Solving the Snags – David Hawley of Mossy Oak Properties offers great advice on reeling in those leary Gobblers!

David Hawley of Mossy Oak Properties
David Hawley of Mossy Oak Properties is a champion Turkey caller and hosts a website called “The Wild Turkey Report” for more information visit www.wildturkeyreport.com.

3 common hang-ups, 3 solutions

Picture this: It is the opening morning of the spring turkey season in your home state, and you have a hot gobbler headed your way. It appears he is on a collision course for the afterlife, when he stops dead in his tracks one hundred yards away and proceeds to taunt you with a barrage of gobbling. If you are like me, the first thing that pops in my head is “something must have hung him up.” Oh, the dreaded “hang-up!” Let’s tackle a few common snags.

Situation #1 In the thick(et) of things

The worst feeling in the world is to have a turkey headed your way and have him put on the brakes. Where I hunt, thick cover is the culprit more times than not. Turkeys are finicky creatures, and frankly, they do not like briars and brambles. They are just like humans: they prefer the path of least resistance.

The key is to eliminate any potential hang-ups before they become reality. The only way to do this effectively is to know the terrain as well as the turkey does. You must know exactly where he is and what is between point A and B. If you do not know the area, you can still adjust on the fly if the gobbler hangs up. Wait for him to drift away to reposition on him. Rely on a locator call while moving to keep tabs on where he is. Then get into a spot where there is no reason for him not to come in and bag him!

Situation #2: Water Birds

In the southeastern United States, a common problem many hunters have is turkeys being across a body of water from them. On my property, we have a small river that forms our boundary, and as a result, it creates a number of “hang-ups.” Additionally, numerous sloughs and creeks stem off the river, so the hang up problem multiplies.

However, all hope is not lost. These bodies of water are a part of the turkeys’ home range, and therefore, they are accustomed to flying them to get from place to place. In reality, they aren’t a hang up if you approach them right. The key (as with every hunt) is the set-up. Everyone wants to crowd the bank, hoping to get a shot if he walks on the other bank. This usually doesn’t work well. My tip: Get 60-100 yards of the bank! Get tight with the bank and the turkey will want you (the hen) to fly the body of water. This has worked wonders for me personally.

To jazz up this tactic, I will sometimes (if the turkey is far enough off the other bank) get right on my bank and get the turkey fired up, and then fall back to a set-up 60-100 yards away. It’s something about a hen heading the other way that ticks them off! My father and I used this tactic to call a longbeard across the Tombigbee River (about 400 yards wide) a couple of years back. Remember: do not crowd the creek bank!

Situation #3: King of the Hills

Have you ever wondered why military forts are built on high ground? It does not take a West Point graduate to figure out that the army that controls the high ground controls the countryside. The same applies with turkeys. They rely on their eyes for their survival, and prefer to control the high ground if any way possible. The problem here is that when that gobbler is strutting on that ridge, and you are below him, he has a huge advantage over you. All he has to do is periscope his head over the crest of the hill just enough to get a good view of what’s below and not enough to get shot before deciding whether to take a stroll down the hill. If the role is reversed, however, then you have a huge advantage over the gobbler. That is why I always try to get to the high ground before the turkey does.

If the turkey is still roosted, I want to make sure that I will be at the very least eye-level with him when he flys down. If I am out prospecting for a gobbler, then I try to stay on the high ground in case the turkey gobbles nearby and have to hit the deck. Because I am at a higher level than him, I am not put at a disadvantage. I then will be in a prime position to bag a gobbler.

Solving the Snags – David Hawley of Mossy Oak Properties offers great advice on reeling in those leary Gobblers!

David Hawley of Mossy Oak Properties
David Hawley of Mossy Oak Properties is a champion Turkey caller and hosts a website called “The Wild Turkey Report” for more information visit www.wildturkeyreport.com.

3 common hang-ups, 3 solutions

Picture this: It is the opening morning of the spring turkey season in your home state, and you have a hot gobbler headed your way. It appears he is on a collision course for the afterlife, when he stops dead in his tracks one hundred yards away and proceeds to taunt you with a barrage of gobbling. If you are like me, the first thing that pops in my head is “something must have hung him up.” Oh, the dreaded “hang-up!” Let’s tackle a few common snags.

Situation #1 In the thick(et) of things

The worst feeling in the world is to have a turkey headed your way and have him put on the brakes. Where I hunt, thick cover is the culprit more times than not. Turkeys are finicky creatures, and frankly, they do not like briars and brambles. They are just like humans: they prefer the path of least resistance.

