Show Notes:

It is an age old turkey hunting question, should you take a shot on the jake that comes by, or hold out for a mature tom. On this episode I examine the ins and outs of this question and heartedly answer it from the perspective of the new hunter.

Take Aways

  • A jake is a juvenile male turkey that is 1 year old, they have a shorter beard, staggered tail fan feathers, no spurs, and weigh a couple pounds less.
  • A tom is a mature male turkey that is 2+ years old, they have a longer beard, uniform tail feathers, developed spurs, and are a bit larger.
  • Turkeys do get a little heavier the older they get, but diet matters much more than age.
  • Younger birds are usually more tender and tasty than older birds.
  • Jakes tend to be a little less cautious than mature birds but may also not react as strongly to calls.
  • Jakes often travel in pairs and groups, even during the season. They can breed but it is unlikely they will unless there are no toms in the area.
  • Listen to the episode to hear the answer to the question of whether you should shoot jakes, and the reasons behind it.

Show Notes:

I have seen almost every turkey hunter I have ever known make the same critical error. This includes people who are brand new to the sport and those who have been hunting for 40 years and have written books on the subject. This has cost people many successful hunts (myself included) and it has cost many a measure of their health as well. On this episode I talk with Bill Dickinson, an expert hunter, doctor, and co-founder of an amazing outdoor company that is doing some of the most important work in the industry.

Take Aways

  • Until recently there has been no great ways to hunt turkeys and protect your hearing. Ear plugs ruined the hunt and electronic ear plugs only sort of ruined the hunt while creating other issues.
  • Hearing loss is cumulative over time. Every shot taken potentially harms your hearing some, for other it causes more harm.
    • Research shows that some people’s hearing can take more of a beating while other people lose their hearing faster. But sometimes even those with robust hearing are unexpectedly just one gunshot away from partial deafness
  • Bill, who is a doctor of audiology, co-founded a company called Tetra Hearing with the express goal of not just preserving people’s hearing, not just preserving the sound of the hunt, but improving the auditory experience of the hunt WHILE protecting your hearing.
  • For those with perfect hearing, Bill’s product enables you to hear like normal while magnifying the sounds that turkeys make so you can hear them from further away.
    • As soon as you pull the trigger a sensor causes the device to go from amplification to suppression, blocking out the sound of the gunshot like traditional ear plugs.
  • For those with poor hearing, Tetra’s product acts as a hearing aid, amplifying the sounds of the woods to match your hearing level and augmenting the unique sounds that turkeys make.
    • And again, as soon as you take a shoot, it is instant hearing protection.
  • Always wear hearing protection of some kind, if at all possible. ESSPECIALLY when you may be taking multiple shots or hunting with others who may be shooting too.

You can learn more about Bill’s work and company by visiting TetraHearing.com and you can take a free hearing test to help assess your current condition. 

(Disclaimer, there are no affiliate links, no commissions or kick backs, I do not make a dollar if you purchase anything. I genuinely and strongly believe in the work Bill is doing)

Show Notes:

Turkey decoys are all the rage, and just like any tool there are times they are right for the job. But on this episode I look at times when decoys are very much the wrong tool for the job and can even cost you the hunt.

Take Aways

  • Decoys are like a screw driver, they have a few focused uses. But they cannot be the only tool you use.
  • Decoys are a big industry and have great marketing, but even a gold plated screw driver still only has a few useful applications.
  • In the real world you need to be concerned with how other animals interact with your decoys, not just how turkey’s like them.
  • If you hunt on public land, decoys could attract other hunters as much or more than turkeys.
  • Weather plays a part and can effect decoy appearance and behavior.
  • Many people change the way they hunt to be less focused on taking gobblers and more focused on how to best use decoys…
  • Jake decoys and tom decoys may turn off more birds than they attract, especially later in the season.
  • Listen to the full episode to here the 3 times turkey decoys do more bad than good, and stay turned for a bonus situation or two.

Show Notes:

Calling a gobbling turkey to you is the main way to hunt these birds, but that does not mean you should never move from your position. On this episode I talk about times when moving can help boost your chances of calling a turkey to you.

Take Aways

  • Turkey hunting is most often an active sport because hen turkeys are constantly in motion. So if you move you are actually becoming more realistic.
  • Never move when a bird is close and coming to you, there is a time to move and a time for perfect stillness.
  • Even on small properties, there are times where small movements can make the difference.
  • If you call a lot, it can hurt you to stay in one spot. Hens just don’t do that.
  • Turkey hunting is like a dance at times, you move, they move, you move, they move, and hopefully you get the tom to work closer and closer.
  • Dress to move, pack light, and be nimble on your feet.
  • A little noise is ok. Turkeys make noise when they walk, and if a gobbler thinks you are a turkey then he will expect you to make a little noise when you move.
  • Listen to the episode to hear the 5 times you should move on a gobbling bird.

Show Notes:

Hunting turkeys on small parcels requires different strategy and technique to maximize your chances of success. On this episode I share practical step-by-step tips on how to make the most of small property gobbler hunts.

