When you’re hot, you’re hot

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 5.32.30 PMCountry singer Jerry Reed said (Or is that “sang“) it best when he said, “When you’re hot, you’re hot…when you’re not, you’re not“.

Well, we’ve been “hot” the past several days. Lindsey, Hunter and I went to the camp in Texas the past several days and as of Monday afternoon, we’ve all three limited out. It’s been amazing. We’ve all taken four turkeys in three days of hunting.

The last one was really something. Lindsey and I were riding down the road and saw a big gobbler of in the woods. We went on past about 100 yards in the direction he was going,  got out and set up in the woods. I gave a big gobble and before I could get my facemask on good, here he came, gobbling and strutting! We hadn’t been there three Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 5.32.19 PMminutes. Boom!

It seemed like everywhere we set up the past few days, we had gobblers and were able to get them up within shooting range, strutting and showing out. Lindsey just started turkey hunting last year and we may have ruined her with all this action the past few days. It isn’t always this easy.

Everybody here isn’t doing as well, either, so I know we’ve just been in a zone. It is this kind of hunt with lots of birds and friends and family having a great time that makes hunting what it is. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is a memory for a lifetime.

I did have one thing that didn’t go exactly as planned. Yesterday I was set up in some brush and getting ready to gobble back at a big old bird when I noticed some motion about three feet away from me. I looked over it and it was a large four-foot Texas rattlesnake. Just as a note, any rattlesnake that gets that close to you is “large”… He was moving slowly right toward me. I quickly rolled over away from him, came up and shot him. That will get your blood pumping. I guess in the end, that ended up good, too, because I could have gotten snake bit!

Here’s hoping that the you get in on some good turkey hunting before the season ends. It has been tough in some places, but keep after them. You never know when you will be in the right place at the right time.

And, oh yes. Keep your eye out for snakes.

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Turned the tables on two!

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 1.16.15 PMThe tables got turned on a couple of gobblers that had been giving me the run around over in Mississippi. I was having trouble getting them away from the hens, but I’ve got two now.

They still aren’t acting quite right. These gobbled early, then just shut up for an hour or so. I think the hens left them then, because when I called after that, it wasn’t long at all until I got a shot. I’m hearing a lot of people are having a tough time. My advice is be patient. Plan on staying up in the morning and if the hens slip away, you can get those gobblers gobbling again and they’ll come to you.

We are going to head out to Texas for some hunts and I’m looking forward to that. You can take four birds in Texas now.

This colder weather is setting them back a bit, even in Texas. They just seem to do better on the warm, good weather days.

Either way, get out there and get after them. You can’t kill them at home. You’ve got to get out in the woods.

Be safe out there!

It’s happening to all of us

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.09.12 AMI had a friend call the other day and say, “Man, I just can’t get the gobblers to come to me. They must be smarter than I am”.  I laughed and told him don’t worry, it’s happening to all of us. A turkey has a brain the size of an English pea so I’m sure I’m smarter than him.  And I told my friend, besides, I’m a lot better caller than you are! It’s nice to have friends, right?

It’s still a bit early and the turkeys just aren’t where we want them to be right now. They are gobbling early and looking for hens, but when they find them, they are just staying with them. Pretty soon the hens will start sneaking off and laying eggs and nesting during the day, and that’s when we’ll start getting the gobblers to come to us. They’ll start gobbling later in the morning. I’ve had a few young jakes come up five steps away, but the big ones aren’t buying it right now.

As I told my friend, the turkeys can’t read, so they don’t know that the turkey season opened and it’s time for them to start being easier to hunt. Time doesn’t mean anything to a turkey out in the woods. We just have to wait until they are ready.

The key is to be there when they are!

Can’t get gobblers to shake those hens!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many turkeys in my life in the past week or so while hunting in Mississippi and Louisiana and still not kill one. The gobblers are roosting, gobbling and hitting the ground, but almost immediately they are wrapped up with hens and they just won’t leave them.

