A Strong Game is the Winning Play for Spring Turkey

Lou Marullo loves turkey hunting. TFG’s Hunting Editor spends much time in the woods pursuing turkeys by bow during spring and never ceases to be amazed at their behavior.

“The defenses of the turkey are mainly his eyes and ears,” Marullo said. “I firmly believe that if these creatures had a strong sense of smell, we would never get a chance to bag one.

“I love the fact you have to get down on the ground, conceal yourself and lure them in. That’s a challenge, and hunters can use a combination of old school knowledge and modern technology to get the job done.”

Let’s start with a bit of old school knowledge first.

Hunters must be concealed to properly bag a bird and Marullo says camouflage is necessary. 

“Camouflage yourself from head to feet and make sure to wear a mask. Turkeys have incredible vision and will pick out anything we miss.”

TFG Editor-In-Chief Chester Moore prefers hunting in black—like a ninja.

“If you have a ground blind, especially those with a black interior, wearing a light, long-sleeve black shirt, black gloves and a black hood or black t-shirt wrapped around your head, you have a perfect setup for killing turkeys.”

Ground blinds are extremely effective in setting up a turkey ground attack according to Marullo.

“About 12 years ago, I hunted out west with a friend of mine, Nathan Jones. At the time he had a television show called Wild Extremes, and he invited me out for a bow turkey hunt. I was excited to hear his tales about previous hunts and how his place was infested with birds,” Marullo said.

“Morning came and I had no trouble at all jumping out of the sack and headed for the “hot” spot with Nathan. When we arrived, he led me to a field that bordered two woodlots. The blind was already in place but when I saw it I was a little confused. There we were in a blind in the middle of a field. We were not in a hedgerow or hidden along a ditch.

To be honest, I thought the turkeys would spot this thing and never come in. Was I ever wrong. We had so many young birds in front of us that I couldn’t count them all.”

This is all to counteract the turkey’s incredible vision. Just how incredible are we talking? According to Scientific American, wild turkeys have “the most complex retina of any vertebrate.”

“The retinas of turkeys have seven different types of photoreceptors including one rod and six different types of cones, two of which are actually ‘double cones.’ Human retinas have only four different types of photoreceptors consisting of one rod and three single cones. One of Tom’s single cone photoreceptors has a spectral sensitivity to wavelengths near 400 nm which is in the UVA light range.”

This allows turkeys to see into the UV spectrum and many modern laundry detergents contain chemicals that essentially make us glow to a turkey. So before you hit the field head to toe in camo or go ninja-style make sure to utilize one of the detergents that counteract the UV issue.

The turkey’s vision, in particular their ability to see into this spectrum can be a disadvantage for them if you use the latest in hunting technology.

The MAD Smoky Baby turkey decoy is a smoke white/gray color, which at first might seem strange. The fact is that some turkeys are this color (a recessive genetic anomaly), and this color will draw in wild turkeys.

Ranchers with domestic turkey stock are familiar with wild birds coming in to breed their white hens. This color can also be picked out at greater distances, helping to lure in those birds that are on the outer edge.

On top of that, the decoy has a realistic shape and pattern and is coated with Uvision paint to give it a natural UV signature. Birds can learn a threat response if decoys do not have a proper signature. Uvision replicates the reflection of live turkey plumage so incoming birds can no longer tell the difference between the Smoky Baby or the real thing.

Patented UVision technology replicates the UV reflection of live waterfowl plumage. Incoming birds can no longer tell the difference between the colors on a Flambeau decoy and a live bird.

Marullo loves the modern technology and will be using the Smoky Baby this spring, but he said he still likes to use vintage strategies, particularly when it comes to tickling a gobbler’s ear.

“There is no substitute for good calling and good quality calls but there are things you can do to bring in birds that are not in the books, so to speak,” he said.

‘I once went hunting with an older gentleman. When we settled in and sunrise started to peek over the horizon, we could hear some birds starting to wake up. The soft tree calls, although a little distant, were close enough to get our adrenaline going.”

“The guy I was with mimicked each call he heard. He checked to make sure he could easily see his sights and then took his hat off. I listened as he made a few more soft yelps and then, suddenly, he frantically beat his hat against his pant leg as he cackled with his mouth call.”

“My first reaction was to get as far away from this lunatic as I could, but I soon realized it was all part of his charade. It sounded exactly like a bird’s wings as it flew down. Once he slowed the cackle down, he finished his calling with a couple of soft yelps as if to tell the toms “Here I am, and everything is fine.”

“I thought to myself that this man is a genius! However, he was not done with his trickery yet. After the “come hither” yelps, he took his hand and scratched away at the leaves on the ground to sound like a hen turkey looking for her breakfast.”

Shortly thereafter they bagged a big gobbler.

To take spring turkey consistently you must go to the ground and use the best of the tried and true and the technological.

Mad Smoky Baby

The MAD Smoky Baby depicts the common Wild Turkey color variation, the smoky gray phase. Its visibility and realistic paint scheme with our UVision paint is unmatched. The Smoky Baby is collapsible yet retains its shape and includes a universal decoy stake.

Painted with patented UVision technology Collapsible yet retains shape Lightweight construction for creating motion even in light wind Universal stake included.

For more information go online to www.flambeauoutdoors.com.


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