The key is to eliminate any potential hang-ups before they become reality. The only way to do this effectively is to know the terrain as well as the turkey does. You must know exactly where he is and what is between point A and B. If you do not know the area, you can still adjust on the fly if the gobbler hangs up. Wait for him to drift away to reposition on him. Rely on a locator call while moving to keep tabs on where he is. Then get into a spot where there is no reason for him not to come in and bag him!

Situation #2: Water Birds

In the southeastern United States, a common problem many hunters have is turkeys being across a body of water from them. On my property, we have a small river that forms our boundary, and as a result, it creates a number of “hang-ups.” Additionally, numerous sloughs and creeks stem off the river, so the hang up problem multiplies.

However, all hope is not lost. These bodies of water are a part of the turkeys’ home range, and therefore, they are accustomed to flying them to get from place to place. In reality, they aren’t a hang up if you approach them right. The key (as with every hunt) is the set-up. Everyone wants to crowd the bank, hoping to get a shot if he walks on the other bank. This usually doesn’t work well. My tip: Get 60-100 yards of the bank! Get tight with the bank and the turkey will want you (the hen) to fly the body of water. This has worked wonders for me personally.

To jazz up this tactic, I will sometimes (if the turkey is far enough off the other bank) get right on my bank and get the turkey fired up, and then fall back to a set-up 60-100 yards away. It’s something about a hen heading the other way that ticks them off! My father and I used this tactic to call a longbeard across the Tombigbee River (about 400 yards wide) a couple of years back. Remember: do not crowd the creek bank!

Situation #3: King of the Hills

Have you ever wondered why military forts are built on high ground? It does not take a West Point graduate to figure out that the army that controls the high ground controls the countryside. The same applies with turkeys. They rely on their eyes for their survival, and prefer to control the high ground if any way possible. The problem here is that when that gobbler is strutting on that ridge, and you are below him, he has a huge advantage over you. All he has to do is periscope his head over the crest of the hill just enough to get a good view of what’s below and not enough to get shot before deciding whether to take a stroll down the hill. If the role is reversed, however, then you have a huge advantage over the gobbler. That is why I always try to get to the high ground before the turkey does.

If the turkey is still roosted, I want to make sure that I will be at the very least eye-level with him when he flys down. If I am out prospecting for a gobbler, then I try to stay on the high ground in case the turkey gobbles nearby and have to hit the deck. Because I am at a higher level than him, I am not put at a disadvantage. I then will be in a prime position to bag a gobbler.

Time Again for the “Sultans of Spring”!

Spring Turkey HuntingAll eye’s are set on the calendar as we move quickly out of the winter doldrums into high hopes of the spring turkey woods.

I was driving North on Hwy 158 in Currituck County yesterday and saw 40+ birds in a field and it hit me, “Oh yeah Turkey season will be hear in no time”. I’m lucky to work with one of the best Turkey callers in the universe, Capt. Bryan DeHart, that rascal can call them back from the dead. Last year at a friends farm in Hertford County, we hit a double and I’m here to tell you, it was a classic. Two gobblers hung up at 50+ yards, and eventually bedded down in the woods right in front of us. Bryan was facing the opposite direction and having to do some funky Houdini move all twisted around so he could keep one eye on the birds and I’m crouched down about 15 yards away, frozen solid. They finally began to move again and as soon as the smaller one got one step into my wheelhouse I let him have it. He was flopping all around and as they do… they other Tom went on him. I heard Bryan whisper “Don’t Move” He unraveled and spun around to bag the second Tom while he was doing the funky chicken on his dead partner’s head. What a great hunt!

Send us your stories of the Turkey woods, we would love to post your pictures. Also as a reminder. we will have our drawing for the winner of the 2nd Annual “Blast and Cast” event this May. Three days of Turkey hunting and Rock Fishing on the famed Roanoke River.

Pictured above is Luke Quinn after bagging his Tom last year. Don’t forget to take a kid hunting this spring, they’ll love you for it!

Perseverance is the Key! More Tales From the Turkey Woods!

Brian Gibson of Moyock, NC Takes his first Gobbler! The bird weighed in at 17.8 lbs, had 1 1/2" spurs and a 9" beard!Perseverance pays off as a couple of hunting buddies put the smack down on two NC Gobblers!

