Hunting Tips, Tricks, Recipes, Steve's Viewpoints and Real Hunting Stories!
Note from Steve; I am not a professional writer and tend to ramble my sentences,misspell, use improper grammar and many other no no's as a so called writer, but if you read between the lines I think you'll get my points!
I created a scent product line based on many years of using deer scents, bear scents, cover scents and using calls to bring in bucks to my stand. Most of you know I am not an antler hunter per say, I fill my freezer first and hunt big bucks second, this year was no exception except I was testing my newest product and wanted to show results when using it and the opportunity to fill a freezer and show results presented itself!.
I created a simple contraption out of a few components that I researched and put together to make what I call the Wicked Scent Wickah, or the Wicked Wickah. It's not like other contraptions for this on the market, simply because my wicks have a higher surface to air ratio that pushes more scent out from the way the system is set up to move scent in a constant flow, that when the natural air currents pick it up swirls the scent right from the ground where it's supposed to be coming from, right to the deer's nose. I knew if I could keep deer scent flowing steadily and strong that coupled with a doe estrus bleat and doe estrus scent it would be a double slam bucks can't resist.
It took me many years to learn I needed constant scent swirling in the air currents, and not to hang my scent pads 4-5 feet off the ground, if you are using them they should be placed 6-18 inches maximum from the ground, deer don't walk around with their noses up high smelling for things like a doe in heat, they do that for things like human odors because we walk vertical and in stands, our scent is higher in the air columns! Ever notice a deer approaching your stand and you hear them blow long before you know they are there, the next thing you hear is stamping of feet and a tail goes up and off they go, deer smell everything, but when they smell natural doe estrus urine they don't smell human and it's game on baby!
I researched deer scents for several years before deciding on the farm I selected for my product lines, they have an annual inspection by an accredited veterinarian of 100% of their herd, as part of their CWD monitoring, which they have been doing for over 10 years and are Certified CWD free with the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets as well as being Certified CWD free with The Archery Trade Association’s deer protection program. (ATA)
The key to your success is using the Wicked Wickah on your next trip out hunting. I recommend using an elevated stand when you can, set it up during mid day, a few days before you hunt it, make a mock scrape and re-freshen it with buck urine and doe dribbles daily or every other day, get in early to your stand location at least 30-45 minutes before legal shooting, place the Wicked Wickah about 15-30 yards out in front of your viewing area from your stand, place the fan end into the wind direction to force the scent to swirl coming out of the Wicked Wickah box housing. Stay in your stand until 11 AM each day before climbing down, remember to take the Wicked Wickah with you and bring it back when you return. Use a doe estrus bleat call every 3-5 minutes for two or three cycles, the little can works great, as soon as you can legally shoot or see to shoot. I call until about two hours after sunrise and then sit and observe without calling until I go in for lunch. I like to return about 1-2 PM, again placing out the Wicked Wickah and I don't start calling until 45 minutes before end of legal hours.
This is the results of using my new Wicked Scent Wickah in Maine this year, this young buck came in straight at the doe estrus scent at first light two days ago with no calling even made yet, it was 10 minutes into legal shooting time and the swamp was full of newly frozen water, the sounds of ice crunching made me look in that direction, at 200 yards I could make out movement bobbing and weaving through the ice ridden alders, he was on a dead trot coming straight in to my shooting lanes, when this deer made it within 75 yards he presented a perfect shot and I took it with my Savage .308 99C and down he went in a heap. Meat in the freezer!
Making a mock scrape is very simple, I use my boot to scrape the leaves down to the dirt away, slinging the leaves and dirt in one direction to create the typical buck scrape we all see in the woods made by Mr. Buck himself! Bucks like to do this under a tree with overhanging branches are reachable from a deer browsing above them, they typically will bite a branch and twist it around secreting their own scent onto that branch, I snap a branch above my mock scrape jsut like they do.
