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1. The best way to find deals on quality hunting equipment at big box hunting stores is to shop after the season is over, or four to six months before it starts.
For instance last year I found a portable deer stand marked down 25% shortly after deer hunting season was over. I thought it was a great deal, but there were three of them left so I waited it out until April and got the last one for over 50% off.
2. Watch for big sales at the big box hunting stores. Once and a while you can find a great sale at these places no mater what time of year it is. I suggest joining the mailing lists of these bigger stores. This way you will know when the sales are happing. Be careful though they really know what catches your eye and you may want to buy something you don’t need.
This past turkey hunting season was my first turkey season so I needed to get camo gear. I looked around every where and never found anything priced with in my budget. Then one day I got a flyer in the mail from my local big box hunting store. Sale on camo 50% off. I sure took advantage of this.
3. Don’t for get to shop around and compare prices at all stores and on line (Big hunting and fishing stores, general sports stores, small sports and hunting stores, department stores). Some times you need to do this for the last few items you can’t find any where else for a good deal, or before a season so you can get your budget in order. You will be surprised at the price differences you can find form store to store.
Way before turkey season this year I went on a little road trip from store to store to see what the prices were on the gear I needed. When I was all finished I knew what to buy where.
4. Some of the Big box hunting stores have credit cards you can apply for which allow you to earn cash back to their store.
I’ve never done this one, but I have used similar types of credit card promotions. They seem to work well. Just be careful as always with Credit cards.
5. Ask for gift cards to hunting stores for all of your special occasions birthdays, holidays etc... This way you can get what you want. To maximize the amount you have on your gift cards use tips 1-3.
Two or three muzzle load seasons ago I needed to get a gun. I had actually saved up enough in gift cards I only had to pay 40 bucks for my brand new gun. I got a new gun and didn’t break the budget at all or even come close.
6. This time of year at least in the northern states it is garage sale time. This is one place I over looked in the past. It doesn’t happen too often, but once and a while you run across some hunting gear at a garage sale.
I never use to go to garage sales until just this last year when my wife was pregnant with our son. We needed to find deals on all sorts of things I didn’t know existed. Along the way I found a few things at a couple garage sales. Then we hit the jack pot one of the sales was filled with hunting gear new and used. I got a couple of things and wished I would have gotten more.
7. News paper and Craig’s List these are two great spots to find deals on gear. Lots of times you can find really good deals, but it’s not always exactly what you are looking for. The key to this one is to be persistent. Eventually you will find something you need.
I personally haven’t found the right deal form these resources yet. Judging by the amount of stuff out there I know I’m bound to find the deal I’m looking for one of these days. (Deer stand and new rubber boots are on the list this year)
8. Getting gear at pawn shops. You can find really good deals on used gear. Be careful and make sure research what you need (especially guns) before you go to pawn shops.
I have been with friends when looking for guns at pawn shops, and if you look around you will definitely find a good deal.
9. Going to gun auctions is a great place to get a deal on guns, gear, and ammunition. OK maybe not ammunition these days, but you could get good deals in the past. One thing to keep in mind it is easy to get caught up in the fun of bidding, so make sure you keep with in your budget.
I have won two guns at the auctions I’ve been too. Both have been pretty good deals. There have also been a couple of deals I wish I would have gotten in on. I have also seen some used guns go for only a few dollars less then a brand new one (make sure to do your research).
10. Use things you have for other types of hunting, or other outdoor activities.
For about six years I used my snowboarding boots for deer hunting. They just happened to be the warmest boost I had ever owned. I would walk out to my deer stand with to boot over my shoulder and change in to them right before I went up the tree. Now I finally broke down and got a new pair of deer hunting boots (this is one of the times I splurged). Oh my new boots are now the warmest boots I own.
11. Talk with friends and relitives. This might just be your best resource. They may know someone who is selling old gear at a good price. They could have some of their old gear they want to sell. Some times they have extra gear you can barrow, or they may even give it to you.
Over the years I have barrowed gear from friends and family. They are always willing to help. Just remember to help them out in return. Do something nice for them like mow their lawn, or help them with a construction project.
