my blinds have been damaged or broken during setup or take down. That is when there is a lot of stress placed on the joints, rods, and fabric. I have been through some of the toughest hunting blinds on the market, and I’ll probably start building my own wooden ones eventually. But very few blinds are what I would consider very durable and can be setup without risk of damage.
To my great surprise, this TideWe see through hunting blind is among the toughest blinds I have used. The setup is also among the easiest and I never felt like I was going to break it. Not something I can say about some of the blinds on the market that build their brand around how tough they are. The perforated mesh fabric is very thick and robust.
Now I have not left this blind in the woods for a few straight years yet, but once I do, I’ll come back and edit this post to let you know how it is doing. TideWe does not recommend doing that, no one does, except a company I once spoke with at a convention that said they left one of their blinds in a field for five years and it never faded. I bought one, and it faded faster than any blind I’ve ever had! It was white within a year! I am sure the TideWe will do better than that.
Like all quality ground blinds this one comes with stakes and tie down cords so you can anchor the blind at about 8 points with the ground. And I can say that it is very tolerant of bad weather. I hunted though some pretty heavy rain and was totally dry. Likewise, no windstorms caused any concerns, damage, or even slack in the cords. I was expecting this blind to be a flimsy vanity piece but it is strong, durable, and holds up really well. This was the greatest surprise in my book. This thing will definitely help you put venison in your freezer. And along those lines, here is a helpful video I did on 10 Reasons Deer Meat Tastes Bad & How To Fix It
Size, Noise, & Pricing
According to TideWe, the dimensions of this blind are as follows: Height: 65″, Hub to Hub: 75″x75″, Floor Space: 58″x58″ This design allows you to comfortably accommodate two or three hunters. I did not measure the blind, but I feel confident it is sized properly. However, like all ground blinds, if you want to know how many people will really fit inside, take the number of people it is rated for and subtract one. So, this is really a 1-2 person blind.
As a solo hunter, I had all the room in the world. Room for gear, backpacks, calls, etc., and plenty of room to use a long gun. It was just the way I like it. It could comfortably accommodate another hunter, but not two more. The only way to fit three people is if they are children. But this is true across the entire hunting blind industry. Every company overestimates this.
The blind is also surprisingly quite. I am not fan at all of a zippered door, but this zipper is quite quiet if you open and close it slowly. Much quieter than my zippered door blind this TideWe is replacing. The windows is where it works great, you can open them without hardly any sound at all. They are exactly what I like, and you can open and close them easily from inside and outside of the blind.
TheTideWe See Through Hunting Ground Blindretails for $239.99 but TideWe seems to always have it on sale on their website. Its normally available for around $160. Sometimes less. I requested a special discount code for my readers so you can save 18% off even sale prices if you use my code GK18 at checkout on TideWe’s website.
I really am impressed with this hunting blind. The see through effect is a great feature, but it is also just a really solid and well-constructed hunting blind. It is smartly designed and good quality. Is the see through effect an amazing life changing feature? No, but it is helpful and makes the hunting experience more enjoyable and effective. I would not hesitate to get one of these, in fact I may end up getting another one or two because of how much I like it compared to other similarly priced blinds on the market.
Till next time. God bless you, and go get em in the woods!
George Konetes Ph.D. – Founder and Host of the New Hunters Guide.
The New Hunters Guide is simply what George wishes he would have had when learning how to hunt; a single place to get practical hands on knowledge about different kinds of hunting, gear, strategy, and tips that can improve your comfort and fun factor in the woods.
Turkey hunters often find themselves in situations where a gobbling tom will not come any closer. There can be many reasons for this, but an overlooked factor could be that they are faced with a subordinate turkey that will not behave the same way as dominant bird. On this episode I talk about how to recognize and hunt these turkeys.
Subordinate turkeys want to breed, they will gobble, they may strut, they will show interest, but stop short. This happens when they are afraid of the dominate tom in the area. Turkeys have a pecking order, and the strongest more aggressive bird is usually at the top and may try to get exclusive breeding rights at times. These birds may attack subordinates if they try to breed a hen in their presence.
Subordinate birds may be afraid of the boss tom in the area and will not breed hens if they think the boss tom is around or if that hen sounds like one that usually comes to the boss tom.