My good friend and hunting partner Brian Gibson called me about a week ago and asked if I had the 411 on possible location of some long-beards out at our lease in Bertie County, NC. This is Brian’s first year in the club and hadn’t had much time to scout, he wanted to bring a friend and bust a Tom on opening day. Now Brian has been hunting turkey’s for a couple of years now but has never had the chance to bag one, well this was his luck day! He set up right where I told him and after some seductive calling by his hunting partner a hot bird made his way down the power-line to his set up. Birds firing off everywhere, he settles in for the shot and BOOM! Right over top of the gobbler, like so many of us do, we raise up and our shot placement follows suit. Being a good sport, Brian laughs it off and gets back to work, moving his set up around a couple of times they get right back on the birds!

Over the course of the next few hours they call in 5 birds, and take one each. Brian’s bird was 17.8 lbs, had 1 1/2″ spurs and a 9″ beard, very respectable! Just goes to show you “don’t get discouraged and give up” these guys headed out instead of heading back after the miss and doubled up on the NC opener. In the turkey woods if something isn’t working, get moving, the next opportunity might be right around the next tree. Congratulations to Brian and all of you who took your first bird this past weekend!

Don’t forget, next time take a kid with you, they’ll love you for it!

Youth Day – Stories from the Turkey Season Opener

Sadler with his first Turkey! Taken in Martin County, NC on the youth day opener.Kids get a shot at “Ole Tom” on the Youth Day opener!

My good friend Van, and his son Sadler headed out into a field in Martin County, NC last Saturday morning with high hopes of bagging a young hunters first Gobbler. They set up on a blow down long before sunrise and watched as the sun illuminated targets roosting in the trees along the fields edge. The morning was crisp and it was after 7AM before the Gobblers flew down and began working their way along the ridge to the decoys. 30, 25, 20, 15 yards and BOOM! A couple of wings flaps later the deed was done and Sadler had shot and killed his first Turkey! WOW, Congratulations young man!

That same story played itself out all over NC this past Saturday as young hunters and proud parents shared time in the field pursuing the “Sultans of Spring”. I had my own experience with my son Ryan as we hunkered down on an power-line in Bertie County and watched a long-beard hang up at 50 yards for 30 minutes. He finally stepped into range but an anxious moment caused a miss. The experience was the same for us though, the excitement of the hunt, the beautiful cool morning, the spectacle of boss Gobbler in full strut and most importantly the memorable time spent with my son.

Don’t miss an opportunity to be in the field this spring, if nothing else but for a memorable walk in the Turkey woods and the hope of a dream come true. Be sure to take a kid with you, they’ll love you for it!

The Sultans of Spring!

Spring Turkey HuntingTime again to start thinking about chasing “Ole Tom” with a stick and a string.

For a bow hunter there is no better challenge than to “try” and shoot a Wild Turkey with a stick and a string. A couple of years ago I really got the bug bad, and was obsessed with bagging a Tom with my bow. I mean to the point where I would fashion fake birds out of old worn out soccer balls and fill them full of holes in my back yard. No joke! I’d set up a ground blind and practice sitting, kneeling, twisting, reaching and any other uncomfortable position I could get in. Eventually I got pretty proficient…at shooting soccer balls. Needless to say that is wildly different than trying to come to full draw on a paranoid animal with 8X power eye sight! I enlisted the help of my good friend and now business partner, Capt. Bryan Dehart, to guide me on the first Turkey hunt. It was blowing a gale that morning, 35 mph out of the Northeast with dust bunny’s spinning everywhere. Bryan hit the Quaker Boy and here they came, four of them playing bumper cars down the hill towards the decoys. I didn’t have a shot, but Bryan did, and cranked one up only to watch one of the Tom’s running buddies spur the dickens out of him for the next 15 minutes. What a sight!

Later that afternoon we eased down to the corner of a freshly plowed field on the edge of a swamp. Once again Bryan hit his box call and off in the distance we heard a lone Tom fire back. Bryan said “OK, let’s get set up he’ll be coming”. I crouched down behind a bush with a narrow opening in it positioning me about 22 yds from the decoy, a lone Jake sure to jack him up. Bryan moved about 20 yds to my right leaning up against a pine tree. As Bryan was messing with the camera, I looked up and here he comes over the corn rows like a super-cross rider kicking it through the whoop-de-doos. I turn to Bryan and whispered loudly, “There he is” and with a curious look Bryan says “What?” I said again a little louder “He’s right there” and by now he was about 40 yds from the decoy and clearly on a mission. Bryan did not even have his camo head net on, no gloves, nothing, totally taken off guard he almost dropped the camera. The Tom was so mad at that Jake decoy he didn’t have a clue about us, he turned to face the Jake with an angry glare, I drew back, centered in and let fly. Whoosh! Right under the breast of the bird! I’m surprised I didn’t give him a shave.