I then start using "Dominant Buck Urine" (from MaineScentSecrets.com) in my mock scrapes in early October. I use a black out type trail camera placed to watch the scrape and soon the doe activity will begin at the scrape I made. After I see this activity, I start applying both "Dominant Buck and Anytime Doe Urine" when I re-freshen the scrapes. When multiple bucks start appearing along with the doe, I switch over to "Doe Estrus Urine & Dominant Buck Urine" through the rut season. The reason for using both scents is that doe will use these scrapes to let the bucks know they are checking them too and when the doe goes into estrus this triggers buck activity, as well as adding a new doe scent to a scrape using my scent products it will make does frequent the scrapes more, bringing better odds of bucks coming in during daylight hours for hunting them! I will note that I will install tree stands at the same time as I start these mock scrapes to limit my activity near them when the bucks arrive. I like to keep my stands back as far as possible for effective range of my bow, crossbow or gun I plan to use.
In other areas that I place my stands on known deer travel ways I don't always create a mock scrape, I will walk about 100 yards in front of my stand leading the deer in range of my stand as I walk, I use an eye dropper or syringe to lay down what I call a Drop/Drip trail, I like to simulate a doe walking along dripping urine off her vent and legs, rather than simply spraying it about aimlessly! I been doing this for several years using various scent company products, I now have the source of the best deer scent product I have ever used and bottle it under my own name product, name called MaineScentSecrets.com. If you would like to try it you can order it on my website.
At the time of year when activity is just starting to pick for breading foreplay, (usually pre-rut season late October) as soon as you start hearing people talking about shooting bucks with thick necks and stinking musky...start using the "Doe Estrus" drop/drip method! I also created a new contraption I call the "Wicked Scent Wickah" and this is when this should be cranking near you! This is not a fool proof method, you still need to be where big bucks are and keep your own scent down wind, then have a lot of good old luck to get them bug bucks out in the daylight, but all this has worked at times for me over the years along with using a doe estrus bleat call about every five minutes, just as it's getting light or about 1/2 hour before legal shooting ends! See my other blog post on calling deer!
I try to be thrifty and stretch my dollars so that I have more cameras available for my outdoor adventures, and sometimes I have to take one for the team...but I thought I would share a bad deal and a good deal on four cameras I recently purchased.
The bad deal was two at $59.99 each of the Victure HC200 Trail Camera 1080P 12MP Wildlife Camera Motion Activated Night Vision 20m with 2.4" LCD Display IP66 Waterproof Design for Wildlife Hunting and Home...with No SD card and No Batteries! The good deal, which was the two Wild Game Innovations, Cloak 12 Lightsout 12mp trail Game Camera with 8 Duracell Batteries and SanDisk 8G SD Card included which I purchased for $59.99 as well.
I purchased the Victure cameras first and after learning by using it that the Victure brand cameras were only fair for daylight photos, a tad bit blurry at it's best 12 Mega Pixel setting and the trigger speeds were slow even during daylight. The only part of the photo that was remotely light enough to see anything was in the center of the photo, the outer portion was black. Rendering this camera useless at night.
I have owned many WildGame Innovations cameras over the years, and every model I've owned always works great out of the box, some have worked for a year with no issues before failing and some I have had for four to five years and they still work like new today, WGI seems to be fixing issues when they make a new model and I continue to have better luck with newer models. I have been using their Cloak series in several different models for the past few years and they seem to all work fairly well. I am not experiencing any issues with the Cloak 12 models so far. Let me also add that my cameras are in the woods,snow, rain, heat, moisture etc. almost all year long. They receive a lot of weather abuse and still keep operating.
I probably should just stay with using WGI cameras, but with all the latest and greatest technology coming out, I can't resist trying these new cameras hoping for something inexpensive, durable and that takes decent pictures so I can see a black bear at night and a squirrel by day! I am not looking for photographs for a contest with my cameras, just show me what's in front of the camera day or night when it appears there, it's all that I require in a good trail camera!
Here are the results from my product side by side test on the same tree at night with these two model trail cameras. You decide for yourself which one you would buy for an inexpensive camera, to me it's simple, the WGI Cloak 12 for $59.95 on Amazon with the 8 Duracell batteries and the 8gb SD card is the best bang for my buck out of these two cameras!
