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 to Save a Screwed-Up Turkey Season

It’s easy to say bad luck is responsible for unfilled tags, but with turkey hunting, sometimes something else is to blame — likely YOU. Burned Out Sure, you’ve seen several strutters from your truck as you drive by a lush, late-season pasture. They’ve been there off and on all season...


10 Tips for Henned-Up Gobblers

Every year we hear the whining in turkey camp: “They’re all henned up!” Here are some tricks to getting that gobbler all to yourself. 1. Rise Up You've found a gobbler but that turkey is with a lot of hens. In this kind of situation, you need to rise earlier...


3 Ways to Kill a Tough Late-Season Turkey

You've lost 10 pounds, hear gobbling in your head, and have to think hard to remember which day of the week it is. But don’t clean your shotgun yet. Turkey season will be over soon enough, and you’ll miss it, right? Hang tough. These tips can help you tag that...


Mountain Turkeys Will Kick Your Butt

I half-slept a few hours, drove four more, parked, shouldered my vest, and eased up the Vermont mountain. Darkness receded into dingy light from where I sat near a dry creek bed. I squinted and saw a longbeard silhouetted high in the oak not far away. Yep, maybe too close...


Top 5 States for May Turkey Hunting

“You still at it?” my Southern friends will ask, having turkey hunted since March. And from my cabin in the Northeast, I’ll reply, “Yeah bud, the season just started up here.” Maine Regular season dates : May 3 to June 5, 2021 2020 spring harvest data : N/A (2019: 6,612...


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...


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