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Tips for Tagging Gobblers By Gary Howey

  The gobble rang out across the creek bottom, up onto the road where I was using my shock calls to get a Tom to give away his location. As my call faded, a resounding gobble came from the tree-lined hillside adjacent to the creek

  From the direction the gobble came from, it appeared that the birds were in the same general area where I had located them last spring. It looked as if my plan for opening day this year would be much the same as it was last season.

  Before I head out opening morning,  I’m going to make sure I have everything ready, starting with checking my camo, making sure it’s in good shape and going from there to my calls, backpacks and shotgun.

  Because I use my Winchester 12 gauge for several different hunts, I need to change my choke to either a full or extra full depending on what shells pattern the best with a particular choke.

  I’ll test fire my shotgun at several turkey targets and decide which choke works best with which shells allowing me to put the most BB’s in the neck and head region of the target.

  My opening day location was an area that could be hard to get into without spooking the birds, as it would require a good quarter mile walk over some open ground so the approach needed to be early, well before daylight and had to be done quietly. 

  Turkeys have an excellent hearing and if you don’t come in quietly, they’ll know something’s up and pitch out of the trees in the opposite direction.

  What the birds can’t pickup with their hearing; they’ll spot you with their excellent vision. Their night vision isn’t good but once there’s enough light to see, they can detect movement and danger.

  Now that you’re close, you need to set up, depending on how you have things laid out. In several of my locations I hunt on, I have deadfalls that I can climb behind and be hid, some are trees which have fell and trimmed so I can shoot over the top while others are dead timber I’ve drug over and piled up where I want to call the birds to. In other locations I hunt, I won’t have the luxury of dragging trees around and will have to rely on my poke in the ground blind, that’s lightweight and adjustable to any height so you can shoot over the top of it.

  There are times when put out a decoy and other times when i avoid them completely, the main factor as to when I should use decoys is how the gobblers have acted to them in past seasons. If the decoys seemed to spook the birds, I go without, but if they don’t bothered them, I’ll probably put them out [Read more…]

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The “Prime” Time for Predator Calling! By Gary Howey

  The weather has changed and its cold, too cold to do many outdoor activates, sure, ice fishing is coming soon, but it may be awhile before there’s enough ice to fish.

  One thing you can do if you bundle up warm is to call predators.  As the weather starts to change, become colder, furbearers, including coyotes and fox will have their heavy winter fur, which helps them make it through the winter.

  Then there are those poor coyotes that have developed the mange a terrible infliction where they lose all or most of their fur, with the most humane thing that could happen to them would be to put out of their misery.

  When it’s cold like it is, all critters and waterfowl will spend time moving and hunting, looking for some high protein food source to help keep their bodies warm. This means they’ll be out more as they have to eat often in order to make it through this tough time of the year.

   This is why, this time of the year is “prime” time to call predators, with several of the predators you may have come to your call be coyotes, fox and bobcats.

  Predator callers generally hunt with a small caliber rifle with lighter grain bullets, with 223-22-250 and 243 being three of the more popular calibers. Having s good variable scope mounted on tour rifle is also a good idea as it allows hunters to make some of the sometimes-difficult shots needed when hunting predators. 

  Getting permission to call predators is generally not too hard of a task as farmers and ranchers who’ve cattle have no love for predators. Predators are opportunists, taking advantage of anything that offering an easy meal and known to hang around calving yards.

All predator’s I mentioned above have excellent eyesight, hearing and an acute sense of smell, when calling predators you’ll want to glass the area you plan to call, then put together a plan, get in and set up quietly, which means using the terrain to your advantage. 

   Because the ground in the area is frozen or snow covered, you’ll want to come in slowly, making as little noise as possible and wearing some sort of camouflage to break up your outline is a big plus. Try to keep something, a cedar tree or some other vegetation between you and the area you’re calling when coming in to set up.

   The most important thing, as is with all hunting is to use the wind to your advantage by calling with the wind in your face so the keen nose of the predators don’t detect you.

  Even if the predators don’t spot you, they may attempt to circle around you to use the wind to their advantage. Don’t panic when this happens, and if you need to change shooting positions, do it slowly when the critter is in a low spot or behind a tree.

    Our best calling has been when we have two or more hunters and whenever possible facing opposite directions so we’ve both avenues of approach covered in case a coyote would come in behind us.

  Another mistake that some callers make, including our group is to hunt with just  scoped rifles, as on occasion, a coyote will pop up in front of you, too close to get a decent shot using a scope.  Now when we call, one of us always brings along a shotgun loaded with heavy loads.

  We use a combination of calls, relying heavily on our ICOtec electronic callers, but all hunters with us will also have mouth calls just in case we’re caught by surprise.

  The wounded rabbit calls, the cottontail and jackrabbit calls have been around a long time. In some areas, have been over used, making predators fooled by them once, much more cautious when coming into these calls. [Read more…]

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Drawing them In Exciting and Effective By Gary Howey

Nothing is more exciting than using a call to draw animals or birds in for a shot; it could be deer, waterfowl, crows or turkeys. When they turn and start moving your way, your heartbeat will quicken, your hands will start to shake and you will have trouble with your breathing.

It happens to even the most well seasoned hunter, it is a rush, you are fooling some of Mother Nature’s wiliest critters and even if you do not get the shot, just having the opportunity to draw them in is exciting!

My first attempt at calling would be for deer, it was my first deer hunt as I had gotten permission to hunt deer along a creek north of town. There was an old deer stand built in a tall tree along the creek. The first time I climbed it to see if it was a good stand, I was not sure if I had enough nerve to climb that high. Once I got up there, it was a great vantage point as I could see both sides of the creek as well as the ridge to the south.

It needed a little work, but once I had the stand beefed up, it looked like it would give me an excellent shooting platform, giving me the opportunity to take my first deer.

Back then, I read everything I could about hunting and the outdoors. I would have a stack of outdoor publications piled next to my chair in the living room where I read and re-read them.
In one of the magazines, there was a column on rattling deer in Texas. The sound would imitate two bucks fighting, it looked interesting, not to difficult and something; I could do and not screw up.

One of my friends loaned me a set of antlers from a deer he had taken years ago, which I tied together with some light cord. I practiced at home, thought I sounded good and patiently waited for the season to open.

When opening day came, I was ready, had my new 243 zeroed in, plenty of warm clothes and my hunter’s orange vest and cap. [Read more…]

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When the Snow flies It is Predator Calling Time Gary Howey

When the snow flies, predator hunters know this is the ideal time to start calling predators.  It is a wonder that after my first predator calling trip that I ever did it again. One of those trips into the field, which will make you wonder what you were doing out there.

A friend of mine from Omaha who works as a manufacturer’s representative for a call company called one afternoon and asked if I would like to try howling for coyotes.

Back then, I was game for almost everything, so I told him why not. I figured we had a couple of hours of daylight left and with the new snow on the ground; we could easily spot the coyotes.

The sun had just set when he pulled into our driveway and I figured our hunting opportunity had disappeared along with the sun.
Well, I was mistaken as he planned on hunting after dark, with the two of us setting up back to back, howling at the coyotes, using the light of the full moon to spot them as they came in.

[Read more…]