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Get Away from the Feeder If You Want to Be a True Turkey Hunter

You can hunt wild Eastern turkeys in season in Texas.

If you hunt within 50 yards of a corn or protein feeder, you are not a turkey hunter.

Robert Linder is an outdoors enthusiast and expert turkey caller.

You are a turkey shooter. Let’s be clear: There is a difference. In Texas, we spend so much time around our deer feeders that it keeps us from becoming turkey hunters in most cases. We are used to turkeys coming into the feeders during the fall and winter hunting seasons where we can, and do, shoot them with rifles.

True turkey hunting is on a totally different level.

To be a turkey hunter, you must learn how to call turkeys with a box call, a slate, or a mouth diaphragm call. Most Texas deer hunters are hesitant to learn this key part of being a turkey hunter. I aways say, “Go into the woods, sit down, and DO NOT make a hen turkey call and see how long before a gobbler walks by for you to shoot.”

It could take days, or never.

If you sit by your deer feeder, the feeder is your caller and you are not truly hunting turkey. You have taken away the “sport” in turkey hunting.

You are merely “pot shooting” a gobbler. No glory or sport in that.

In the spring, you need to use a shotgun, not a rifle, to be a turkey hunter. Call that gobbler in close. But it’s not enough to go out and buy a turkey call — box, slate or diaphragm — you have to know how to use it. Many deer hunters can’t call turkeys because they haven’t had any instruction in it or worked with a veteran turkey hunter.

Sometimes, it’s hard for men, especially, to admit when they don’t have a particular knowledge. And they don’t always look for help in obtaining that knowledge or skills.

Get over it.

I recommend starting with a box or slate call when beginning. One of the best ways to get started is by attending a turkey calling seminar or event. Where can you find a turkey hunting seminar?

Well, you’re in luck because I’m holding one from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at Rods, Barrels & Strings, 1300 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls. The event is free, so it’s time to get away from that corn feeder and put the “sport” back into turkey hunting.

I’ll cover the basics of the box and slate calls as well as some calls that will get you started. I’ll also go over basic turkey hunting skills such as getting all “camoed” up from your face to the tips of your fingers. Turkey hunting requires complete camouflage.

Plus, you have to be very still. If a gobbler sees any movement, he will be gone and that hunt will be over. We’ll talk about these and other topics like why you can’t “outdraw” a gobbler, using or not using a decoy, and other facets that go into successful turkey hunting.

If you can’t make the Marble Falls seminar, you can take advantage of today’s technology. Ggo to YouTube and learn a great deal from competent turkey callers and about turkey hunting in general. It’s worth checking out.

If you take advantage of the free turkey hunting seminar on March 13, you can definitely be ready for a gobbler when the season opens up March 16. I hope to see you at the seminar. Should I see you in the woods later, I know I will be looking at a much better turkey hunter.

In Texas, the spring turkey season is broken up into two main sections: North Zone and South Zone for Rio Grande turkeys. The South Zone season runs March 16-April 28, while the North Zone runs March 30-May 12.

Burnet and Llano counties are in the North Zone for the spring turkey season, while Blanco County is in the South Zone. There’s a Special 1 Gobbler Zone that encompasses nine counties southeast of Austin and stretches to the coast. Then, there’s an Easter Turkey Zone, which includes about 15 counties in East and Northeast Texas.

Check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website for more information and spring turkey season regulations.

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