The Tom now convinced the Jake was trying some sort of Kung-Fu leg sweep on him jumps up and starts in on him. I’m looking at all this with my jaw bone on the ground and Bryan shouts “Shoot him again” I turned to look at him and he says “SHOOT-HIM-AGAIN”. Duh! I nock another arrow, draw back, take careful aim and WHACK! popped him just behind the wing pocket, the bird takes off running and make’s flight into the swamp bottom to my left. Feathers are still floating down and I’m my spirits are soaring, what a wild turn of events. What seemed like an hour was less than a minute, the whole thing happened in slow motion, what a trip.

Bryan said “Let’s give him a minute and we’ll go get him”. We looked for hours, and nothing, I was so disappointed, but with a natural camo pattern like that it’s hard to find a Turkey in a swampy bottom. However, it did not detract from the experience of the hunt, I’m still hooked on Turkey hunting and continue with my ritual of killing soccer balls in preparation each Spring. Now seven years later, I’m still in pursuit of a bird with bow, no luck so far but with a little more practice, and some grace from our good Lord, maybe I’ll have another story to tell here in a few weeks.

Good Luck this Spring and don’t forget to take a kid hunting, they’ll love you for it!

Getting Ready for Fall

biologic
For more information on how you can have great food plots this fall go to www.plantbiologic.com or www.farmingforwildlife.com for the best tips, techniques, and products available.
by Austin Delano
Mossy Oak BioLogic
Field Services Manager
adelano@mossyoak.com

The fall season always seems to take forever to arrive; we anticipate it so much through the hot months that it seems as though fall food plotting and archery season will never come. When it finally does come time to start preparing fields, hanging stands, and fixing up deer camp, we all feel rushed and running behind to get everything accomplished before opening day. Lets look at a few things you can do through the summer months to be a step ahead when the leaves begin to change.

Line up a plan and set some goals for what you want to accomplish on your property. Making a specific plan for each plot and how you plan to use it relative to the rest of your land will help take out the guesswork and wasted time. Decide what you would like to plant in each plot and how you would ideally hunt the area. Planting a certain forage in a field can determine what time of year the deer are going to use that food source and when you should hunt there. For example if you decided to plant Maximum in a plot, which is a blend of kale, rape, and turnips, you wouldn’t want to sit there on the first day of bow season while its still warm out and expect to see much activity. Determine which fields you plan to designate as a nutrition plot vs. an attraction plot. If you are planting an area specifically for hunting and attraction, plant accordingly. Early season stand sites can be set up around food sources with early attractiveness such as wheat, oats, clovers, and chicory, late season hunting stands can be centered around brassicas and other high energy foods such as beans and corn.

Have soil tests done well ahead of any planting plans you have to ensure you have time to make any necessary adjustments. Lime should be worked into fields at least 3-4 months before planting. Get the herbicides and fertilizer that you plan to use lined up and ordered if necessary. This is a wise step to avoid having to wait on rented spreaders or sprayers during the busy planting time. Ideally you want your property to have both annual and perennial plots. This is going to mean planting some warm season crops in areas you have designated for annuals and maintaining clover and chicory through the warm months for your perennial fields. Spraying your perennial clover and chicory plots with grass specific herbicides through the summer will really rid your fields of heavy competition and make for a much thicker and better looking plot. Have your fallow fields burned down with round-up a couple of weeks ahead of planting time. This will make the ground easier to turn since there will be no green vegetation to try to work under. Repeatedly turning the soil also causes moisture loss, moisture that is vital for germinating your planted seeds. Keeping your perennial fields free of weeds through the summer months will pay big dividends. Not only will it look better, but will extend the life of the crop by taking out the weeds that compete for root space, moisture, and fertilizer. Make sure to clean your equipment of weed seeds throughout the summer. Spraying off bushogs, tractors, atv’s, and spraying equipment will help from spreading unwanted weed seeds from plot to plot.

