Archive for April, 2010

Why We Use Hazel Creek Real Turkey Decoys?

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Back in April 2008, we went to Colorado to hunt Merriam turkeys, when we met Cally Morris of Hazel Creek Taxidermy. Cally is a world champion taxidermist that also makes real turkey decoys. We used his decoys in Colorado and killed some great turkeys. When Cally got back to Missouri, he sent us a hen and jake set for us to try out. Boy have we used them. We have killed 14 birds using them – 9 Osceolas, 4 Easterns, and 1 Rio Grande.

Now, fast forward to this year. We just started filming our hunts, and I decided to compile all the clips of the decoys driving these turkeys wild. These turkeys hate these real decoys so much. You can see this in this video. These decoys are so effective that I feel like I am cheating sometimes. I highly recommended these decoys and I will always have them in my arsenal. You can find out more details about them at Cally’s Website:

So now, watch these great encounters.

Rio Grande Symphony

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Well, the first half of the turkey season was great; not so good for the second half. Our lease in Texas had record rain in two days which made the creeks flood and the roads impassable. We only got to hunt one day and we only had 3 jakes in gun range BUT we did film the early morning gobbling from the roost. The video is not that good, but you can hear the gobblers sounding off in a concert before flying down. I cut a few clips together so that if you have never witnessed Rios gobbling in the roost, you can hear it now. I think we are going back next year for a rematch, but this time we will schedule our dates around Mother Nature’s rain. We estimate about 20 gobblers in these roost trees with about 60 hens. Listen closely. Enjoy!

Finally a Turkey for ME

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

The title sounds like frustration on my part, but believe me, it is not. I have had a great year. I started filming hunts and then throw in the fact that I took 3 people who had never turkey hunted and helped 2 of them kill a bird. That alone is a great year! Plus, filming my son kill a big Osceola and my Dad getting a great Eastern makes me a very fortunate man. BUT it is great to get one too. In this video you will see me shoot a great 3 year old bird with a 9.5 inch beard and a little over 1 inch spurs. Now, I sat in this blind from 6:30 a.m. till I shot the turkey at 2:30 p.m. (8 hours). The reason why it was so long is that turkeys (including multiple gobblers) were coming to feed at this food plot during all times of the day and we had trail camera pictures of the biggest turkey I have ever seen , which we call Godzilla. He alone will make a hunter sit all day. Well, it was not Godzilla, but it was still a great hunt. Enjoy the video.

The Bronze Eastern Lady

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

This has been an amazing year for seeing some of Mother Nature’s oddities when it comes to wild turkeys. First, I got great video of a bearded Osceola hen in Florida. Then I got a dominant hen strutting in front of my Hazel Creek hen decoy in Mississippi. The next day, we got video of a reddish bronze colored hen. I have seen white and white with black speckles but I have never seen anything like this. She was so beautiful and unique. Watch the video to see for yourself.

Hens Can Play Rough Too

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Now my Hazel Creek Jake has taken a beaten this year as normal, but I have been surprised at how hens and gobblers are taking out their frustration on my Hazel Creek Hen decoy.

Yesterday, my Dad and I filmed a hen strutting in a dominant pose around my hen. She then slapped her with her wing and started to peck her a few times. Real cool video to watch.

3 Toxies and a Turkey

Friday, April 9th, 2010

My Son (Toxie IV), my Dad (Toxie Jr.), and I (Toxie III) went on our annual spring turkey hunt to the Whitehead farm in North Central Mississippi. Tad always has a fun time because he can act like a country boy. He fishes, drives golf carts, 4 wheelers, shoots guns, etc…

The first morning of our hunt, we decided to setup in a three way intersection on top of a hill. I had killed 2 turkeys there the previous year. Sure enough, at daybreak, a couple of turkeys started to gobble. They were a little farther than I would have liked but we decided to stay put in our setup. We started to call and eventually we got one to start coming. Now Tad was the shooter with my Dad backing him up and I was running the camera. The turkey started coming into the right down the road out of our sight. He gobbled once and then he would drum. I was the only one hearing him drumming, which told me he was getting closer.

We called to him one more time and he committed to coming in, as shown on the video. He came right up to our Hazel Creek decoys. My son got excited and rushed his shot shooting over the bird. My Dad followed up with two quick shots as the bird was running away and he rolled him with his second shot. Tad was mad but understood what he had done wrong.

I would have liked to have gotten a little more video of the turkey interacting with the decoys but this is one of those hunts we all will remember forever.

What’s in Your Turkey Vest?

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Note: This article was written for the May 2010 issue of HuntX3 ( – View the pretty magazine layout PDF version here.

