The newest generation of hunting ground blinds are see through, semitransparent fabric that appears to be solid from the outside. Are these blinds any good? Do they live up to the hype? You should try one? Well, I took the plunge and got one.  After hunting out of a TideWe see through blind all last season I am here to report on the results. 

I really did not have high expectations for the quality of see through hunting blinds. But after giving them a try, I am impressed with the durability and quality of the material. They do work, you can see through them. But what really left a good impression on me is that they are a good solid hunting blind by any standard.

I go through a lot of ground blinds; I have used some of the top brands in the industry and none have done much to impress me with durability. I did not expect the see through blind to be more than just some paper thin mesh but I was pleasantly surprised. 

For the price, they are as good or better than any other similarly priced hunting blinds, see through or not. They hold up well to inclement weather, and kept me dry across numerous rainy days, with some days bringing heavy rain. The quality of the doors, windows, zippers, and hubs was all very good.

The see through element is very interesting. It was great to be able to see everything around me that was making noise from floor to ceiling. I could see what was a turkey and what was a sparrow. I could see what was a deer and what was a squirrel. I was able to have more advance warning of what was coming and if I needed to, I could have easily shot right through the transparent wall of the blind to take my game if no better shots presented themselves.

I did still open the windows in order to have a crisp long-range view. While you can see through the blind, it is like looking through mesh. So you can only see so far and so clearly. It is perfectly fine for archery ranges, but it would be hard to identify a deer at 100 yards. But the windows give you all the flexibility you need for perfect vision at a distance while still having the situational awareness you need for hunting just about anything that walks on the ground.

I reached out to TideWe and requested a special discount code for my audience so you can save 18% off even sale prices if you use my code GK18 at checkout on TideWe’s website.

Check out my detailed TideWe See Through Hunting Blind Review.

Listen to this entire podcast episode for all the of the details and information.

As a note, TideWe sent me this blind to do this review. Thanks to them for their support. 

If lead hunting ammunition is banned how big of an issue will it be in the hunting world? Are there viable non-toxic ammo options available? How can you keep hunting turkeys, pheasants, doves, deer, and everything else without lead ammo? What do you need to do in order to weather the storm? On this episode I talk about what is likely to happen if the ban occurs and what you can do to prepare so you are able to keep hunting without disruption. 

Will lead ammo be banned? I think so, at some point. I do not know if that is a month away, a year, or 10 years off, but I think at some point it will happen. The subject of whether or not lead ammo should be banned and all the politics and environmental concerns behind it is not something I am addressing in this podcast episode. I am focused on the simple practical things hunters need to know and do to transition from lead to non-toxic shot options to keep hunting.  

The solutions are different for every game species. For waterfowl hunting, we have been lead free for over 30 years, and finally the market has innovated some good alternatives. All other game ammo will benefit from this innovation, and waterfowl ammo can easily be adapted to hunt all game birds. The obstacle here is cost, since nontoxic loads are more expensive than lead hunting ammo. But I think eventually we’ll get used to the additional cost. 

The biggest issue with a lead ban will be the transition period. Reasonable and even good options exist with steel shot, bismuth shot, tungsten super shot, and copper bullets, among others. But if every hunter in America, or even just a handful of states has to drop their lead and pick up non toxic ammo, it is going to be very difficult and expensive to find legal ammo, probably for a few years as supply, demand, and manufacturing capabilities struggle to keep up and adjust. If you want to avoid this difficult eventuality, you need to make preparations in advance. 

Performance decrease for alternative ammo is a lesser concern, and in time I think it will not be a concern at all. For shotguns, TSS ammo is superior to lead already, for just about everything, it just costs a lot more. Bismuth ammo is very similar to lead’s performance capabilities and costs more, but not as dramatically more as tungsten.

When it comes to rifles, the copper bullets of today offer comparable performance to lead at regular hunting ranges for a little more cost. Where they lack performance is at extended range but this will not impact most hunters at all. And chances are, before long, new long range non-toxic bullets will be developed that have no performance deficit. 

I do not think it is a matter of if lead ammo is going to be banned, it is just a matter of when, and how suddenly it will occur. Ideally there will be a large period of time, maybe a five-year window given to transition over to alternative materials. This will give manufactures and hunters time to get geared up. But more than likely it will be more abrupt and there will be great supply chain issues as everyone tries to make the shift all at once. 

This is why all hunters should secure some non-toxic ammo now. Not cases and cases of it, but enough to last a couple of hunting seasons so you can weather any storm or shortage and be able to hunt without hindrance no matter what occurs in the hunting ammunition marketplace.

Listen to the whole podcast episode to hear all of the details.

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. 

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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 the Taxidermists 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 borax you 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.

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. 

Listen to the podcast episode to hear it all!

For more, check out this episode as well: How To Hunt A Turkey AFTER You Spooked It.

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.

Here is a link to the Mossberg 940 Pro Turkey Shotgun and Holosun 507k Review I mentioned in the episode. 

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.

Listen to the podcast episode to hear it all! 

Some of the saddest stories in turkey hunting happen after you pull the trigger. And they are nearly 100% preventable. On this episode I am going to talk about what you should do immediately after shooting a turkey to make sure you take the bird home, and you make it home safe. This is about much more than the obvious. 

There are two big concerns that present themselves immediately after pulling the trigger on a turkey.

  1. The first one is staying focused and on task until you can 100% confirm a clean ethical kill and the bird is not just stunned or wounded and about to run or fly away.
  2. The second one is safety for yourself and other people or property. So many things awful things have happened when people let their guard down and begin to celebrate a successful turkey hunt. Adrenaline is pumping, excitement is soaring, and we can easily make bad and unsafe decisions, and I am talking about a lot more than firearms accidents. 

You will want to celebrate a successful turkey hunt, and you should. It is a great accomplishment. But many birds have been lost because people celebrated prematurely, and life and limb have been lost because hunters celebrated recklessly. YOU MUST take responsible action immediately to confirm the kill and then set a handful of events in order to assure safety. Yes, shotgun safety is paramount, but there are other serious injuries that can occur beyond firearms accidents.

When a turkey goes down, even with the cleanest possible kill, it will still often thrash and flail on the ground. Kind of like a chicken with its head cut off. The bird is dead. It is not suffering, but the nervous system of the creature is in shock and muscles will continue to spam, sometimes off and on for a few minutes. It is easy to forget that turkeys are armed with brutal spurs that can cause serious damage to people. Children are especially at risk for being injured as a result of moving too quickly.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the hunt is not over until you have confirmed the bird is not breathing and tagged the turkey, and you are not out of danger until you are in your vehicle. Some of the worst accidents happen while walking out of the woods with a dead turkey. You all of these issues are largely preventable.

If the first thing you do is stop and pull out your cell phone to take photos and text people, you may find no bird to take photos of and have no idea where the bird went. You may also find yourself moments away from a terrible injury that you will likely not see coming.

In this podcast episode I share several real-life events from new hunters, professional hunters, and youth hunters where the simple steps I outline were not known or not followed. Taking very simple, obvious precautions can help you make sure you fill your tag with a spring gobbler and get you home in one piece to tell the story.

I also go further still and outline what to do with the turkey once you get home and talk about how to field dress a turkey as well as some wild turkey cooking basics

Listen to the full episode to hear it all.