I had a microphone in my hand, which is always dangerous.
At an outdoor show recently I'd been talking a little about my pleasure in walking a lot in the bigwoods, and locating gobblers I haven’t known about until then . It’s the way I often like to turkey hunt, even if some guys attending a seminar don’t agree:
“So you’re saying not to hunt fields on Opening Day where we’re seeing birds from the road, but to run-and-gun in the woods?”
“I am. Everybody sees those field birds, and as a result, they take the path of least resistance to that hunting spot. They might call to them before the season. They might exert a whole lot of people pressure. You’re going to have a lot of company when Opening Day starts.”
“But what if I kill a bird even if all those guys are in there?”
“I’d be the first to congratulate you.”
Translation: the guy wants to score and get back to his fishing. I want a quality hunt, on unpressured birds, even if it means carrying my tag awhile.
“If you could only use one call, what would it be?”
“Why a slate?”
“It’s the first call I ever used all those years ago when I started. I still feel a good slate will allow you a greater range of both hen and gobbler yelps. The only trade-off is that it’s not hands-free like a diaphragm.”
Or this (different guy, but sort of like the first one):
“How can I make sure I kill a gobbler on Opening Day so I can get back to my fishing?”
“I don’t know. I don’t fish during turkey season.” I grinned. Long pause. Nervous coughing.
“Oh . . . I get it,” the guy chuckled. “I have to make my mind up as to what I really want to do.”
The laughs in the crowd said it all. Turkey hunting will never be fishing. Fishing is what you do when you can’t turkey hunt.
(Steve Hickoff self-timer photo)
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Steve Hickoff is Realtree.com's editorial director and turkey hunting editor. 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.