I hope these tips will help you get out in to the field and hunt.
Sleepy after eating a giant sandwich, chips, and some thing else I can’t remember. I coaxed Luke to go back out to the woods after eating in stead of taking a much needed nap. It was shaping up to be a 70 plus degree day. Which normally would have been nice, but when you are in full camo and have to walk over a mile to get to where you want to hunt it gets kind of warm.
Ok this time we decided to fallow the trail to the north to see if we could find any turkeys, or places to set up for our evening hunt. It was a long slow walk searching for turkey prints or scat along the trail. Of course you can’t for get about the heat, and the fact we were both so worn out.
After about a half hour of walking and just farting around Luke grabbed me by the arm and pulled me down to one knee behind a small oak tree. After we were both down on the ground Luke whispered big Tom around the bend on the trail in full strut.
“Here is my second chance”, I thought to my self. Luke started calling but he didn’t get any gobbles in return. After lying down in a ready position waiting for the Tom for what seemed like 20 mins. and not hearing a sound I decided to get up on to my knees and take a look. I saw him and he wasn’t walking in our direction.
I motioned for Luke to come up to my position. Knowing the Tom was walking the other way he could crawl on his knees as long as he was quite. We tried to figure out what to do. With lots of ground cover and not much for shooting lanes we decided the best thing to do was to move up behind a bush and wait.
After waiting, watching him strut and keep walking in the wrong direction I was getting frustrated. I crawled to the right of the bush to get a better view. Luke tried to calling again, but nothing he just kept walking away from us.
Then I heard a rooster pheasant crow off to the west in the direction we walked in on. This seemed rather odd to me, but I didn’t stop watching the strutting Tom. I lost him he went out of my site behind some tall grass I thought this was a great opportunity to get on my knees and find a better place to hide. Nothing close enough to move to, so I got back down (keep in mind this was all took only about 15 to 20 seconds). Then out of know where the turkey ran, like the road runner past my opening. I didn’t have enough time to get off a shot.
I thought I blew it and got busted by the bird. I couldn’t figure out why if I startled him why he would have run in my direction. I found out why on our walk back to the car. Some guy and his wife were walking their dogs on the trail. I normally wouldn’t have been mad because that is what you have to deal with hunting on state land. The problem was this guy didn’t have his lab on a leash and was using a whistle which is completely illegal. The law says you must have your dog on a leash when on state land from April 15th to August 1st.
Frustrated and tired we decided to go get an afternoon snack. After our snack we both decided to call it a season. Oh well no turkey, but lots of fun. I gained so much knowledge I’m primed for next year.
Photo curtesy of http://www.freefoto.com/
Late Morning hunt on our final day
We found another area of state land and headed in that direction. By the time we got to the new spot it was almost 8am so we parked the car and went for a walk to scope out the area. It didn’t take long before we saw signs of turkeys. Along one of the roads it was pretty obvious a Tom had been strutting.
We walked around for a good hour and found a couple of good spots to set up for our afternoon and evening hunts. We had one more area we wanted to check out. As we came to a fork in the road we ran into a flock of about six turkeys. I think they surprised us more then we did them. Of course they scattered in all directions.
Luke and I saw the direction two of the turkeys went. So we looped back around the woods and sat up in keeping very quiet. I got down on all fours and popped my head out around a big pine to see a Jake in the tall grass on the move about 100 yards to the south east of us. I slowly went back to where Luke had stopped and motioned for him to start calling. We plopped down in an opening with nothing more then some tall grass and a small tree for cover.
The second time Luke called a hen clucked. Then the Jake clucked, Luke called again, and the Jake gobbled. He was headed right for us (the calling a clucking went on for about 15 to 20 minutes). I was all set up ready to shoot him when he walked into the opening. Luke tapped me and pointed the turkey had kind of looped in and came in from the south west. No big deal I move the barrel of the gun and had him in my sites, just waiting for him to walk in out of the tall grass so I could get a shot.
