John's Journal...


The First Time I Used Space-Age Technology to Hunt Turkeys

Click here to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: In preparing for turkey season, you can't know where you'll hunt. The tom himself will dictate the place you'll hunt, the type of terrain you'll have to cross, and how wet you'll get before you return to your truck. During the spring while turkey hunting, I'll usually get lost and need some type of navigational device. The hand-held GPS (global positioning system) will aid your scouting and your hunting turkeys this season.

Click here to enlargeA couple years ago as I sloshed through the inky-black water of the swamp late in the afternoon, I laid an invisible trail marked only by satellites in outer space and my GPS hand-held receiver. I planned to follow that trail the next morning before daylight to reach my stand site to hunt Albert. Every morning this gobbler, Albert, pitched off the limb where he roosted over flooded timber and flew to a small island about 80 yards out in the water. I had no way to approach the island during daylight hours without the gobbler's seeing me. I sometimes watched him strutting on the island that was too far away for me to shoot. On this afternoon, I'd waded through the swamp in knee-deep water for 1/2-mile and picked a stand site where I could set up without spooking Albert. I used my Magellan hand-held GPS receiver to get a fix on my position. I hit the button to mark this location as a waypoint. Then I punched theClick here to enlarge MARK A ROUTE button and pulled up the waypoint I'd entered earlier where I'd left my vehicle. While I walked from the island through the water back to my vehicle, my GPS charted the course I took. When I arrived at my car, I pushed the SAVE ROUTE button and stored my route in the memory of the receiver.

The following morning with no moon to light my path, I set out with my GPS receiver to find my turkey-hunting blind through the dark water. Arriving at my destination in less than 45 minutes, I waited for the coming of daylight and Albert. He gobbled before first light. Because I knew this smart bird had whipped several other members of my hunting club, I didn't want to over-call. I cupped my hand and threw my call away from the island to some trees in the flooded timber and gave a soft tree call. Albert Click here to enlargescreamed back. Next I gave a fly-down cackle and beat my pants leg with my gloved hand to sound like a turkey flying down and landing on the island. Albert double gobbled. After giving some soft clucks and yelps, I waited before scratching in the leaves to sound like a feeding hen. I didn't call any more. After 10 minutes of listening to Albert gobble with almost every breath, I heard the beating of wings. In less than three heartbeats, Albert landed about 20 yards from my stand. I released a load of No. 5s, collected my prize and reached in my pocket for my GPS receiver. This space-age device that had led me straight to the tom I'd hunted for two years now would direct me back to my vehicle.



Check back each day this week for more about SPACE-AGE GOBBLERS

Day 1 - The First Time I Used Space-Age Technology to Hunt Turkeys
Day 2 - Be Lost No More
Day 3 - Hunt Non-Pressured Gobblers
Day 4 - GPS Your Hunt Plan
Day 5 - Give a Turkey to a Friend



Entry 289, Day 1