However, there are still ways to hunt these turkeys, but they require different tactics. You will have to change what you are doing if you recognize you are face-to-face with a subordinate bird.
It should also be noted that subordinate turkeys are no less a trophy than any other bird in the woods. They may indeed be as big or bigger than the dominant turkey, they could be smarter or even order, they just may be less aggressive and are not interested in fighting against the dominate bird. Every turkey is a trophy.
Listen to the podcast episode to hear about how to recognize and hunt subordinate turkeys successfully.
Most turkey hunting failures result from three main issues. If you can fix these, you will start taking turkeys. Some take experience to overcome but there are some shortcuts you can take. On this episode I give a very focused strategy to help new hunters overcome their biggest weakness and get their first gobblers.
The three main issues that ruin turkey hunts are:
No Turkeys. No matter how good your gear is or how impressive your calls may be, if there are not turkeys in the area you are hunting then it is all for nothing. There must be turkeys around to have a chance at turkeys. And if you want to take home gobblers, you cannot leave this up for chance. You must scout and figure out where the turkeys spend their time. Look for tracks, droppings, scratches, strut zones, feathers, trail camera footage, or listen for early morning gobbles. Employ any and all means possible to find out if there are turkeys around. This makes all the difference in the world.
Not Stealthy Enough. Turkey hunters are too often careless. Talking while they walk in, breaking branches, pushing through heavy brush, taking phone calls, loudly charging their shotgun in the woods, etc. Stealth is absolutely critical for keeping turkeys unaware and off guard. And then, even once finally situated, many hunters cannot sit still, they move and stretch and open loud candy wrappers. Turkey hunting is a game of stealth, you need to disappear. One movement or sound at the wrong moment will cost you a hunt. Never assume a turkey will gobble far away to alert you to be on guard. So many times, a bird came in, noticed you, and disappeared without you even knowing they were near.
Poor Calling AKA Overcalling. I think that you can get 80% of the benefit of calling with 20% of the skill. The basics are all you need to get turkeys to come in. Do not play with fancy or exotic calls that you are not comfortable with. Stick with the basics, call sparingly and stop calling when a tom is on his way to you and is closing distance. People often mess up a hunt by overcalling. They get so excited that they just call back every time the bird gobbles. Every now and then this will work but you need experience to judge that effectively. Toms want hens to come to them, they are gobbling to let the hens know where they are so the hens can come over. If you are close by and constantly calling, then a gobbler knows where you are and will likely just keep working to entice you to come over for a visit. He will get hung up too often. This is another reason I caution against decoys and did the article: How To Hunt Turkeys Without Decoys.
Each of these issues can ruin a hunt but each can be addressed. You can scout in advance and find good places to hunt. And there are ways to amplify your steal capabilities if you have identified a good hunting location. Ground blinds for example can mask your movement and minimize your sound. They can help you overcome core weaknesses that most new hunters take years to improve.
Listen to the full podcast episode to hear it all!
So, you have a gobbler coming right in and he stops just outside of range and will not come any closer. Every turkey hunter has or will experience these moments. But the hunt isn’t over, you can still get that turkey, but it might require a change of approach. On this episode I cover several strategies for successfully hunting hung up gobblers.
Why do gobblers get hung up? People often think there is some mystical reason why a turkey would come in hot and then stall out just beyond your range. But this is actually very normal turkey behavior. Typically, the hen turkey comes to the gobbler when he calls or when she sees him. So, the gobbler may be coming in quickly to close the distance to get close enough to be seen and heard by the hen. And once he makes visual contact or comes within audio range, he will begin to call and strut to get the hen’s attention. He is trying to impress the lady bird.
Trying to get the gobbler to come right to the obvious hen is a little bit against nature, it certainly works sometimes, but it can be very problematic other times.
So, when a turkey is moving in quickly to your position and he sees your decoy 80 yards away, he may assume the hen can see him and he has gotten close enough to be seen and heard so he will start gobbling and strutting to win over the hen, expecting her to come to him. The same thing can happen when he gets in close, and the hunter continues calling. He may not see the hen, but he can hear that she is close, so assuming she is behind a nearby tree, the tom will start to gobble and strut trying to get her to pop out and come over.