Summer time is also a great time to get the game cameras out and start taking inventory on who is hanging out on your land. There are lots of good places in the warm months to set up cameras to get some great pictures. Watering holes, mineral sites, protein feeders, and trails coming to and from food plots are some ideal locations to place your cameras to see how your herd is coming along through the growing season. Using your cameras for pre-season scouting can help you determine when and how to hunt your food plots. Keep your cameras moving all the time to new locations for catching wary bucks or just a passer by. Cameras can help you find bedding areas, travel corridors, and staging areas that can be very useful for stand placement and hunting strategy.

One of the most exciting things to do to get ready for the fall hunting season is hanging stands. There is a ton of anticipation built up when you know the food sources the deer will be using, have pictures, and put up a stand in just the right spot. Use the long days during the warm months to get your stand locations, shooting lanes, blinds, and ambush sites in place. This will give the deer time to get used to a new stand site and the effects of your intrusion into their woods time to dissipate. Try and draw up a map of the prevailing winds on your property so you will know which locations to hunt under the given conditions. You can also use rakes or bushogs to create silent paths to and from your stands for that stealthy approach. Hopefully some of these tips will save you some time and give you some valuable ideas to work on to be ready when Fall rolls around.

Turkey Heaven

In Search of the Perfect Turkey Place

turkeyBy David Hawley

Ever since I was old enough for rational thought, I have wondered what Heaven would look like. Would there be streets of gold leading up to a huge hilltop mansion? While we can gain clues from reading the Bible, we really have no way of knowing exactly what our Eternal home will look like. Each person has their own opinion, typically formed from the place or experience where they were at complete peace or in complete awe of the sheer beauty of their surroundings.

So what might you ask is my opinion of Heaven? It’s simple: daybreak in late March in an Alabama swamp with five to ten gobbling turkeys all around me.

I have long said that wild turkeys were our Creator’s finest work, besides humans of course. What other animal evokes the plethora of emotions as does the wild turkey? The wild turkey allows interaction, via calling. He is a beautiful bird, is smart, and provides an adrenaline rush to those who pursue him unlike any other animal, besides dangerous game perhaps or bowhunting whitetails. Many people call wild turkeys stupid, but those same people likely haven’t hunted some of the professors of hunter shame I have hunted and probably hunt turkeys whose ancestors were not hunted at all. Simply put-in the deep South, the wild turkey is as noble an adversary for the turkey hunter as Erwin Rommel was in the eyes of General George S. Patton.

So given the regality of the bird, would it be a stretch to suggest that Heaven has a healthy population of wily, crafty wild turkeys roaming its plains? I think not.

All we can do is speculate that Heaven will be in a constant state of springtime-with dogwoods and redbuds blooming and turkeys shouting their version of Amazing Grace. In the meantime, however, let’s discuss what the perfect turkey hunting place would look like here on Earth.

Based on my experience, there are two types of turkey hunting places-those suited for hunting and those suited for killing. I have been blessed to hunt to hunt some excellent places throughout the southeast, and some of the most beautiful to boot. What I have learned is that the most aesthetically pleasing places-old growth hardwood river bottoms come to mind-are not the best places to give turkeys a ride in your truck.

I, along with my family, friends, and numerous folks from Mossy Oak and Biologic, have had the pleasure of hunting amongst a swath of land in west central Alabama and east central Mississippi known by the locals as the flatwoods. This area is essentially a 60,000 acre pine plantation with little or no elevation and very few hardwoods. When I think of sheer beauty, a pine plantation is not the first thing to come to mind, but in terms of killing turkeys, this area was in a different stratosphere.

The number of turkeys in this area at one point was staggering. The main reason was the low number of predators that called the flatwoods home. If you saw coyote scat or a possum crossed the road in front of you, it was a cause for conversation. As a result of the absence of predators, the recruitment rate from year to year was impressive, and there were always a healthy number of two year old turkeys to work with.

However, having tons of turkeys is fine and good, and you are undoubtedly playing a numbers game to some degree, but some places enable you to kill them better than others. Regarding the flatwoods, the first thing that came to mind was that there were no obstacles that created hang-ups-no creeks, thickets, fields, etc. It was simply a huge pine plantation that as a result of its timber management had little or no undergrowth yet was densely timbered enough to force turkeys to search for you. They were almost trapped.

In big, wide open hardwood bottoms, turkeys can see a long ways. As a result, they tend to hang up right out of gun range and gobble and strut for hours on end. It makes for a beautiful hunt, don’t get me wrong, but if I want beauty I can go to Cades Cove National Park and watch semi-tame turkeys strut in lush hayfields on the side of the Smokey Mountains. I want beauty, but I also want a harvest and side of celebratory pancakes.

