Show Notes:

To hunt turkeys you must find turkeys. Scouting is a critical part of spring gobbler hunting. On this episode, I talk about the 4 S’s of turkey scouting. These techniques will not just help you find turkeys but identify areas and tactics for optimal hunting. Scouting also gives you another great reason to get outside in the spring! 

Take Aways:

  • Stealth – Turkeys are easily spooked and it can take weeks for them to recover and return to their regular areas.
    • Make sure you are not seen or heard when scouting and do not enter into areas where you think birds are active.
    • Do not probe deeper into an area than you need to, once you identify where the birds are and where is good to hunt, get out and disturb as little as possible.

 

  • Sign – You can identify turkeys by sight, sound, tracks, droppings, feathers, scratching’s, strut zones, and dustings.
    • These birds are one of the easier types of game to locate as the season approaches because of their sounds and impact on the land.
    • A great times to go out scouting is 12-36 hours after a heavy rain, soft ground makes for more tracks and the dropping you find are likely to be fresher.

 

  • Sight-line – Watching your angles applies to scouting for birds, but it is very important when it comes to scouting for places to setup and hunt.
    • Ideally you want to limit a turkey’s ability to see you before it comes into shotgun range.
    • With every step you take, scouting and hunting, think where would you setup if a turkey were on it’s way to you. Always look for good cover, good angles and good spots.

 

  • Safety – As with all hunting, you need to know where your shot has the potential to end up.
    • Turkey’s create unique safety concerns because usually you hunt them on the ground but it is possible to take a shot in the air.
    • Be very mindful of whether it is advisable to take a shot at a flying bird every time you set up.
    • Also remember you want to keep yourself safe from other hunters, be cautious everything you hear, human footsteps and turkey steps can sound very similar. 

 

Show Notes:

Spring turkey hunting is fun, versatile, and exciting. No matter what your hunting style is, there is a strategy that is a good fit for you. Today I talk about the four major strategies for spring turkey hunting. This is not an exhaustive list, but most spring gobbler hunting approaches will fall under one of these main headings.

Take Aways:

  • The Blind Sit. This approach involves just picking a spot, going there, calling, and spending the morning hoping there are turkeys around that might come in to you. This works best when you have limit scouting time and limited hunting land.
    • A hunting blind can be helpful here.
  • Scout and Sit. A strategy that focuses on finding the best parcel and the best location before the season starts and then hunkering down and spending the morning in the spot you deemed to have the best prospects. This works best if you have enough time to scout and a good handle on the local turkey habits, or if you are unable or unwilling to cover a lot of ground. 
    • A hunting blind can be helpful here.
    • Finding where birds roost and then calling them down to you falls under this category.
  • Running and Gunning. This involves covering a lot of ground using a logging road, gas well road, or some kind of trail you can move quietly and easily on. You stop and call every few hundred yards hoping to strike up a conversation with a gobbler. This works best if you have a lot of land you can hunt, limited scouting time, or arrive in the woods later in the morning.
    • Some people like to use ATV’s for this. Whether it’s legal or not in your area, it destroys the peace of the woods and nullifies the best part of hunting. It is not the way of a true sportsman. 
  • Active Recon. This strategic approach involves getting to a high listening post early, listening for gobblers to sound off before flying down from the roost, weighing the options and moving to get ahead of where you think a bird is going, and then trying to call him into you. This works best if you have a significant amount of land, some hills, and area able to get in the woods before the gobblers wake up. 
    • In some states it is illegal to stalk turkey sounds. This approach is not doing that. It is orienting yourself in the woods to give you the best chance of calling a turkey to you. You are NOT listening for birds and trying to sneak up on them and shoot them, legal or not, that approach just doesn’t work anyway. 
  • There is no right way, wrong way, or best way. It is a matter of finding the best fit for you and the land you are able to hunt. 

Show Notes:

There is no other kind of hunting like spring turkey, or as it is formally called, spring gobbler. I think turkey hunting is a good enough reason to start hunting by itself, and you should try doing it! On today’s episode I talk about how I was introduced to turkey hunting, why it is my favorite type of hunting, and why you should do it too!

