April 21, 2013

Gobble up some advice from turkey experts

New York’s youth turkey hunting weekend is in play through noon today. The regular spring turkey season opens May 1. To get you primed, this week we’ve got some free advice.

At the New York State Outdoor Writers Association’s (NYSOWA) 2013 Spring Safari, held down in Cortland, three very experienced turkey hunters shared their wisdom in a symposium atmosphere.

Among them was Bill Hollister of Columbia County, a former state wildlife biologist who may have killed one of the first turkeys in the state after re-introduction, and has taken many since. Joining Bill were Wayne Masters, another former state wildlife employee who is currently involved with the popular “Scoutlook” app and, Mike Joyner, a past president of the state chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and author of two books, including one on turkey hunting.

Here’s what they had to say about turkey hunting’s common points:


Bill: “I used to roost birds the night before, I very seldom do that now. I like to go in early in the morning (45 minutes before legal shooting time) and I’ll get to a high point and I’ll just listen. I think a lot of hunters make the mistake of calling too early. Early in the season I try to get within 125 to 150 yards. Late season I try to get in 75 yards because of the foliage. If there are hens in the area and roosted nearby, that hen is likely to intercept the tom and wander off with him. If I can get a reaction to an owl hoot then I get in and set up, maybe give a tree call, and then I just wait until the bird flies down. I’ll simulate the fly down and I’ll do a fly-down cackle. You can use your cap or clap your hand against your leg.”

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