Steve Hickoff is the Realtree Turkey Hunting Editor and Blogger. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country. It's "all turkeys, all the time" on the Realtree Turkey Blog.
Turkey Hunting Contests
Turkey hunting contests can bring out the best and worst in us.
I once participated in a "turkey hunting contest" with a bunch of NFL players, a couple other TV celebrities and a few other hunting industry guys like me, all aimed at raising money for a local cause. A total of 17 spring turkey chasers hit the woods and fields. The grand prize: a spring gobbler mounted by a taxidermist.
We hunted hard and had some fun. One guy missed a longbeard and we raised a lot of money for the cause at a fundraiser banquet. Catch is: We only killed two turkeys in three days.
My 14.5-pound bull jake was barely edged out by a musician who’d dropped a 15.1 super shortbeard. All of us — way more than what an NFL team puts on the field for a set of downs — scratched out two jakes in three days of hard hunting. (And yes I caught some friendly camp trash talk — something about shooting a milk beak.)
That's what I love about wild turkeys. They could care less about some contest.
Fast forward to now: I’ve a question to share with you put to me by another turkey hunter. He wants to hold a 1-day spring turkey hunting contest next year that brings youth hunters and mentors together. What should he do to have success with the event? Any insights for what he might avoid in staging the celebration of our turkey hunting tradition? Have any of you ever run turkey hunting contests and how did the occasions turn out? Any tips?
Let us know in the comments section below and thanks.