Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

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.

  • Turkey Hunting: Did Hens Ruin Your Spring Season?

    As a turkey hunter, is your glass half full or half empty? In Florida this season, right after fly-down, a boss hen clucked, yelped and laid on some forceful cutting back at our every call. More birds flew down and gathered around this loud-mouthed hen turkey — more hens and...

  • Turkey Hunting: Chess Match in the River Bottom

    "Turkey hunting is not a game that needs a score or a scorekeeper and does not require the production of a dead turkey to qualify as a success." — Tom Kelly, "Ethics," The Season I turkey hunted in Florida this past March, several April states, and like many, I'm still...

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Shutmouth Gobblers

Q. What do you do when the birds refuse to gobble? Been having that trouble in SE Georgia. Any advice or tips? I know the birds are there. I see them every day during the day. --Clint Sheppard A. Thanks for the question Clint. Go bass fishing! Kidding aside, If...


When to Call?

Q.: Hello. When is the best time to start calling for turkeys? At the break of daylight or before daylight or a little while after daylight? Thanks ... John Maynor from W.Va... Our turkey season opens April 27th here. Thanks again. A.: Hi John. Thanks for the question. It's a...


Missouri Spring Turkey Hunting

As my trips around the country each spring go, some of the most intense, hard-gobbling, dagger-legged, thick-bearded turkeys I have ever encountered came to my setups in the Show-Me-State. Things change. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, poor nesting weather over the past several years has been the major...


Clay County Turkey Fest, Day 2

Day two of Turkey Fest started like day one except that it was accompanied by more rain, lightning, and 50 mile per hour winds. For yet another morning, the same tom we chased yesterday humbled Bubba and I again.What we needed was a change of scenery. So this afternoon, we...


Clay County Turkey Fest, Day 1

The first day of the Clay County Turkey Fest ( www.claycountyoutdoors.org ) was a fun one but the turkeys had us beat.On two separate occasions, Bubba and I had a tom headed our way when a trio of hens cut the tom's trail and he followed them into the mesquite...


Why a Wingbone Call?

No matter where you live and hunt in turkey country, you invest some time, often a lot, and some money too. It has paid off recently. You’ve gotten a wild turkey by the feet. There’s no greater feeling for many of us afflicted spring gobbler chasers, but now what? We...


The First Bird Is the Sweetest

I had killed a Texas longbeard on the north zone opener right after fly-down just like that, a kamikaze two-year-old that ran in to the setup with a half-dozen other male turkeys, but we were paying some dues now . . . Legal in Texas but not Maine where I...


Another Opener, Another Longbeard

In order to call wild turkeys to your position you usually have to set up where they're comfortable going. Yup, we had that woodsmanship in a local guide who knew how to put us into spring turkeys, an essential component for the traveling hunter. "We" also being one guy from...


Florida, Part Deux

I recently shared central Florida turkey camp with a couple of hardcore gobbler chasin’ friends, the way you guys do each spring. That’s a big part of all this: good company, grillin’ steaks, burgers, and trading stories. Tim Herald scored first in the thick, heavy fog of opening morning in...


Ground Control to Standing Tom

They were henned up for sure, but worked to the calling . . . It was my first spring turkey trip of the '09 season, having flown south from snowbound Maine. Destination: a back pasture where a big flock of Osceola turkeys likely roosted. Or so I hoped. Glass half...


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