Jeff Simmons Hunts With Realtree

 

The guys were all down in Georgia a few weeks ago and the birds were definitely fired up!  Jeff Simmons’ hunts with good buddy Phillip and takes a long spurred bird, while hours later Tyler Jordan is able to decoy in his first bird of the season. As the trip comes to an end , Phillip and his father, Roger, head out for a hunt they soon won’t forget as Roger takes a tom that puts on a heck of a show!

Turkey as table fare

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When you and your turkey hunting buddies have a successful day in the field, it’s just the first step in having a great meal to enjoy your harvest even further.

When you catch a mess of fish or kill a deer, it’s pretty easy to figure out how to properly take care of all that meat — you cook it and put it on the table.

But what about wild turkeys? Do hunters eat them, too?

You bet. About the only meat that you can eat off a wild turkey is the breast. They have big breasts that are white meat and really taste good. You can get some meat off the thigh and legs, but you have to remember what a turkey does almost all day long, ever day. They run. And they run some more. They run after each other and they run from their own shadow! So that meat can be a bit tough.

But back to the good part. Here’s what Jeff says to do: “I like to cut the breast meat up into small pieces like big nuggets. Season them up with some Cajun seasoning like Tony’s and batter them. I like to double batter mine. Batter them, let them sit a minute and then run them through the batter again. Then fry them up and they are moist and tasty. I make a simple batter out of milk and flour. You don’t even have to marinate them because there is no real gamey taste like some wild game or game birds.”

If you kill a wild turkey, or a friend offers you a wild turkey breast, give it a try.

 

Texas turkeys

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 2.42.31 PMWe had a really good time hunting turkeys out in Texas last week. It wasn’t perfect, but we had a great time. We had some good hunts, but some were pretty tough. The turkeys are still pretty henned up out there, just like everywhere else. So they were tough at times. The limit is four per hunter and we brought home a good bunch. Lindsey and Hunter each killed three and a friend of Hunter’s killed three. I took two turkeys, but spent most of my time guiding.

We did have something happen that I’ve never seen before. Lindsey and I were hunting and two gobblers came from way off, so far that we could barely hear them. They finally came across a 500-yard opening, stopping every once in a while to gobble. Then they’d take off running right toward us again. The got to within 20 steps and stopped. She shot the biggest one on the left and the other one just spun around trying to figure out what was going on. Then she shot him, too.  We were giving each other high fives and enjoying the moment when a fox slipped out of the bushes and grabbed one of the turkeys that was still flopping around. I couldn’t believe it. I started telling her to shoot the fox because he was going to get her turkey. She shot and scared him off and we retrieved the birds. That was one brave or hungry fox. I’ve never seen or heard of a predator doing that, especially right after two shotgun blasts!

The weather was really cold out there. It was 36 degrees one morning and 36 degrees with a 20 MPH wind another one. It’s got the turkeys behind. I’m hearing the same thing from everywhere else around the south. It’s going to get better later.

Have fun out there and be safe.

 

5 Tips for Sharing a Turkey Hunting Blind

BY teve Hickoff Author of Turkey Blog With Steve Hickoff 

How to Make a “Long Sit” More Enjoyable

Even the most hardcore run-and-gun wild turkey hunter might spend some quality time in a pop-up blind. Weather factors often make it necessary. Wind. Rain. Sleet. Snow. Sub-freezing spring temperatures.

One season in Nebraska it was so cold – 17 degrees if I remember, with a gusty wind – the  gobbler I eventually killed (from a blind, after calling in three to a decoy) had ice-encrusted wings. Now that’s cold.

As my buddy Van Holmes joked: “When you hear the safety click off in your ear hole you know something’s about to happen.” He couldn’t see the birds from his side. Honest. I offered the shot to him, sliding my gun barrel out the open window vent. No hesitation.

Our bird in the end and a great memory. Five tips for sharing a turkey hunting blind follow

Let somebody else take the shot. (John Hafner photo)

Offer the Shot

If you’ve got a first-time turkey hunter with you, offer them the first shot. Chances are you’ve killed plenty of birds; and you’ll tag plenty more. Relax. Pass it on. Enjoy the moment.

Carry Your Weight

Always help haul your share of the gear in and out. There’s nothing worse than that casual dude who watches you lug the portable blind, decoys and fold-up chairs. Don’t be that guy.

Stake Out Territory

Stake out territory in the blind – my side; your side. You laugh. It matters. Think about your shooting lane and your hunting buddy’s. Are you both right-handed? Is one left-handed?

Dress the Part

Don’t wear all of your apparel as you walk in. Carry some in a backpack, then slip on a jacket once you settle in the blind. Sweaty base layers can chill you fast.

Small Talk, Not Big

Keep the conversation light and fun. Don’t rant, vent. Politics, job worries, family concerns and such likely don’t have a place here. Sure these things matter, but remember, you’re also spending some blind time trying to get away from life’s challenges. Enjoy it.

It’s a toad!

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 10.23.32 PMWhat a great turkey hunting trip last week in Georgia with the Realtree camo gang. The highlight for me was a 22 pound gobbler with a 12 1/2 inch beard  and  1 3/4 inch spurs. What a toad! There is a video of the hunt on our Simmons’ Sporting Goods Facebook Page! Check it out. We’ll also add it to this page soon. That’s what turkey hunting is all about. No matter how many times I’ve been, something like this still gets me excited. How about you? The Louisiana season is starting up this weekend. Get your gear ready and go toad hunting!

Here’s how our first hunt went: I was hunting with Realtree over near Columbus, Ga., with cameraman Phillip Culpepper. We had a bigScreen Shot 2018-04-03 at 10.58.06 AM one out in the field strutting, gobbling and coming right towards us. He got to about 70 yards away and then just stopped, raised his head and walked off. I wondered what the heck was going on when I looked up and saw six more long beards coming across the field. Two of them saw him and rolled right in to us. I killed the biggest one. It was the first turkey they’ve taken over there this year. Two other hunters did take one later that morning.