Once again I find myself working my calls during the rut here in Maine. Calling is not always a instant rewarding adventure, but when it works there's nothing like outsmarting any buck or doe, big or small, if you can call a deer into shooting range you are doing everything right!
Trail cameras can be your eyes while you're at work or sleeping the facts will be shown in the photos and the time and date stamps will be your tools to better chances!
First you must reach way back into your memory bank and remember places where you have seen bucks, or that bucks are currently making ground scrapes, even scrapes & rubs from years ago or buck sighting from years ago in an area will be great places to return to do calling sequences later in life.
Doing your homework can pay off for calling during the rut!
From my life's experience of being in the woods and observing everything to assist me with patterning buck and doe behaviors. I have found that each year or sometimes every other year deer will breed and "chase" during the pre-rut, rut and post-rut in the same areas of the woods, almost ancestrally. The best way to recognize breeding behaviors and the start of rut is by keeping a mental note of traffic in a given area, if yesterday the deer tracks were a single track or maybe two to four deer moving in a single line across the area and when you return the next day or two, three days later you begin seeing many random deer tracks all over the oak leaves or forest floor coming and going in all directions...chances are you have found the breeding or the "Chase" zone. Always remember these areas from year to year, as this activity is generally done after legal shooting hours by the darkness of night or moonlight, but these areas make great places to sit the fringes of during the rut. Just sitting there might be productive for your hunt, but you will increase your chances of finding that dominant buck in that area if you do a little calling!
I have mentioned calling in previous blog posts, but my favorite calls to use during rut and post rut are "doe estrus bleat" calls. There are several I have used successfully, from the Lil' Can, Primos adjustable mini deer call, to electronic calls such as Extreme Dimensions Estrus Bleat and my now favorite my cell phone app called HuntPro, the Estrus Bleat works with or without a bluetooth speaker. The only time I use the Bluetooth speaker when calling is on very windy days, but, when all is quiet in the woods just use your cell phone on it's loudest volume setting with no remote speaker. It's perfect volume to call in a buck!
Okay.. you must be thinking... how often, how loud, when to call, how many bleats, do I use scents? The answer to scents is YES, use that doe estrus urine, I prefer the Wilderness Freaks brand and use it on every setup.
I also make mock scrapes using their buck urine in the area deer travel and previously have made scrapes in from my current year and past scouting. Mock scrapes are simple to make, I just use my rubber boots to dig up the scrape area down to the dirt and throw the dirt just like a buck would do when making it, I drizzle 1/4 of the bottle into the scrape to start it off, then return daily or periodically to refresh it with buck urine and once a buck has visited my scrape, I start adding doe urine to it as well.
That same night I made this scrape, this buck below visited it!
When I hunt and call I keep my scent wicks about 18 inches from the ground, not up high in a tree branch because bucks travel with their nose to the ground and scent rises with the heat of a day, keeping it low is very important.
Calling Them In!
With calling... what has worked for me in the past is that you want to call as soon as you can see well enough to identify a deer and see them in your crosshairs or sights, you don't want to start too early and bring in that giant buck in the dark before you can see him coming, in my area of southern Maine, I like to wait until about 15 minutes before sunrise to actual sunrise to start my calling sequences. I access the wind and noise in my area and if it's nice and calm, little or no wind, I use the estrus bleat call on my cell phone with the phone volume at maximum, or I will use the Lil' Can "Estrus Doe Bleat". Either one works great on calm days! If the wind is blowing causing sound not to travel very far, I step up my cell phone call by using my Bluetooth speaker (I use a Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth® speaker, but you can use cheaper ones that do the same thing, I prefer the clarity of the Bose, plus it's waterproof. ) and start on mid volume. My sequence is 3-5 bleats about every 5 minutes and I turn my volume up and down between each bleat, something like this, low volume on bleat one, bleat two up one notch, bleat 3 up two notches, bleat 4 back down two notches and bleat 5 down another notch of volume. This simulates the deer moving her head and body around as she bleats by changing volume. On calm days I stick with about 3-4 bleats of the Lil' Can and do this about every 5 minutes until about an our after sunrise and then I stop all calling until 1/2 hour before sunset, I then use a "Doe Grunt" call with 1-3 soft grunts every 5-10 minutes until end of legal shooting time.
