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How to be a great turkey hunter

One of the questions I get asked most often this time of year is: “Hey Steve, how did you become such a great turkey hunter?”

This is the kind of question you frequently hear if you spend a lot of time alone.

You would think that the short answer would be I spend a lot of time in the field and have had many years of experience. But that would be wrong. The truth is, becoming a great turkey hunter isn’t as difficult as many people make it out to be. Not if you are privy to the Great Turkey Hunter’s Code.

If you have not heard of this, don’t fret.

It was not taught in the old wild turkey hunting courses, or even in the Ontario Hunter Education Program. I’m guessing that’s because it would be bad for the morale of our wild turkey flocks to know that there were so many great turkey hunters out there.

Lucky for you, I’m feeling generous. So permit me to introduce to you all the knowledge you need to be a great turkey hunter.

Basically, the Code goes like this:.

1. Nurture self-delusion.You cannot call yourself a great turkey hunter without a large quantity of this. Without it, you will remember every mistake, bad call and missed shot.

2. Only remember and speak of your successes. Don’t have any? Then remember someone else’s successes and the pivotal role you played in it. For example, when you scared a big gobbler away from your decoys to the hunter two fields over, tell everyone you put the bird on him because “I’ve shot enough birds and that guy is still new at it.” This works best if you dry your eyes first.

3. Refer to any turkey that fooled you as “A cagey old Tom” even if they were “A dumb-as-a-post jake.”

4. Don’t demonstrate turkey calling in front of others.  But if someone overhears you, explain that all the sour notes you expel are a regional dialect used by the cagey tom you are targeting.

5. Take blurry photos of any jake or dark stump you pose with. Then tell everyone it’s a tom and the photo doesn’t do it justice.

6. Blame every miss on the shotshell, intervening vegetation or the Matrix.

7. Always hunt alone or with a friend you have something incriminating on.

8. Remember the last time you shot a turkey as if it were just last year – and not 1982.

9. Tell everyone you often call birds in just to let them walk away. (Try to do this with a straight face.)

10.  Become proficient at Photoshop.

11. Attribute every missed shot to scaring off a coyote.

12. If you do not tag a turkey, say there are not many in the area and you decided to help the local population by passing up every opportunity.

13. Never call. Instead doze off with your back to a tree. Then wake up and shoot the dumb bird that’s feeding in front of you. After that, make up a really good story about how you outfoxed it.

14. Social media that same gobbler from 26 angles at six different locations on four platforms.

If you follow the Code without fail, you will eventually convince others that you are indeed a great turkey hunter. Which is something you probably already know, provided you spend a lot of time alone.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

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