Take Aways:

  • Spring is beautiful, it is a wonderful time of year to be outside. Everything comes alive, and spring gobbler season gives you a reason to get out there and hunt one of the most lively animals in the woods during that time of year.
  • Hunting gobblers is active, invigorating, and skillful. You move, you listen, you call, and the birds call back. It’s a ton of fun!
  • It is usually a half day hunt, or a morning hunt so it fits easily into your schedule.
  • It’s a lighter type of  hunting, you don’t need to carry much with you, you can walk further, and turkey’s are not that heavy so it is easy to carry them back.
  • Because you can cover a lot of ground, you can explore, see new places, and scout out places to hunt other game.
  • Spring is warmer, which is more comfortable, and cheaper to dress for.
  • You are used to eating and preparing turkeys. Once the bird is skinned, you are familiar with how to work with it, so it is an easy entry point compared to say butchering a deer.
  • Turkey calling is a fun skill that is easy to start doing but so deep that you can spend a lifetime improving and developing in it.
  • In my opinion, turkey hunting can make you better at many other kinds of hunting because so many of the skills translate to other types of game.

Show Notes:

When most people think about hunting, they don’t think about crows. Many lifelong hunters have never even attempted to go out after them. But crows are one of the most fun types of game to pursue, and may be the single best place for new hunters to get started. On today’s episode I give a brief overview on crow hunting, including why you would do it, why it’s so much fun, the basic gear you need, and the unique aspects of this type of hunting.

Take Aways:

  • Crows are in season for around 10 months of the year, from July to mid April in  my home state of Pennsylvania, and they can be hunted on Sundays when almost nothing else can be.
  • The two main seasons to hunt them are in the middle of winter and the middle of summer because there no other major hunting seasons and so few hunters in the woods.
  • All you NEED is a shotgun and crow call. Camo or black clothing is better but you can get by wearing whatever you have.
  • Crow hunting involves calling crows from high-ish ground and waiting for them to come in within shotgun range.
  • You can hunt them any time of day, no need to wake up early or stay up late. 10:00 AM on a Saturday works perfectly!
  • You don’t need absolute stealth. Sure stealth helps, but this can be a social hunt. You can whisper as you go.
  • Crow hunting helps you scout and explore new places that you might want to hunt in other seasons.
  • Crow hunting gets you outside and active at beautiful times of year.
  • Crows are a pest and a menace animal, they eat crops, they make messes, they hurt farmers. Ever heard of a “scare crow” ? Famers use those to scare crows aware because there aren’t enough crow hunters. You are doing a public service!
  • You do not need to field dress, clean, or do anything with the dead crows. Take a photo or pluck a tail feather and then dispose of them. Or if you make your own arrows or art, pluck a lot of tail feathers.
  • You need no specialized skills for crow hunting, any beginner or group of beginners can do it. You just need a call.
  • Here are some options for crow calls. Inexpensive hand call. Modest electronic callFOXPRO electronic call (the one I use).

 

Show Notes:

Hunting is a rich, fulfilling sport. But unlike many sports, it is not as easy to tell who is good at it and who isn’t. This has given rise to a discouraging “everyone is a master in their own mind” mentality that far to many hunters share, from beginners to veterans.  On this episode, we talk about how to navigate that attitude in order to fully enjoy the sport without being subject to the opinions and judgements of others. It might not sound like a big deal, but this episode could be the difference between many newer hunters falling in love with the sport or leaving it discouraged.

Take Aways:

  • Every year people quit the sport or never start because of the pressure, attitudes, or superiority complex of other hunters.  This is crazy.
  • Getting a big buck, a long beard turkey, or an elk are all great pursuits. But taking a little buck, a doe, or even a squirrel can be just as fun, and sometimes more challenging. 
  • Hunting is about fun, it is not a competition, and no one has a right to shame anyone. The only person you can honestly compete with is yourself.
  • Just because someone says or lets on that they are a master means nothing. You would be surprised to know how many self proclaimed masters have never even taken the game they claim to be experts on.
  • Experience is valuable, pride is valueless. 
  • Every way of a man is right in his own eyes – Proverbs 21:2.
  • Expect people to tell you their way is the right way, whether it’s even worked for them or not. Listen to them, but then make your own decision.
  • But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise – 2 Corinthians 10:12.
  • Someone who thinks they are a more skilled hunter or a better person because they took a larger buck than you is plain foolishness. It means nothing, don’t even listen to it.
  • Plenty of successful hunters are miserable bitter people. The only thing they enjoy about taking a trophy is boasting about it. Those types of people are not really successful. If you take a trophy without having fun you are a failure. If you hunt and come back empty handed but had fun, then you are truly successful. 
  • If a person, or a forum, or a magazine put pressure and expectations on you and discourage you then walk away from that. Don’t allow it into your ears. People weave their own realities out of the opinions they surround themselves with. 
  • The best hunters, and the best teachers tend to be the humblest men and women. 
  • Pursue what is fun for you, and seek the company of people who enjoy the sport.
  • Get into the woods and enjoy being there, that means more than anything else!

