New Tactic Device is Deadly Tool
Wanna’ fight? Turkeys do. After decades of learning the nuances of yelps, purrs, and clucks I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to outsmart an old gobbler is to challenge it with a rival.
Ken Byers and I were cruising a large ranch when we spotted two gobblers a quarter mile away casually feeding in a large plowed field. Given the distance to the birds, we may have been able to get their attention with loud yelping and since they had no hens, possibly coax them closer.
Instead, Ken and I sneaked to the edge of the field and raised a turkey tail fan from a bird taken earlier in the hunt. The toms may not have been able to hear hen calls at great distance, yet nothing passes their keen eyesight unseen. Immediately, their heads went up like periscopes and they stared intently at this possible intruder.
Ken and I had used this tactic before and learned that it usually works best if one person operates the turkey fan while the other shoots with a bow or shotgun. Ken peaked from behind the spread turkey tail feathers and quickly whispered, “Here they come.”
I laid down at the edge of the field with the Mossberg beside me, while my buddy turned the fan as a real gobbler would do. The birds came into my view at about 200 yards and it seemed like a feathered horse race with each gobbler intent on kicking intruder butt. At 20 yards, the turkeys finally became suspicious and threw on the brakes giving me the perfect shooting opportunity. Boom! One gobbler began to flop and the other seemed startled by the explosion and walked away slowly.
“Hand me the gun,” whispered Byers and before the second tom could break 30 yards, it was down as well. Wow! Wow! Wow! What excitement. Any inkling of frustration from previous hunts instantly evaporated and we tagged our birds and laughed and giggled like school girls all the way back to camp.
Betting on Aggression
Will Downard is no stranger to this gobbler Achilles heel and has devised a turkey “fan” that invites a turkey to compete for breeding territory. It doubles as an effective blind too, plus it’s very easy to carry and deploys in seconds.
“We’ve had such success with this product that we are looking at other animals to decoy,” he said in a brief interview before heading out with this camera operator. He didn’t elaborate, yet his wry smile indicated that there may be more to TurkeyFan.com than just turkeys.
Downard’s invention carries and deploys like an umbrella with the lower half eliminated so that it forms a semi-circle. To set it up takes only seconds and the device is large enough to easily disguise a shotgun hunter, bowhunter, or camera operator. Typically, Downard hunts with his camera man who uses a turkey fan to disguise his presence as well.
The face of the fan/blind has the image of a strutting tom turkey to incite the kind of aggression that gobblers instinctively have. The image is larger than life and I asked Downard about that.
“With turkeys, size doesn’t seem to matter,” he said. Even though the image is larger than life-size, gobblers aren’t intimidated, especially if there is more than one.”
That same evening, Downard was back in camp with a dandy longbeard and incredible video of the hunt. Just as he described, the camera operator used a blind to disguise his presence while the shooter, concealed behind the “fan” moved closer to the gobbler. After watching a big tom come right to the TurkeyFan, the hunter peeked over and shot the bird at five steps. To see this unique tactic in action go to www.turkeyfan.com and you will be amazed.