So if I had to draw up a paint-by-number turkey hunting place, what would it be? I would prefer a place with a 70-20-10 blend of timber, thickets/nesting areas, and fields/wildlife openings. Of the timber stands, I would have a moderate dose of old growth, bottomland hardwoods mixed in with massive pines with the majority being in various aged pine plantations. You needed diversity throughout your timber stands just as you need diversity in your place as a whole. Each block of pines would be on an intensive prescribed burn/herbicide schedule to prevent a heavy understory. I do not mind a light understory, so as to not feel “naked” when I am set up on a turkey, but turkeys simply cannot handle heavy cover.

There would be an extensive road system throughout the place, with primary roads up to sixty feet wide to allow for easy and safe travel for the birds, and secondary roads at least thirty five feet wide. You cannot undervalue a quality road system in terms of killing turkeys. Being able to quickly move throughout the turkey woods can be the difference in success and failure. Plus, wide roads allow you the ability to plant Clover Plus or strips of Whistleback on the sides, which turkeys love of course.

Turkeys also require nesting areas, so you’ll need either thickets (via cutovers or natural growth) or areas of native warm season grasses that will enable hens to protect their poults from predators. If I had my druthers, I would rather have five 40 acre thickets on a 1,000 acre place than two 100 acre thickets-with the reason being I personally feel you can spread the predators out a little more and make it tougher on them to work on the nests. Regarding predators-the best investment one can make towards poult survival is a batch of live coon traps. I try to hit the small predators-coons, possums, skunks, etc.-year round and have seen a dramatic increase in poult recruitment. The flatwoods example above was proof that if turkeys do not get eaten as poults, they stand a much better chance of reaching maturity.

The reason I choose to focus on small predators is I feel that because of their limited range versus coyotes and bobcats, one can actually make a dent in their population. I do not need a biologist to tell me this; I have seen it with my own eyes. Coyotes and bobcats have a much larger range than small predators, and thus you are essentially fighting an uphill battle, so I chose to focus on the possums, coons, and skunks.

The last thing my turkey heaven would have would be fields. Because field turkeys are tough to kill (and I refuse to use a decoy), I would just assume there not be any fields, but from a management standpoint they are essential. Turkeys love frequenting openings in the spring, as lush grass, bugs, and safety are all found there. On rainy or windy days, you can almost guarantee that turkeys will head towards openings.

I would prefer two larger fields and several small plots or chufa patches scattered around. I believe that just as you manage the property as a whole, you should micro-manage wildlife openings as well. You must consider that every species of wildlife on your property needs these openings to survive. So offer something for everyone. Whistleback, as mentioned before, brings a new ingredient to the table in terms of managing for wild turkeys. 90% of landowners plant food plots for strictly whitetails, which I cannot fault them for, but a strip of Whistleback down the side of a Maximum field will give two targeted species of game the benefit of the field. Chufa is undoubtedly one of the best plantings for wild turkeys, and several one to two acre chufa plots scattered around will help hold turkeys. Chufa does prefer sandy soil, so make sure it will grow in your area first. Also, feral hogs love chufas as well, so be prepared to invest in either an electric fence or a barrel of 12 gauge buckshot. Clover Plus is a product we have had tremendous luck with, and it is a product that benefits both deer and turkeys. As noted earlier, it along with Whistleback are two great products to use on the sides of your primary roads.

Don’t forget mast and fruit producing trees-we have several fields lined with gobbler sawtooth oaks and autumn olives we have planted and they have been very popular with the turkeys. Nativ Nurseries has a number of species of oaks and wildlife trees that will benefit not only wild turkeys but deer, quail, etc. Visit www.nativnurseries.com for more info.

Overall, while hunting turkeys in a field can be frustrating, fields are essential for turkeys, especially for poults. Poults thrive off the bugs and ease of travel that most fields afford. Just remember to micro manage each field, particularly the larger ones, to maximize their usage by wildlife.

In summary, that is my idea of the perfect turkey hunting place and the steps to maintain that lofty status. However, just as the opinion of what Heaven looks like differs from person to person, there is no consensus, as hunters in different parts of the country may call their stomping grounds paradise. Also, the 70-20-10 formula I prefer may be different if it were in Kansas versus Alabama. Regardless, the bottomline is this: give your turkeys shelter, give them plenty of food, give them plenty of travel corridors, and take away as many of their predators as possible, and you will stand a great chance of creating a turkey heaven!