Show Notes:

Coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and other predators have a very different post kill scenario than a deer, turkey, or other game that you would eat. The term “field dressing” a coyote is synonymous with skinning the animal so you can save or sell the hide. On today’s episode I talk about what you do with a coyote or fox once the animal is down and help you decide which approach is best for you.

Take Aways:

  • Do not eat predators, except in survival situations. It’s not about taste as much as it is not a healthy practice.
  • Unlike deer, you are not removing the organs, in fact you are not even cutting into the body cavity. 
  • A professional with the right tools can skin a coyote in 3 minutes, it will take a beginner much longer, but it is not a process that should be intimidating. 
  • Every depends on what you plan to do with the animal:
    • Mount the hide
    • Keep the hide
    • Keep the tail
    • Sell the whole animal
    • Sell the raw fur
    • Dry, tan, and sell the fur
    • Donate the animal to a fur trader
    • Keep a photo and discard the animal
  • Coyotes are considered pests in much of the U.S. which means it is acceptable to take a photo and discard the carcass.  But I recommend keeping the hide or part of it, as a trophy, especially for your first couple kills. 
  • In part of the country there are fur traders who will buy the animals whole, but they will pay much less than for a complete and tanned hide. Look for these if you are considering discarding the animal as a pest.
    • If nothing else, find a trapper to give the animal to. You could help them out and possibly gain some favors down the road.

Field Dressing / Skinning Videos:

 

 

 

 

Show Notes:

When it comes to hunting foxes, coyotes, bobcats, etc. at night, your flashlight is the piece of gear that makes the hunt possible. If you can’t see you can’t shoot. So having a good light is critically important. Having a bad light can make the adventure more challenging than it’s worth. On this episode I cover everything you need to know about predator hunting flashlights.

Take Aways:

  • The only good color for predator hunting lights is red.  There is no other option. Green is workable to get started if you already have one, but do not spend money on any color but red.
  • The light MUST have a red LED. There is no other option. A red filter over a white LED is going to suck away your range and brightness. If you already have a white light with a red filter, you can start with that to get your feet wet but ONLY buy a red LED light.
  • You want to have more light range than you think you need. A good minimum is 400-500 yards.  
  • The light is hardly visible at its max range. A 500 yard light will only give you reasonable illumination at 300-400 yards, and may only be bright enough to distinguish between animals at 200 yards, which is already shooting range.
  • If you have even a fair scope, you can see through it just fine using a red light to illuminate your target. No need to buy a special scope to get started  predator hunting at night. 
  • You want to buy a light with changeable LEDs so you can use a white LED, a green one, and a UV bulb in addition to your red bulb, this makes the light versatile so it can be used for searching, tracking wounded game, hog hunting, or anything else you would want a powerful light for. It also helps you get the most out of your investment.
  • Re-chargeable batteries are a must, this is a non-negotiable. 
  • I use and recommend Sniper Hawg Lights, here you can see that the 66LR will throw red light over 700 yards, and the light packages are here.

Show Notes:

Hunting coyotes and foxes can be done more comfortably and effectively with the right gear. However, depending on how you hunt them, you can start with very basic equipment and then work your way up as you get deeper into the sport. In this episode I cover the simplest level of gear you can use and then what would be ideal for the new hunter to use. Everything we talk about on this episode centers around the strategy of hunting predators at night.