Below are bucks I have called in using Doe Estrus Bleat - electronic calls.
This deer above was called in using my Cell Phone Ap
The deer above was called in on a very windy day using the
Extreme Dimensions Estrus Bleat call on maximum volume!
The only calling I do between one hour after sunrise and 1/2 hour before sunset are buck grunts! When I am stalking through the woods (walking carefully and slowly) I usually grunt about every 5-10 steps depending upon how quiet I have just walked, if I break a twig, I grunt and stop briefly before continuing on. When I jump a deer and physically see or hear deer running or blowing, I grunt loud and quickly, many times deer will stop, look back or even start walking your way stamping their feet, trying to locate the buck they just heard! When I am traveling to my to my stand after lunch time or if I am approaching open fields or powerlines in my travels, I will use a turkey diagram call and putt, yelp my way to where I am heading.
I have had very little success in Maine using the rattle call for big deer, but I have called in smaller bucks, does and yearlings using a fighting rattle sequence a few times when sitting powerlines just in the last 20 minutes of legal shooting time in Maine. Deer have jumped out of the woods looking up and down the powerline to locate the fight I simulated. I have filled more than one antlerless tag using this method in my life. So don't give up on using the rattling call for big bucks, because I know many hunters that have been very successful using rattling in Maine! But always remember when using the rattle call...there has to be at least a couple dominant bucks in the area you are rattling in for it to work, the more big bucks, the better this will work!
Well.. The rut is on and I hope some of my tips will help you out the next time you head into the woods to fill your deer tag! Always remember: Any person that fully enjoys the pursuit of his or her intended species with the end results being an accomplished and happy hunter regardless of sex, weights, bag limits or protruding extremities! Steve Beckwith - The Maine Hunter
Let me start off this blog post with a favorite quote of mine that I live by:
Definition of a Maine Hunter: Any person that fully enjoys the
pursuit of his or her intended species with the end results being an
accomplished and happy hunter regardless of sex, weights, bag limits or
Steve Beckwith - Maine Hunter
I had a client earlier last week and this client would only shoot a Tom, or the Boss Gobbler as he called it, the client was 74 years old, with a bad leg and was limited on the type of terrain I could take him over, as well as being completely deaf and I had to communicate with him using texting sitting next to him. I enjoyed the gentleman immensely and he was an excellent sportsman, but it was a very trying experience for me as a Maine Guide. He only hunted with me for two days, sunup to sundown and each day the morning set ups were in a field/meadow that was picturesque and we even had a gobble on the roost the first morning, but both days the birds would not fly down into the wet grass of the field and they landed in the woods on dry ground. The land owner gave me permission to hunt only until 8 AM each day due to they had a horse riding stable that catered to disabilities and therapy riding lessons and started at 9 AM, so we could not stay or return when the birds hit the field in that area. We traveled for many hours and located many birds, most were hen flocks with poults and these birds were nothing this gentleman was interested in pursuing. We found several Toms but always on land we couldn't access or under someone's bird feeders. We sat fields in the evening hours for the roost, but of course they either didn't roost or were at the other end of the field from our blind. My client went home empty handed simply because he was not willing to harvest a hen in the fall, a choice he made and had to live with after paying my guide fees of two days.
I haven't had much chance to get out and hunt this fall for myself, but between setting stands and scouting for clients, today Oct 10th, I got a morning to myself and harvested two hen turkeys with one shot. (In Maine you can shoot two birds in the fall of either sex.) It was an awesome adventure that after it was all over I thought, it sure would have been nice to have had a buddy along to see it all come together as I out smarted an entire flock of birds. My clients who wouldn't shoot a hen missed out on the excitement of the birds coming to the call, to each their own, but I love calling in any wild animal, male or female and outsmarting it, that is the challenge to me and always will be. Many people ask me how I hunt in the fall. It's been many years of trial an error, but I have finally become quite good at succeeding on a flock of hens and poults in the fall. First I locate a flock of birds by traveling the known areas birds live, travel and frequent, once I spot them I get ahead of them without being seen, usually I use the woods to get into what I call "The Zone" (Close enough to not be seen by the birds but not so far they can't hear my fall calling yelps and putts.) I set up quick and call like the audio file below. I will pause my calling 3-5 minutes between calling and don't call when I can see a bird, I let them hunt me down, with gun up and ready because there's too many eyes coming in quietly to move once you see them. I sit against a tree and if I can sit behind evergreens it helps to give me better cover. Watch without moving a muscle and be ready, if I get busted and the birds alarm or run off, I will get up and try to move at them to bust them up, then sit back down for a few minutes and start to call again from a slightly different location, usually they will come back in to re-group with the flock and you may get your chance then.
