Out 'N About: Gadgets galore in a hunt for turkey dinner

April 12, 2004|BUD BARNARD

Ahh, springtime!

The leaves are sprouting on the trees outside my window, and signs of spring are definitely showing.

Foliage affords hiding places and "set-up" areas for those of us who are preparing to venture forth in search of a turkey.

The sporting goods stores are bursting at the seams with "tried and true" gadgets, as well as many new gadgets to try, in pursuit of a turkey dinner.

There are new box calls, mouth calls, slate calls and calls that are manufactured to produce any call a turkey hen makes with a minimum amount of effort and talent on the part of the turkey hunter.


There are different ways to mount some of the calls this year.

Some attach to your gun barrel allowing you to operate the call with very little movement that could give away your position.

Others are strapped to your leg so that you can operate the call with one hand, leaving the other hand to support your shotgun.

Help for the "turkey call challenged"

If you are "turkey call challenged," you can buy combination packages containing a call along with an instruction booklet and a tape. Some combinations have videos for your viewing convenience. All of these things are designed to help you bag that gobbler.

Some calls are new this year, but others have been around for a while. I think most experienced turkey hunters already have the calls they favor. However, there are always new gadgets to feast one's eyes on.

There is an electronic call out this year that has just about any sound a turkey makes. All you have to do is push the button for the sound you want to make. However, these calls are for "training purposes" only. Woe unto you if you are caught in the field with one of these calls on your person.

There is one conservation officer that was asked if he had seen the electronic call. He said he hadn't, but that he expected to have a collection of them after the season.

A little bit of scouting will have been done by me, I hope, by the time this story is published. I should have already been out. Can you say procrastination? I am hoping that my luck this year will surpass my luck of last year. My luck last year was bad.

Have you checked your shot pattern?

Have you checked the pattern on your shotgun yet? If you haven't, time to do so is wasting fast.

Sights, for those that use them, have to be mounted. Turkey chokes have to be installed. Different sizes of shot have to be tested to see which size shot gives the best pattern on a turkey silhouette.

Sometimes this process calls for a different choke, and almost certainly will require different brands of shotgun shells. Not all guns perform well with just any brand of shotshell.

It takes some experimenting with different brand shells and different shot sizes to determine which gives the best pattern for your particular gun.

There are some people that are amused by all the turkey paraphernalia on the market, coaxing all of us "gadget freaks" into buying something that supposedly enhances our chances of getting that old gobbler.

They just smile to themselves and go home, take out "old Betsy" and go into the field armed with a little more expertise than some of us and are probably just as successful as most of us.

No fancy super-duper shotguns, no fancy camouflage, nothing other than the desire to go hunting.

Camouflage is taken seriously

I can agree that one doesn't have to have a magnum shotgun, and that he may be successful without the camouflage, but camouflage is one item that just about all of the turkey hunting fraternity takes seriously.

Turkeys are not color-blind. I have said that in past columns. They are amazingly adept at picking out movement, however small the movement is.

Camouflage gives you a little edge because a hunter clothed head to toe with camouflage looks like the natural surroundings. Small movements are usually not noticeable, but even these movements depend on the turkey. Some old gobblers will pick you out even if you wiggle your nose.

Now if the weather will cooperate and get a little warmer, and I get better with my turkey call, maybe, just maybe, I can collect my prize this year.

I'm stocking up on toothpicks anyway.

Of course, if I don't get my bird there's always Kroger.

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