In what seemed like for ever the Jake slowly walked into the opening. He was only about 15 yards from us and hadn’t seen us at all (good camo I guess). The only thing standing between me and a dead turkey was the safe on the 12 gage. As I slowly pressed the safe the Jake never moved then just before the safe was pressed all the way. Ping…….. Instantly my feathered friend had vanished into the swamp. I was so close to shooting him I could almost taste the smoked turkey sandwich I was planning on making after I got him.
We got up and moved to a new location hoping to call him back to us again, but no luck after trying for at least 30 to 45 min. By this time my stomach started to grumble and I was up set at my self for making such a dumb mistake. Luke and I headed for the car to get some lunch.
Our final early morning hunt
The morning started out decent this time not running too late and we were on a mission this time (Turkey or bust). After having that last drip of coffee we went off into the woods only about 15 minutes behind schedule. We finally got out into the woods before the turkeys were down from their roosts.
With every thing set up perfectly, and a stellar game plan I snuggled in to the blind and Luke hid under his pine tree. After the morning we had a couple of days ago we were set to shoot a turkey on this day and had the completely the right mind set to do so.
We called for a short while and sure enough our turkey buddy gobbled back. After a couple more calls he was headed in our direction. Every thing was going just right we even moved the decoys into a new position were we were sure the turkeys would see them.
Then it happened, the strangest noise I had ever heard (not knowing what it was). It sounded like someone was putting shingles on their roof in the middle of the woods. We got the turkey to call back only a few more times after we heard this horrible sound.
The noise quit after a short while. We called and called and couldn’t get a peep out of any turkey in the woods. Then the horrible noise started up again, but this time it was coming from the opposite direction. We finally figured out what the noise was it was HORSES!
Luke and I were unaware of a day long horse ride or race through out the state forest. We were dumb founded and didn’t know what to do, so we went back to the car to get some coffee and devise some sort of a plan to help salvage our day. We decided to take a drive along the forest road to see where exactly the horses were at.
On our drive we ran into another hunter who said he the exact thing happened to him. The horses came through and the bird quit making any response to his calls. Now we decided to resort to the type of hunting we didn’t want to do, but didn’t see any other choice. Drive hop out of the car walk into the woods, and call for a short while. If you get a response go hunt. This didn’t work so well because the horses were literally on every trail, and every road in the state forest. What a bummer. For the rest of that day Luke and I hated horses and wished they never existed (it was our joke for the day).
Off to the gas station to find a new spot to hunt……
Day two of our season
The second day we were off to an earlier start, still not early enough, but oh well. After a 15 hour day the day before we were both tired, the hunt must go on. As we finished up our coffee, and doughnuts we heard a gobble out in the direction we were hunting. I grabbed the gun and off we went out to the woods.
We got set up in the same spot as the day before, but about an hour and a half earlier this time. We had spent some time getting our spot just perfect the evening before, so it took way less time to get set up and ready to shoot that big Tom I saw yesterday afternoon.
Both Luke and I started calling. I didn’t take long to get him to answer back. You could hear him getting closer and closer. I kept thinking to my self that this was the day I’m going to get a turkey. He kept getting closer.
All of the sudden I heard two turkeys replying back to us. This would explain the frequency of his gobbles. I held up two fingers in Luke’s direction he held up two in return, letting me know that he herd two different birds also (I knew I wasn’t hearing things). Now I’m thinking for sure I was going to get a turkey today and I might even have my choice of which one I want to shoot.
After a short time one of the birds got really close he was gobbling with in 50 yards of us, but I couldn’t see him out in the woods. I could feel the addrelin pumping now I was ready to shoot him with #5 turkey load right as he took his first step out of the woods into the opening. Then the next time he called he was walking in the opposite direction. This is where our inexperience left us very confused and disappointed.
We stayed put for quite a while calling and listening to the turkey call back as he kept walking in the opposite direction. Eventually we got up and went to see if we could sit some where else and call him in. No luck. On our way back to get the decoys and the blind we called a couple of times and found one of the two birds. He decided to walk around us.
