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Lots of prep work when it comes to gobblers

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Turkeys are gobbling! No matter how horrid the weather, when hormones start jingling, which they are in the wild turkey populations, nothing can stop it.

It isn’t likely that too much preseason scouting for gobblers has yet begun so perhaps my admonition will be in time. I wrote an article for Outdoor Life a couple decades ago — it was the first ever written on the subject, as far as I can ascertain — about good and bad preseason scouting practices.

It is pretty simple really. To ensure yourself the best possible chances of success once season begins, prepare yourself with a laid-back style of scouting. Do not go into the woods before season and call and call and try to see how many gobblers you can call in and get photos and in general, spook the birds and teach them that the enemy has invaded their territory and speaks their language and carries big thunder-sticks!

These are the birds that when you can go into the woods with the shotgun will stand out there and gobble and gobble and answer every call you make but refuse to take a step toward you. They learned before season that hens calling from afar will be either nonexistent or phony. When they went to faraway hens or they got spooked when they approached hens they learned that going to them is risky.

You’ll wonder what happened when you get all set up first morning, confident you can easily persuade them to come to your sweet calls and they either shut up when you start to call or simply stand out there and gobble but never take a step in your direction.

Your sign of success with working spring gobblers is NOT how often you can get them to gobble but rather are they moving toward you. A gobbler that spits out a hundred gobbles in response to your calls but never moves to find you, is not a success story. What he is really saying to you when that happens is: “You come to me, sweetheart, because I learned early on not to go to any hen I cannot see.”

The last few years we have experienced a definite slack in gobbling activity. The birds with the big mouths learned early how deadly it is to vocally advertise their presence. The smart ones have learned to be quiet.

So smart scouting involves sneaking around the woods and fields, looking for sign: tracks, feathers, roost trees, hen calling, the occasional gobble that bursts forth, and getting out of the area after you have noted in a notebook or recorded on your phone just where the location was. The less you shaft birds around before season the better your chances to find them again during the season.

Many mornings, during the season, you will be greeted with absolute quiet. This calls for the legendary turkey hunter’s patience. Set up comfortably nearby where you are pretty confident turkeys will hear you and then call quietly and sparingly at dawn, stepping up the frequency and volume of your calls as the morning wears on. Sit quietly, watching alertly in every direction and most of the time, a gobbler will, at some point, come silently to check you out.

Modern gobblers are shy about calls that come from hens they cannot see. They have learned hard lessons about phony calls in the distance. So they sneak in quietly, to check it all out, before they commit themselves.

To be a successful hunter during season, be cautious during preseason scouting.

Gun control

There are a plethora of “gun control” bills sneaking up on us. For instance, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee just passed H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 and they have been sent to the U.S. House floor for a vote. These are Pelosi-Bloomburg gun control bills designed to score political points and they won’t have any impact on crime or criminals. This message comes to us from the NRA-LA ACTION ALERT. This proposed legislation will have no impact on America’s mental health system and doesn’t address the underlying causes of violence.

H.R. 8 criminalizes the private transfer of firearms and targets law-abiding gun owners for persecution. It would make criminal out of law-abiding gun owners for simply loaning a firearm to a friend or some family members. This bill would not stop criminals from obtaining guns because criminals do not comply with the law. And the legislation would be unenforceable without federal gun registration.

H.R. 1112 would allow the government to arbitrarily delay firearm purchases for over 20 days and make it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families.

So contact your representatives today at (202)-224-3121 and urge them to vote against these two bills.

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