I hunt several other states besides West Virginia where I live. I went to Alabama earlier in 2016. Like many other southern states, Alabama had had an excess of flooding caused by torrential rains. The guy I was hunting with in Alabama had about 1,000 acres, and just about all the turkeys had moved out of the wetlands where we had planned to hunt. I heard one turkey gobble in 4 days of hunting. At the end of April, 2016, I'm hunting in Nebraska. I only live 45 miles from Ohio, so I plan to hunt there this season. So far, I've hunted South Dakota, Kentucky and Virginia. In most of those states and throughout most of the year, I wear Mossy Oak Obsession. Anytime you're hunting when the woods are greening-up, I don’t think you can beat Mossy Oak Obsession. However, when I hunted in Alabama this year, the state had a relatively late spring with no green-ups. So, I wore Mossy Oak Bottomland, which seemed to blend in better with the trees and the ground since green-up hadn’t started.But I took some Obsession with me too. Sometimes when we moved to another area, I would change into Obsession.By having a suit of Obsession and a suit of Bottomland, then regardless of what states I was hunting in, one of those two patterns would match the terrain. Occasionally, I’ll carry Mossy Oak Break-Up with me.
One of my favorite out-of-state hunts was in Virginia, where I hunted with an outfitter close to Wytheville, Virginia. This outfitter was new to turkey hunting and knew where the turkeys were, but not how to hunt them. We were filming for my TV show, “Strut and Rut Outdoors.” The outfitter said, “The turkeys are up on that hill, but I can’t tell you how to get to them. Every time I've tried to go to them, I get skylined, and they see me and then shut up.”
When my cameraman and I started up the hill, we stopped short of the top of the hill, and the turkey was gobbling on the other side of the hill. I belly crawled up to the top of the hill and set-up a strutting decoy and a hen decoy. Then, I backed down off the hill to an old fence post that was grown up in briars - the only vertical structure big enough to hide my outline. From the fence post, the top of the hill was within easy shooting distance. That gobbler came up the hill and jumped on my strutting decoy. When he took a pause in beating up my decoy, I took the shot, and the Over-the-Hill gobbler lay still beside the decoy he'd been whipping.
The next day I took our guide out turkey hunting, because he’d never hunted turkeys before. I was able to call a gobbler to within eight steps of our guide. He got so shook up by that turkey being so close to him that he didn’t take the shot. The guide was breathing so hard that I believe he was sucking leaves in off the ground 10-feet away from where he was sitting. He said, “Man, I've never been around a turkey like that before. The landowner just told me to show the clients where the turkeys were.” Although the guide didn’t shoot, we got some great footage for our TV show.
Day 1: Bit By the Turkey Bug
Tomorrow: Turkeys Just Like We See Them on TV