I have also shot many Toms in the past in the fall using a single Jake decoy in a field, (If I can get it set up ahead of a group of males without getting seen, I usually use the hills in the field to place the decoy when I can.) when they do see the decoy they will come running in at it so be ready if you try this set up! I know there are a lot of other methods for fall turkey hunting but this is just what works for me and I hope it helps someone else who is struggling with fall turkey hunting, I know I did for many years!
(The audio is how
I call fall birds in using my own vocal chords, no man made call used.
It's rough calling but many birds have fallen for my "fall calling",
some in the spring too!)
I often speak at shows and online about ThermaCELL products. The main reason that I do is because the products work exactly as the directions state their products will work and that's why I am on the ThermaCELL Prostaff... I only represent products that work as designed! My reputation and word is something that I pride myself on in life and you will never catch me promoting a product that doesn't produce as promised! ThermaCELL is top on my list of products that I stand behind 100%!
If you have ever tried a ThermaCELL product and returned it to a retail store because it doesn't work, chances are that you simply did not read or follow the instructions properly! ThermaCELL products come with instructions of use....READ them carefully and use as directed to achieve the designed results from all of their products!
ThermaCELL is well known for their insect repellent devices, if you haven't experienced and used these to keep mosquitoes away, you need to crawl out from under that rock and buy a couple of these for your personal protection from the many diseases and viruses that mosquitoes carry like malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever,
filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western
equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine
encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and Zika fever! The list grows every year and ThermaCELL is helping in the fight to keep us safe and more comfortable in the outdoors! One tip is to always keep in mind when using the insect repellent devices is that it takes about 5 minutes initially for the units to disperse the repellent into the 15 foot radius of the unit. If the wind blows, that repellent will blow outside the 15 foot area and when the wind dies back down give it 2-5 minutes to re-establish that 15 ft radius of repellent again. Occasionally between wind gusts, mosquitoes may be more prevalent during that 2-5 minute window while the device catches back up the 15 foot radius, but usually the wind also pushes the mosquitoes away with it too! ThermaCELL also has a great line of Heated Products! They have Heated Insoles for your feet that keep your feet dry and comfortable in cold weather and they also have Heated Pocket and Hand Warmers to warm other parts of your body when out in the cold elements! If you would like to learn more about these products, how they are used and get some inside tips from myself, watch this video on the newest products introduced in the fall of 2016. I have been testing and working with the ThermaCELL engineers testing their new Bluetooth driven ThermaCEL Heated Products App for Iphones and Android smartphones, since last winter here in Maine and this video will give you some insight on this new technology and how it will make you warmer and more comfortable outdoors in the cold weather!
In closing..... If ThermaCELL makes it.... Follow their use instructions to the "T" and their products will do exactly what they advertise they will do for you! Tested and approved by all Maine Hunters TV Pro-staffers!
