Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.

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How Do You Hunt a Pressured Solo Gobbler?

This wild turkey has seen it all and has likely had a close call or two. It isn’t buying your store-shelf box call yelps. It might have stood there as a big boom took out its strutting buddy. A pressured solo gobbler running alone, whether it’s a 2-year-old, an old...


How to Keep Your Butt from Going Numb While Turkey Hunting

Patience kills turkeys, and sitting comfortably helps. I caught up with our Realtree.com team of contributors — all of whom turkey hunt — to get their thoughts on this subject. Minimalist Moves Kentucky’s Will Brantley likes to slip up on turkeys, gaining ground on birds mostly with mouth calling, and...


3 Ways to Make a Gobbler Do What You Want

Turkeys don’t always do what we want. That’s the challenge — and yes, the fun of it. Don’t be afraid to mix up your approach if that bird isn’t buying what you’re selling. 1. You Want the Gobbler to Fly Down Last dusk’s roosted longbeard — the one you excitedly...


How to Tag a Gobbler When You Have No Time

Turkey hunting is often about having a boatload of insight on bird behavior — and especially when you time it right, to put that insight into action. Talk It Up “Mr. Johnson, those turkeys giving you a hard time with the farm work?” “Ha, don’t you know it. Can’t get...


How to Make a Wingbone Turkey Yelper

OK, you’ve got a wild turkey in hand. That was the hard part. To build a wingbone yelper, find where the bird’s wing joint and body meet. Remove the wing from the turkey by twisting and cutting it free from the socket joint. Do this with both wings. Be careful...


Best Rio Grande Turkey Hunting States

The Rio Grande turkey subspecies thrives primarily in two top states, with Texas and Oklahoma weighing in as the sweet spots. In the Southwest, New Mexico and Arizona hold small populations of Rios mixed in with Merriam’s (and even Gould’s in the latter state). Trap-and-transfer management efforts have also put...


Best Merriam’s Turkey Hunting States

Merriam’s turkey hunting is special for its beautiful mountain views and of course the bird with the white-tipped tail itself. Add to this the overall challenge of the hunts. Spring snows can factor in. High altitude. Dangerous cats and bears. Turkeys that walk miles from the roost. Steep mountain climbs...


Public-Land Osceola Turkey Hunting

Spanish moss draping down from high branches. White sand trails. Steaming swamps as day breaks, with overhead roost cover. Hardwood hammocks. Cypress holes full of gators. Piney woods, creek bottoms, and foggy pastureland flanking wooded areas of habitat. And you had better bring a good flashlight for when you’re done...


Your Gobbler Roosts Over Water. What’s Your Next Move?

Tagging a spring gobbler when they roost over land is tough enough. Put one high in trees over water as you start your hunt, and that compounds the difficulty. Where will that bird fly down? Where will it go after it does? The chess-game analogy comes to mind. Study Up...


Road Trip Tips for a Single-Season Grand Slam

Road trips, the best of them, are efforts to cover as much ground as possible in a single turkey season — or a lifetime. Some folks, this second spring of the pandemic, will still road-trip close to home, limited by state mandates. Others will hit the highway for extended stretches...


There's Another Turkey Hunter in Your Spot. Now What?

Every day was a Saturday last spring turkey season. Travel restrictions kept some folks close to home. Permit and license sales jumped for many states, as did kill numbers. Turkeys — and hunters chasing those birds — felt more pressure. And at least some of that increased pressure is likely...


Ride Your Bike to Turkey Hunt

You silently move along a skinny game trail through the woods toward birds you roosted last night on the same bike. You hide your rig inside a natural blind. Confidently you sit, take a breath, raise your camo facemask, and settle in — certain you’ll feel no pressure from other...


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