When the turkey hunter goes quiet and has no decoy, the gobbler continues to come closer trying to close the distance and figure out what direction the hen has moved off to, he often comes to the last place he heard the calling from in order to try and figure out which direction to search next. So just by ceasing to call and not having a decoy you can prevent some hang ups.
But what do you do after the tom has hung up? There are numerous strategies you can employ to change things up and get the turkey to commit and cover the last few yards worth of ground to come into range.
Listen to this podcast episode to hear all about it!
Does all of the best turkey hunting happen early in the morning? Some professionals say yes, but others say no. The bottom line is that there is still good turkey to be had all day long IF you know how to take advantage of it. On this episode, I give strategies to successfully hunt spring gobblers later in the morning after many hunters have already left for breakfast.
Turkeys are indeed the most vocal early in the morning, you can often figure out where they are roosting and hear some very exciting gobbling. This is fun and exhilarating but that still does not guarantee success, even when you have the perfect spot, and you are surrounded by turkeys. It can still be hard to connect when everything is working perfectly because the turkeys have their own plans, and we cannot always get them to do what we want.
As the morning wears on, turkeys get less vocal and are harder to locate. Many hunters get bored with this and head out of the woods, but the truth is, the odds of a turkey coming in later in the morning may increase. Once gobblers have bred the hens they were with at first light, they often find themselves alone and are more likely to take action when they hear you calling. But they may gobble little or not at all. They make quietly and slowly sneak in to find you.
If you make some adjustments to your hunting style and strategy you can have very successful hunts after sleeping in and lazily strolling into the woods at 9:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. The big key here is stealth, moving slowly, quietly, and with cover whenever possible. You are more likely to spook gobblers because you won’t hear them to know where they are, so you have to move quietly.
There are several ways you can hunt birds this time of day, such as stealthy sits with infrequent calling hoping to ambush a quiet gobbler as he stalks his ways into you or running and gunning to cover ground and create more opportunities. This kind of hunting can be very productive but too often people mess it up and hurt their chances because they make a few simple and easy to avoid mistakes. Taking a little more care can help a lot, especially if you have limited acres to hunt or limited energy to cover lots and lots of ground.
Listen to the podcast episode to learn more about how to hunt turkeys late, lazy, and quietly.
When is the right time to upgrade to a dedicated turkey hunting shotgun, and should you? Much of what dedicated turkey guns offer is ergonomic in nature, they provide little functional advantage. However, they do you give you one very important benefit that may be worth the price alone.
Turkey hunting typically involves a single shot, which means any shotgun with the proper choke can provide optimal performance. So upgrading to a pump action shotgun or a semi-automatic shotgun does not give you much of an advantage. Adding camouflage to the gun provides only a slight benefit, and while a shorter barrel may be helpful, you can always buy a shorter barrel for your current shotgun.
The biggest reason you may want to upgrade to a dedicated turkey gun is the benefit of optics. A good red dot or low power scope can provide you with a massive benefit that regular shotgun sights do not provide. They enable you to hit your target even if your shooting form is compromised due to sitting on the ground in an awkward position.
I believe that most turkeys which are missed, are missed because the hunter did not mount their shotgun properly due to the rigors associated with hunting from the ground and shooting from an awkward sitting position. They had their front bead on the turkey, but their eye was far enough at an angle that their pattern missed the turkey or only scored a marginal hit. They then blame the gun, the choke, the ammo, and everything else except the real cause, they shouldered the shotgun in an awkward position.
A good optic can give you a fixed aiming aid that can help you hit the target even if you are somewhat out of alignment. If you miss alot of turkeys, they can be a game changer for you. In truth a good hunter with proper form does not gain much from adding an optic but turkey hunting often compromises our shooting form. Here my full article that goes deeper into this subject: How To Fit A Shotgun To You – Length of Pull, Comb Height, & Cast
If your turkey hunting shotgun setup works good for you and you are consistently hitting turkeys then there is no reason to consider a dedicated turkey hunting shotgun. But if a gun that is better tailored to this pursuit appeals to you, and adding an optic may be helpful, then this could be a good purchase decision.
Also keep in mind that if you only use the shotgun for turkey hunting, you can sight it in for your favorite turkey load once and save money vs. having to do it every season when you put an optic back onto an all purchase shotgun. And if you are shooting TSS, that can save you alot of money every year.