Take Aways

  • Turkeys do not know how big your parcel is or where the borders are, they are the same birds, what changes are your options for how you can hunt them.
  • You are not limited to the turkeys that are on your property, in fact your best chances could involve calling turkeys over from neighboring properties.
  • Scouting for birds uses the same principles but with a different approach for small areas. Look and listen for turkeys on nearby properties where your calls can reach but your boots are prohibited. 
  • Because turkey hunting is a close range sport, and your goal is to get birds within 30 yards, you likely have more areas and corners of a small property that are huntable than you might realize. 
  • Consider using a bow or crossbow if you are close to other buildings, this helps with safety and makes you less obvious and alarming if you take a shot.
  • Turkey habitat changes as the season goes on, it may improve or get worse as cover and food sources change. Just because there are no birds near your property today does not mean there wont be any in a week or two.
  • Don’t call the same way on a big property as a small one, you do not have the luxury of walking to a new area where the birds haven’t heard you. Less is usually better.
  • Scouting for setup locations is different for small properties, there are a few advantages available to you.
  • Think outside the box, some unconventional practices might be reasonable to try, simply because your options are limited.
  • Even if you only have a couple acres, you can still move a little to make your calling more realistic, especially if you are hunting from the same spot day-after-day.
  • Listen to the episode to hear the tips and strategies for hunting turkeys on small properties

Show Notes:

When it comes to turkey hunting, a lot of mystique has developed around the shells, shot, and choke tubes used to get the best patterns to take gobblers at range. On this episode I break down the different types of shells, shot, and chokes, and what the advantages are of each to help you make the best decisions for your hunting style and budget.

Take Aways

  • Shells – There are four main categories of shotgun shells for this sport; target loads, high brass loads, turkey loads, and heavier than lead loads.
  • Shot – There is a balance between larger heavier pellets that go further and have more impact power and smaller more numerous pellets that improve your odds of hitting a vital area.
  • Chokes – Too often full or extra full chokes are branded as turkey chokes but they do not have sufficient constriction. A proper turkey choke for a 12 gauge shotgun should measure 0.68 or smaller. Anything from 0.68 down to 0.65 is ideal.
  • Range – Hunting turkeys beyond 40 yards introduces a host of problems with expectations of gear, the marksmanship of the hunter, and ethics of being able to consistently and humanely take game. It is hard to even see a turkey’s head and neck at long range. New hunters should limit their shots to 40 yards. Under 30 yards is ideal.
  • Testing – Every combination of shells, shot, choke, and shotgun will behave differently. What is perfect for one hunter may not work as well for another.  Testing is the only way to know what your setup is capable of and and how to evaluate it.
  • Listen – There is no substitute for listening to this episode learn about these components in depth.

The New Hunters Guide Podcast has now expanded to video and has launched on YouTube! We are now not only able to reach more people but we can do more things and unique things with video that we could not do with audio alone. 

Please help us launch and grow the new YouTube channel buy subscribing, commenting, and liking videos! It all effects the YouTube algorithm and helps us reach more people.  You can find the new channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjvticGCNP4ta-K2-CK_6A 

Show Notes:

Turkeys are constantly in search of food. On this episode I talk about the simplest, easiest, and cheapest ways you can draw gobblers toward a property with food and the types of habitat that produce turkey food naturally.

Take Aways

  • Most turkey food plot mixes and plans focus on creating food in the fall, which does not impact the spring hunt much.
  • Come spring time, birds are looking for whatever they can find, and it can take very little to create an attraction then vs. any other time of the year.
  • Left over mast like acorns can draw birds but this is not a consistent spring hunting strategy.
  • Clearings and low grass will attract bugs and grasshoppers that are favored spring meal items for turkeys.
  • Creating clearings without even planting can draw birds, depending on the surrounding habitat.
  • Clover is a great, easy, and cheap spring food plot idea that grows back every year at the right time
  • Cover provides protein and good bug habitat in the spring. It requires no tilling, and a weed whacker is often all you need to create exposed soil.
  • A clearing or clover patch that is as small as 1/8th of an acre can be enough to make a difference.
  • Turkeys will travel for food, especially in the spring. If you can give them food and some cover, you can influence bird movement patterns.
  • Listen to this episode for more details and strategies. 

 

Show Notes:

A lot of factors go into trying to determine if one type of hunting is “easier” than another. On this episode I compare whitetail deer and turkey hunting to examine the difficulties and advantages of each pursuit to help new hunters better decide where to start and to help more experienced hunters expand into new areas of hunting.

Factors to consider for hunting either deer or turkey:

  • Geography and habitat are core to determine which type of game is more abundant around you.
  • General hunting pressure will train animals to be more or less skittish around humans.
  • Deer tend to adapt to some human pressure while turkeys seem to get more paranoid.
  • Deer hunting requires excellent preparation, selecting not just the right area but even the right tree in advance.
  • Turkey hunting tends to require more diverse skill sets like perfect concealment on the ground, calling, and moving stealthily at critical times.
  • Deer hunting requires a lot of advanced strategy while turkey hunting requires more decisions that are made in the moment.
  • Turkey hunting requires more gear to start out with but the birds are easier to carry out of the woods.
  • A spooked deer is hard to chase, but a turkey that takes flight may be impossible to ever catch sight of again.
  • Deer are larger and thus harder to conceal than turkeys.
  • Larger animals also tend to leave larger more recognizable sign.
  • Listen to the whole episode for more and to see how both pursuits stack up against each other.

Show Notes:

From beginner to expert, the backpack is a staple piece of gear for almost all hunters. Picking the right backpack is very important because you will use it for almost every hunt in every season. It is an important decision but it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. On this episode I talk about how to pick the right backpack and what to put inside it. 

Take Aways

  • Do not let other people, especially ones selling backpacks tell you what is important to you.
  • Start with something you already have or can get cheap, hunt with it, and let experience tell you what features matter to you.
  • More expensive does not always mean more useful for YOU. 
  • The features that often add cost are not always features that will benefit you or your hunting style.
  • The best backpack out there is the one that will do what YOU need it to do, reliably and consistently. And that usually amounts to something that will carry your stuff. 
  • Your pack does need to be comfortable, concealable, and rugged.
  • Bigger is not better, in fact often smaller is better for longer hunts.