Most every time a hen yelps, they’ll gobble. I can yelp and they’ll gobble, but they won’t come my way. They stay with the hens. And there’s a bunch of them.

That’s not all bad, though because I’ve noticed even the last couple of days that they are getting a little more separated each day, so our time is coming. I’m overlooking what’s happening now because I know my bad luck will soon turn into their bad luck!

Yesterday I thought things were going to be perfect. I set up on a gobbler and he roosted not 75 yards away from me. He gobbled several times and flew down from the tree, then nothing! There was another group of six to eight gobblers and there must have been 25 hens. They worked and gobbled and yelped. I could see them on and off through the woods. They responded to the call, but didn’t come my way again. I even tried to sneak around on the other side but they just slipped away.

My time is coming.

Gobblers still bunched up

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.34.40 AMI’ve been hunting over in Mississippi this week since their season opened before ours in Louisiana. I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of gobblers, but they are still bunched and and just not doing right yet.

I set up on top of a ridge and heard about a dozen different gobbles just a couple of days ago. I had a group of longbeard gobblers walking up and down the bottom. I just knew one of them would come right up the ridge, but they stopped short about 40 yards away and never got out in the open. They took off after a bunch of hens and I never had a shot.

I spent some time in the woods scouting up around Marion yesterday and had planned to go there Saturday morning. But I never heard a turkey gobble. I ran into a forester that was in the woods every day and he said he hadn’t heard many so far either. I’m not sure what I’ll do opening weekend, but we’ll get you a report early next week and let you know how folks did. It looks like the weather is going to be a challenge opening weekend. Keep your eyes on that. And be careful out there and always put safety first. Never fire a shot until you are SURE of your target.

If we can do anything to help your season be more successful, come see us at Simmons’ Sporting Goods.  That’s why we are here.


Turkey talk

The 2017 turkey season is set to begin, just over a year after catastrophic flooding in much our region. How did it affect turkey populations for this year? We asked Cody Cedotal, Resident Small Game and Wild Turkey Program Manager, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, for an update. Here’s our Q& A with Cody:

Is there any way to measure last year’s tragic flooding on turkey populations this year?   There is no real way to measure impact as it is difficult to estimate population for wild turkeys.

Any reason to think it may hurt the season?   No reason to think it will hurt the season. To my knowledge, we received no reports of flood-related mortality of turkeys.  The flooding occurred at a time when poults were nearly fully developed and capable of avoiding the event with the adult birds.   The flooding was relatively short in duration (less than 7 days in most places) allowing turkeys to seek refuge on high ground and in the trees.  Although habitat quality was temporarily impacted by growing season flooding, most of those impacts were short lived and those areas have recovered this Spring with a flush of new growth.

Are there are field surveys or anything that would give us a prediction of turkey populations, especially in north Louisiana, this year?   We conduct a Summer Wild Turkey Survey each year to assess production throughout the state.  Each year, survey volunteers record turkey sightings from July 1st through August 31.  Based on the 2015 Summer survey, the production in NW LA was improved which would indicate moderate to good numbers of adult (2years old +) gobblers for this season.  However, production in 2016 was down which would indicate fewer juvenile gobblers (jakes) for this year and 2-year old birds for next season.  The attached Poult Map which summarizes this data for the past several years in each management region of the state.

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Add this to your gobbler arsenal

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 8.05.27 PMTurkey season in Louisiana is here. Well, almost. The season runs from March 25 through April 23 in Area A, which encompasses most of our region. The season also opens in Area B and C then, but closes on April 16 in Area B and April 9 in Area C.

Something you need to consider adding to your turkey hunting arsenal this year is the The Jekyll and Hyde of the decoy world! This Avery decoy has an aggressive head on one side, passive head on the other, The turkeys don’t know what it is.

They just can’t stand it; this is the decoy that will revolutionize turkey hunting. This item ships for free on our website or you can come by the store and get yours!  It has flexible EVA construction, a motion stake and carry bag plus a fabric fan.

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