Always remember when reading my blog... I am not a professional writer, I tend to ramble, misspell and use bad grammar! In this article I will talk about both archery and shotgun hunting. I will also be talking about calling, stalking and tactics that have worked for me and that I use. Some conventional and some unconventional tactics, but keep in mind, I am a hunter and a hunter uses everything legal to achieve the ultimate end result which is food on our tables. My way may not be your way, but your way is not always the only way or the right way for another hunter! I am tired of the trash talk I see on Facebook and other social media sites from supposed hunters who think their way is the only way and talk down on new techniques or old traditions that they have never tried or that they simply don't like the concept. They trash talk new concepts without ever having tried them, they forget that some states allow methods that their state don't and immediately call it cheating, unethical, or unsafe! Anytime you set out to go hunting "always" check your local laws before implementing anything you read online! States like Massachusetts have no law against shooting turkeys off the roost, I don't like that law for my state, but maybe guys in Massachusetts like to hunt that way. In Maine we can hunt with electronic calls, not that I need them, but it's legal, therefore okay for those who use them here! Why bash others over legal hunting methods in the state we do it in? I say... to each his own, as long as it's legal to do where you hunt!
I have had many ups and downs when it comes to fall turkey hunting. I do prefer using my shotgun but I have shot many fall turkeys with a bow over the years and I hate to admit this but many have also run off to die and never be found by myself, but instead by a fox, fisher or coyote that surely enjoyed my efforts! Turkey hunting with a bow, from my years of experience tells me in order to be successful one must be very patient and select only the perfect shot angles. Shooting a turkey broadside with an arrow is in my opinion is a poor shot, there is a very small window of kill areas when a bird is broadside. (Yes.. it can be done, but more times than not they run away to die a slow death and can’t be found so I won't do it anymore.) The best shots for me are either straight on with it walking directly towards you or walking directly away. Of course there are other good shots too like slightly angling towards you or going away angle shots that work quite well too, but this method gives a much bigger kill area and will easily disable a bird when you drive a broadhead through the spine, lungs, heart, neck or head!
In my later years of hunting, I have made a choice in the hunting of turkey to use my 12 ga Mossberg Ult-Mag 835 shotgun with 3 1/2” magnum with #5 shot (Heavy Shot or Federal Premiums patterned best in my gun.), mainly because I respect the animal and want to make sure I use a tool that does the job I am setting out to do, which is to kill a turkey and put him on my dinner table, not a coyote, fox or other critters meal! Using a gun of this caliber also allows longer range shooting which is often necessary in the fall. My gun has taken birds out to 80 yards, although 65 yards is my preferred maximum range. One does not need to use what I use, it’s just my personal choice for turkey hunting.
There are too many ways to list them all but I have developed certain skills that help me to be a successful fall turkey hunter over the years. The first and foremost mission is that you have to locate birds and the easiest way to do that in the fall is to ride the roads and spot them in fields, backyards, (Bird Feeders) crossing roads and by frequenting areas where spring turkeys have been known to hang out, like oak ridges and old tote roads with landings or clearings. But, remember that fall turkeys have totally different habits and behaviors in the fall over spring turkey hunting. In the fall turkeys group into two flock types, hens and poults and Toms and 1 1/2 year old jakes, beards are with beards, and hens are still with their spring born broods. This requires different hunting tactics for each group of birds in the fall.
First I will go over hunting the hens and poults flock, calling fall birds is quite fun and this flock is the easiest to call, but yet not always will they respond. In order to call birds there are a couple methods that work, one is busting up the group, causing them to scatter into the woods ahead of you, either with a dog or by running at them yourself and forcing them to scatter. I don’t have a dog and I don’t like to chase turkeys although I have and it works! But after the birds have gone out of sight you simply set up close to where they dispersed and begin to call using a soft yelp and single putts or a young bird kee kee to simulate a gathering situation to which the birds will try to regroup and unfortunately to them, your calling is a fake part of their flock and when they appear looking for their friends the shot opportunity presents itself for you.
Another way I have been very successful calling hens and poults is by finding them in large fields or in areas you can easily predict their direction of traveling as a group, and I position myself about 100 yards ahead of that direction without getting caught, or busted, as we call it getting set up. Being stealthy and quick are keys to doing this. Using the woods and ridges make great cover while you get ahead of the flock. Once you are set up, again do some soft yelps and single puts and it won’t be long before that whole group is on the way looking for another flock or group to join up with and again you are not what they will be looking for! Being in camo and very still is crucial when flocks are approaching you in the woods, that many eyes all looking for the sounds you were making puts them on alarm of any foreign movement in their woods.