I know “what’s in your turkey vest?” is a rhetorical question but it makes you think about your own turkey vest and what equipment you have in it. Since there is no way for me to know what you have in your vest, than I am going to talk about what’s in my vest and what equipment I use. I got the idea of writing this article when I started to pack my vest for the upcoming season. I am always adding things to my vest especially when I talk to other turkey hunters or watch them in action on TV. Maybe this article will help out new turkey hunters and might even offer suggestions to an old veteran hunter that he or she might not have thought of before.

Obviously you need to start with a turkey vest. Turkey vests have evolved from being simple thin layered vests having a couple of pockets to having zillions of different size pockets hidden all over the place with comfortable flip out seats. Some of the new vests come with instructions to explain where all the pockets are located and what equipment can go in them. This year I have even seen a new vest that comes with mesh materials on the back that you can pull over the top of you to make yourself into an instant portable blind. Wow! What evolution the hunting industry has come up with!

Now that we talked about the importance of a vest you are asking yourself, “what do you put in it first?” It is not what you think; no calls or shotgun shells but instead my Thermacell with all of its refills and a can of bug spray. My theory is to be successful in the woods, you need to be comfortable and any type of bug buzzing around your head is not going to allow you to be comfortable. Any experienced turkey hunter has forgotten their bug repellant at least once and know what I am talking about. Along these same lines, I carry a portable rain suite. No one likes wearing wet clothes and a good rain suite can make your life more comfortable in the wet woods.

Next I gather all my calls and put them in my vest. I use primary box calls and I like to carry many of them because of their different sizes and makes. They provide me with different tones and pitches. I have had times when I had a gobbler stalled out at 60 yards not wanting to come in and just by switching to a different call pushed him over the top and he came on in for the shot. I also carry box calls that do not use chalk and are waterproof for those rainy hunts. Another good rainy day call that I carry is a slate call and sometimes I use it to simulate fighting hen purrs. My last calls consist of shock calls such as my gobbler, crow, coyote, and owl calls.

I also believe in a good pair of binoculars. I pack these in my vest so I will have them there when I need them. I also like to carry a laser range finder. If time permits, I will range my decoys and various surroundings to get an idea of how far I can shoot. Knowing this range can be the difference in harvesting a bird successfully versus shooting too early when you “thought” he was in range. In my experience judging distances in large open fields can be misleading and a range finder can alleviate this common error.

Another must carry for me is my portable GPS. I hunt some big tracks of land and sometimes when I am chasing a gobbler, I can get turned around and can lose my bearing. By having a GPS unit in my vest, I have the confidence to worry about the gobbler instead of constantly worrying about my location.

With the evolution of the turkey vest, bigger pockets in the back have allowed me to carry soft turkey decoys without adding much additional weight. I personally like to use the real mounted turkey decoys but in my experience you do not always have them on you due to their bulkiness and weight. But I do have a couple of soft decoys stuffed in the back that I can quickly deploy if the opportunity presents itself; especially during those “running and gunning” hunts.

Now I am going to talk about the items I call the accessories. My number one accessory is a half roll of toilet paper. You never know when Mother Nature strikes you and any good woodsman is always prepared. Another must carry is a couple sets of gloves and a head mask. Turkeys have unbelievable eye sight and everything you can do to combat that is a must. I also normally pack 10 shotgun shells in my vest which I feel is more than enough plus extras for those unexpected situations. I like to carry a couple of flashlights. I carry a LED flashlight for early mornings because it has a tendency not to be as bright and I carry a more powerful flashlight for coming out of the woods at night. I also like to carry a monopod gun rest in the back of my vest. You never know how long you might have to hold your gun while the gobbler moves into position and this can help you with those long periods of time to steady your shotgun. My final accessory and one that I added last year is a set of brush trimmers. These are handy for making ground blinds and can be used quickly to trim shooting lanes when that gobbler has responded to your call and is on his way. The trimmers also store very easily in my vest.

There are other things I carry that deserve to be mentioned but these are the little things that support all the other equipment. These are: box call chalk, a turkey tote for carrying out a bird, extra batteries for my red dot sight and flashlights, a sewing tape measure for scoring your harvested turkey, bottle of water, goggles for keeping dirt and debris out of your eyes in those windy hunts such as in Texas, a hand towel for sweat and other things that might need wiping, and often some type of snacks for those all day hunts.

So, in conclusion, everything you put in your vest has a purpose with a goal of helping you be successful in harvesting that big Ole’ Tom. Now that you have read about what is in my vest, go over to the forums at HuntX3 ( and discuss with me and other fellow thunder chicken hunters what you have in your vest. I look forward to learning new possible items that I can add to my vest. Good luck this season fellow turkey hunters!