Turkey Talk at Texas’s Live Oak Hunting Lodge with Remington and J. Wayne Fears
Editor’s Note: Recently, Eddie Stevenson of Remington invited me to hunt in Eldorado, Texas, at Live Oak Hunting Lodge with Steve Elmore. After finding an abundance of game in Texas 15-years ago, Elmore, originally from Grove Hill, Alabama, my home state, moved to the area and created Live Oak Hunting Lodge where hunters could have the chance to take turkey and deer. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation when I learned I’d have the opportunity to hunt with my mentor and long-time friend, J. Wayne Fears, well-known professional outdoor writer and photographer. This week, I’ll tell you about this memorable hunt.
“Oops, I’ve messed up,” I said to myself as I saw two longbeards standing under the shade of a huge oak tree about 30-yards from a water tank. I knew the turkeys had spotted me. To keep from spooking them, I tried to slide behind a bush. I began to call with my Hunter’s Specialties Ring Zone turkey call, but the birds didn’t respond. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I peeped around the bush to see if the two gobblers still were under the oak. They weren’t. So, I began to slowly move toward the water tank, assuming the turkey had been spooked and left the area. However, I hadn’t gone more than 20 yards when I spotted the gobblers again, further up the hill and walking away. When the gobblers were out of sight, I said to myself, “Okay, there were two gobblers, they liked the shade of the oak tree, and the stock tank provided water I know they needed. If I can get close to the stock tank and the big oak tree, I should be in a place close to where the turkeys want to be.” My guide Mike had told me there were four or five longbeards coming to this stock tank late in the afternoon to drink. Since I’d only spooked two birds, I knew I had a good chance to either call one of those birds back or have one of the turkeys I hadn’t spooked come in to me. I sat up with my back to the stock tank in a little spot where there was a mesquite tree behind me and a cactus positioned in front of me that broke-up my silhouette. Over the years, I’ve learned that the easiest way to call a turkey is to be in a place where the turkey wants to come, even if you don’t call to him.
Once I was comfortable in my blind, I took out my new Hunter’s Specialties’ Ring Zone friction call, yelped softly first and then a little louder. Every 15 minutes, I’d give soft clucks and purrs, stop and listen. Then, I’d give louder yelps, stop and listen. Next, I’d cut and cackle, stop and listen. Because the wind was blowing, I wanted a call that would pierce through the wind and reach the turkey’s ears. Regardless of the type of call you’re using, if the turkey can’t hear the call, he won’t come. About 1 hour before dark, I started using Hunter’s Specialties’ Field Champion Natural box call. At first glance, this box call appears to be cheaply made because the bottom and the two ends of the box are constructed of plastic. Based on this call’s appearance, you wouldn’t think a professional turkey hunter would use this call.
However, I like this call. The Field Champion Natural has a waterproof coating on the lid. Therefore, regardless of the weather conditions, you still can use it to call turkeys. It has a small device on the bottom of the call, so that when you turn it to the locked position, a plastic extension comes up from the box and fits into a groove in the lid, preventing the box from making any sound while you’re walking. Because the call is very inexpensive and cheap-looking, most serious turkey hunters won’t use it. So, a turkey’s probably never heard it before. I prefer to use calls most other hunters won’t use in heavily-hunted areas where I know turkeys have received a lot of hunting pressure. Another favorite call of mine in these heavily-hunted pressure situations is a push-button yelper. Too, the Field Champion Natural is extremely-high pitched, and you can call really-loudly with it. So, even though the call is unassuming in its appearance, it has many of the features deadly effective in hunting turkeys in a wind-swept area like Texas. The first time I used the Natural, I cranked it up, yelped really loudly and then followed with some loud calls from the Ring Zone. But no turkey answered. The second time I yelped loudly on the Natural, I heard a turkey in the distance gobble.
To learn more about the New England Firearms Pardner Pump Turkey Gun, contact Eddie Stevenson at 800-243-9700, or go to www.remington.com. To hunt at Live Oak Hunting Lodge with Steven Elmore, call (325) 853-2093, or visit www.liveoakhuntinglodge.com. To learn more about Hunter’s Specialties calls, call (319) 395-0321, or go to www.hunterspec.com.
Tomorrow: Talking to Toms and Taking Toms