Luke and I called then walked for a bit, sat and called again. He called back a couple of times, but never came in our direction. We walked again sat and called, but no go he was long gone. It seemed like a good time to go and get some food.
That same afternoon we went out, and never saw or heard any turkeys. We did however find out where the wood ticks were I think we picked off over 100 between the two of us that evening.
Day two the morning was intense, but still no bird. I’m feeling like Turkey hunting has become an addiction. I also found out that 16 hours is a long time to hunt.
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Our first day started off kind of late. We held off partly because of rain mostly because my wife Amber had a prior commitment early that morning. It actually worked out kind of well for us because we had only been to the spot we were going to set up once and it was much easier to find in the light vs. dark and flash lights.
Luke and I arrived at the spot to where we were going to set up, and before we set up we decided to do some calling. To our surprise after two or three calls we got a gobble (we didn’t expect this at all on our fist morning especially getting out so late). We set up the decoys and blind quickly and quietly. We also found a good spot for Luke to sit and do most of the calling.
After we set up we called back and fourth with this bird of at lest an hour and a half. He seemed to be coming in closer. Then he went further away. For the last time he came in close again, but after a short time he just stopped making any noise. We tried for about 20 min or so to get any noise out of him again and nothing.
We decided to go check out the terrain were we had heard the turkey which wasn’t too far away. We left the blind and decoys set up and would get them when we came back. After finding a possible spot to set up in the afternoon we decided to go get our stuff, and go get some lunch.
As we were packing up the decoys we heard a gobble with in 50 yards of us. We both dropped down and I crawled up to a spot where I thought the tom might go. He kept calling back to Luke and sounded like he was moving right for my opening. Then for no reason what so ever his gobbles started moving away from us and eventually just stopped.
After lunch we went for a walk on the trails around the portion of the Forrest we were hunting. We were trying to locate some birds and or find a different place to set up. Nothing at all, so we headed for our morning spot.
We were walking along a right next to were we had been hunting in the morning and Eyes (Luke) spots two turkeys down the ridge form us off in the woods. I crawled over and behind a stump all the while looking and looking for the two birds. I’m not seeing any thing then out of the corner of my eye I see a tom all puffed up just after Luke calls. I don’t have any sort of a shot because they are in some pretty dense cover. Luke kept calling but the tom never made a sound. I decided there was no way to get any shot and let them keep walking away. We never heard or saw any thing the rest of the day.
Lots of excitement on day one, but no bird and I think I’m addicted to turkey hunting.
Other related posts
Scouting for Turkeys
Turkey Hunting Addiction (Part 2)
Turkey Hunting Addiction (Part 3)
Turkey Hunting Addiction (Part 4)
Turkey Hunting Addiction (Part 5 final)
Magnet Gun Caddy - Portable Magnetic Gun Rack
Have you ever been out hunting, got back to your vehicle, and leaned your gun up against it. This always happens as soon as you walk away your gun falls on the ground and scratches your truck. I know I’ve had this happen to me several times. I always cringe when I see it happening because I know I can’t get there in time to stop it.
The Magnet Gun Caddy (MGC) makes this a thing of the past. You will never have to worry about your truck/car getting scratched again, or your gun getting damaged from an unnecessary fall.
Mike from Magnet Gun Caddy sent me their great little product to try out. I couldn’t believe how small the MGC was when I received it. I expected something way bigger. I thought to my self how is this little magnet going to be able to hold my 12 gauge up with out falling (no way will this work).
Was I ever wrong this little guy held up my gun along with every other gun I tried. It didn’t matter what surface I stuck it too as long as it was magnetic (the car, steel door, our freezer) this thing is really sweet. The best part of MGC being so small is it fits in your hunting vest or cargo pocket very easily.
I am now much wiser to hunting turkeys, and hope to use my new knowledge for next year (I can't wait). I am going to be doing lots and lots of reading for next year so if any one knows of any good articles about turkeys send them my way.
To sum up my hunts adrenaline filled, tons of fun, lots of walking, exciting, and last disappointing. Now I have a lot more respect for turkeys now and the hunters who have shot them. I always thought they were dumb birds.
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