Recently I teamed up with a company called Blind Magnet, they make very light and easy to pop open blinds that gives me the added cover I need to prevent body movement. It carries easily in my pack or in my hand as I work my way through and ahead of birds in the woods and when I get to what I call “In The Zone”, which is about 100 yards or less from the flock, this blind pops open in two seconds and makes it perfect for run and gunning for fall turkeys. I will mention this blind again in this article for another awesome and fun way to get your turkey!
The male fall flock is quite a bit harder to call into range. Male birds in the fall do not want anything to do with females and their poults, I have been within 75 yards of flocks of male birds and let out a hen yelp, their heads pop up and two seconds later, they are running straight away from that sound they heard. Calling males in the fall can be done, but personally I have not mastered this call and I choose other methods for my hunting success. Males like to keep to themselves in the fall season. I personally believe it is because they know that the large groups of young birds are making too many sounds and predators go after them. The older wiser male birds don’t want these young poults giving them away and putting them in danger of coyotes and foxes, the male birds are no where near as vocal in the fall as the hen and poult flocks! In my experience calling in fall Toms should be left up to only the most experienced turkey callers, a caller that can mimic only the male “yelp” something I have not yet mastered and probably never will for fall birds. But, I have called in male birds in the fall, using a deep yelp from the center of a slate call or a low pitched box call.
In Maine we can stalk turkey and it’s a lot of fun and is an adrenaline rush one has to experience but, I only advise this in open areas or fields to be safe. Open field or plains stalking is an ancient art of hunting that dates back to our ancestors using primitive hunting tools. In the past my fall tom hunting tactics of stalking have been finding a flock of toms and using natural elements to stalk and close the gap without getting seen by all those eyes watching for predators. I use trees, bushes, stonewalls, hills, valleys and anything that hides me while I close the distance for a kill shot. One of my favorite old time methods is to use a red headed jake decoy once I have located a flock in an open field, the trick is to find a hill or bushes across the field from them that I can get the decoy out in the field without being caught by the flock. Then set up against a tree with some good cover and wait for the flock to walk around the bush or hill and see the lone jake decoy, sometimes that single low pitched tom yelp makes them look quicker! They almost instantly run across the field ready to confront this new intruder in their area and will run right to the decoy. Now with the addition of the “Blind Magnet” in my backpack of tools I will be using that for a cover set up from now on rather than limited bushes and cover in setting up quickly in specific corners of a field!
This leads me to the recent discovery of use of the Blind Magnet for fall turkey hunting. Last spring I filmed the use of a Blind Magnet blind used to stalk three adult toms across a 500 yard field here in Maine and the shooter was able to stalk within 30 yards of these three birds that would not come to any call I had in my box of tricks. These birds stayed on the wood line on the opposite side of the field for hours, so we deployed the Tactical Blind Magnet and slowly worked across the wide open field, if the birds get a little nervous, you simply stop and watch for them to settle back down and start feeding or strutting, whatever they are doing naturally. These blinds have about a 3 inch circle hole in them above the handle you use to move the blind, which you can look out through and see everything ahead of you. Without the use of this new lightweight camo shield, stalking 500 yards to within shooting range of three weary toms would never happen! This new device should be in every turkey hunters bag of tricks. When your preferred method of calling just won’t work, deploy the Blind Magnet and try your hand at something that is very exciting but I will tell you that stalking skills are required to do this. You can’t just walk quickly across a field and shoot a turkey, you have to hunt skillfully behind this device, and that’s why it’s called hunting folks.
So in closing I hope you will give fall turkey hunting a try and that some of my experiences will help you to be more successful! I hope you will consider giving staking turkey and other game a try. My late great friend Lane Benoit enjoyed tracking, stalking, learning the ways of the animal he was pursuing and he always told me that it is all part of why we all hunt. I had the pleasure of turkey hunting with Lane Benoit and he always told me great woodsman use all their skills and knowledge to be successful and to never leave any stone un-turned in achieving your end goal, which is food on your table! I too live by the same words and use the tools available to me to achieve those goals! So check your States game laws to be sure stalking game is legal in your area and catch the fever of fall turkey hunting and the many ways to be successful!