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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50 Years of Turkey Hunting (and What I’ve Learned)

My heart jump-starts a bit every time I see a wild turkey. Always has. Way back when I started, I just wanted to hear one. Back in the day, a gobble within earshot was reason enough to call it a good hunt. My Pennsylvania ridge-running involved a boatload of anticipation...


Arkansas Baiting Violations Up, Eastern Turkey Numbers Decline, and Florida Hatch Surveys Begin

As we ease into the offseason, looking forward to fall turkey hunting, here’s a roundup of some newsmaking conservation and management trends regarding America’s favorite gamebird. Arkansas Harvest Numbers Drop — Is Baiting to Blame? Arkansas hunters killed and checked in 7,010 Eastern wild turkeys during the 2021 spring season,...


After Turkey Season: Do This, Not That

And just like that, the long spring turkey season is over. A little part of you is probably okay with it, but mostly you wish you were out there, still listening for daybreak gobbles and trying to get one more longbeard in range. Well, here are some things you can...


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...


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