That afternoon, the wind kicked up and we didn’t see anything. The next morning I got to hunt with three-time world champion Eddie Salter, but the weather was changing and there just wasn’t anything going on. It was still fun. I came  home that afternoon, but I’m looking forward to getting out to Texas with the kids and doing some hunting later this week.

Back home, the season starts in Louisiana Saturday. The water has a lot of folks messed up, but if you aren’t flooded out, it should be good. The season is starting a bit later than usual and folks that are out scouting are hearing some birds. This season things are going to be 2-3 days behind normal because of all the cold weather. The water will have them concentrated, which may make them harder to find at first, but when you do, it should be a good thing.

Be safe out there!

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LDWF Turkey Insights

Thanks to Cody Cedotal, Resident Small Game/ Wild Turkey Program Manager for the
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for providing us with these exclusive insights into turkey season.

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Question: It has been an exceptionally cold winter and the cold still lingered into the first week of spring. What effect will that have on turkeys?

As most are aware of by now, we have delayed the start of the LA Turkey Season by 2 weeks in an attempt to stabilize our harvest and increase our population. We are hopeful that this delay will allow more time for uninterrupted breeding and ultimately improve reproduction when coupled with favorable weather conditions during nesting and brood rearing periods. Due in part to the season change, the impacts of a cold winter on turkey breeding activity should be minimized as temperatures seem to be back on the rise as we start spring. The increase in day length should have signaled some hens to start the nesting process, although based on nesting data from research in LA, nest initiation will not peak until the second week of April (see chart below) No doubt gobbling has commenced, but based on my personal observations and reports I have received up until now, gobbling activity has been very inconsistent with birds gobbling a few times some mornings and not at all on others.

Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 10.13.35 PMQuestion: Any charts or numbers on turkey harvests statewide from 2017?

Here are the reported harvest numbers by parish for turkeys from last season:

Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 10.05.01 PMQuestion: High water is always an issue in the spring, but some areas are already getting hit hard. How do you see that affecting the nesting and the turkey hunting season this year?

High water during Spring and early Summer is always concerning. This is a critical time as hens are nesting and raising broods. Although river levels are falling at the moment, another “Spring” flood is being forecast for the future. Depending on timing, this could be detrimental to wild turkey reproduction in some of our bottomland areas and even force season closures on some WMAs. We are currently monitoring this very closely.

Question: Any general information you’d like to share?

I’d just like remind everyone to be safe in the turkey woods and wish everyone good luck this season!

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Talking turkey

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 9.49.31 PMDo you know the history of turkey hunting in Louisiana?

Here are some interesting facts for next time you are talking turkey with fellow hunters.  During the years following World War II, Louisiana’s eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) population was at its lowest point. In 1946 it was reported that only 14 isolated flocks totaling less than 1,500 wild turkeys remained throughout the state.  Tireless efforts by LDWF biologists and other staff to restock wild trapped turkeys  resulted in a rebound in Louisiana’s wild turkey population. During this effort, others such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, private landowners, and others lended vital support. Today, wild turkeys are distributed across Louisiana and most suitable habitat is occupied.

The eastern wild turkey is the largest game bird native to Louisiana. Gobblers average about 17 pounds with some birds weighing up to 25 pounds. Hens average between 8 and 11 pounds. Gobblers have a bronzy, iridescent body plumage with black-tipped breast feathers, and hens have light-brown breast feather tips.  Gobblers typically have a tuft of modified feathers called a “beard” protruding from the breast, along with an upwardly curving spur on the lower legs. Hens lack the beard and spurs.

Got your gear ready? The season is just around the corner. Stay tuned for regular updates in the Simmons’ Turkey Report!

Countdown to 2018 turkey season!

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With the crazy weather and high water we are having, it’s been hard to think much about the upcoming 2018 spring turkey season. But that’s about to change.

The season opens on Saturday, April 7 in area A, which includes most of the area around us. If you haven’t already gotten your turkey gear out and checked it, cleaned your gun and fired a few shells to pattern your gun, now’s the time. And don’t forget to practice those calls now, not on opening morning!

And stick with Simmons’ Sporting Goods Turkey Report right here through the season. We’ll be bringing you news, information and reports from the field. Stay tuned.

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Day 60: We’re done. Mixed bag this season

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 6.12.30 PMSunday was a pretty day, but a mixed bag. Not as many ducks as earlier. I thought it was going to be a fantastic last week, but the wads of ducks we had early in the week just left. The storms from yesterday settled down and gave duck hunters one last good shot for the year. There were a mix of mallards, pintails and gadwalls across the whole area. An good number of teal were still hanging around as well. They were seriously decoy shy and it was a tough end to the season overall.

I hope you had a good, safe hunt. The sun has set on another duck season. The 2017-18 season is in the books. It wasn’t the best one ever, but it was good at times.  Things started off pretty mediocre and there were bad days. But there were good days, too. I guess it can’t be good all the time.

Weather was a major factor. We had everything from a drought to begin the season to an ice storm in the last days of  East Zone hunting this year. And there were some good numbers of ducks  later in the season. A mixed bag overall. Put another one in the books and thank the good Lord for the blessings to be able to enjoy the wonders of the outdoors. And it doesn’t get a lot better than right around here.

Even though we can’t hunt anymore, come by the store and share your stories. We’d love to hear from you and see you. Make sure you clean up your gear and take care of your guns. You don’t want to put that off.  And always remember Simmons’ Sporting Goods for all your hunting and outdoor needs.  Stay safe.

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See you next year!