Take Aways:

  • You can start predator hunting with almost anything that is warm enough for the weather as long as it’s dark colored. Black is best, but dark greens and grays would work as well. 
  • Its important to match footgear to the weather and terrain. Because you won’t be sitting for much more than an hour, you can get away with less footgear than say for deer hunting.
  • Hand and foot warms can be a lot of help, especially if you are dressing light!
  • Ideal attire for night hunting is full camo with gloves, hat, and a face covering, but your flashlight handling will play the biggest role and how well you can stay hidden.
  • You do not need to have a heavy pack for hunting foxes, coyotes, bobcats, etc.  The basics include a search flashlight, a head lamp, a knife, rubber gloves, some paper towers, plastic bag, and whatever tags might be needed in your area.
  • Look for clothing and footwear that is quite above all.
  • Noise and scent matter more than having perfect gear. Practice stealth for the best results!
 

 

Show Notes:

When it comes to hunting coyotes, foxes, bobcats, or larger predators, you a rifle that does a handful of very specific things.  Any rifle can work, but there may be downsides.  On this episode I talk in-depth about what attributes you want in a rifle, what chamberings are most effective, and what a new hunter should be looking for in a gun for predator hunting. My recommendations might surprise you. 

Take Aways:

  • Any gun can be used, from a shotgun to a magnum rifle, and if that is what you have, then start there to see if you enjoy the sport and want to invest more in it. 
  • Predator hunting rifles should fire a small bullet, at high speed, that is very accurate at long range. 
  • You want a round with minimal bullet drop, that will kill the animal quickly and humanely, without doing excessive damage to the fur.
  • Your benchmark distance should be 200 yards. You want to practice for that range and have the equipment to effectively take game at that range. Your ability and environment may call for longer or shorter shots, but this is where to start.
  • Adjustable trigger, longer barrel, and 4-12x or better scope are major features you want to have.
  • The smallest effective round for coyotes is 22 magnum at short range, it is not viable at long range. 
  • The largest advisable round is .243 Winchester which is a little bit too large but is a versatile rifle that can be used for deer as well. Larger rifles are fine for pest control but not for preserving the quality and value of the fur.
  • Three of the major ideal rounds are the .223, the 22-250, and the 204 Ruger
  • My recommendation for new hunters, is hands down the .223 for many reasons stated in the episode. The other calibers may be used more effectively by a master, but most hunters will not have the skill or environment to make use of any additional benefit they provide.
  • Savage makes Model 11’s and Model 10’s in various configurations that are ideal for the new hunter, as does Ruger with their American rifle line. Expect to spend between $400 and $600 for a new rifle with scope already mounted depending on what sales and deals you can find. 
  • Only buy a package deal if the scope comes with it’s own warrantee
  • New hunters should seriously consider getting a used rifle to save money. Which is one of the reasons for the .223 recommendation, there are many more of these guns out there.

Show Notes:

When it comes to hunting coyotes and foxes, you need to not only talk the talk but also look the part. Calls and decoys enable you to get predators to not just come close but to let their guard down enough for you to get a shot. In this episode I talk about how to find predators and what kinds of calls and decoys you can use to get started hunting them.

Take Aways:

  • When scouting, look for tracks, droppings, and the remains of previous meals. Predators tend to move around a lot looking for food, they will leave evidence behind if they are in the area.
  • Its best to look after it snows or after rain. This make tracks easier to find and it ensures they will be fresh.
  • Ask people who live near by if they have heard coyotes, they can be quite vocal and can be heard from a long distance.
  • Hand calls take time and practice to use effectively, and lots of energy to use for a long period of time. For beginners it is best to use an electric call, you can produce lots of excellent animal sounds with the push of a button.
  • Electronic calls typically come in three categories, junk, good, and great.  Don’t bother with the junk ones.
  • Good calls typically have 12-24 animal sounds preprogrammed in. They are perfect for the beginner. Here is a good entry level call I talked about in the episode. 
  • Great calls enable you to custom program in hundreds of calls so you can hunt just about anything. Here is a FoxPro call I talked about in the show, this is the one I use.
  • Decoys are important because they give predators something to see that connects to the sounds they have been hearing. And it gives them something to focus on that isn’t you! Just a piece of moving fur is all you need. Here is the MOJO decoy I talked about, this is all you need to get started.
  • They also make call/decoy combos which are very handy. Here is the combo call I discussed.