• HUNTING NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA OFFERS TURKEY HUNTERS SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HUNTING AREAS IN THE COUNTRY. MOST OF WHICH IS OPEN
    TO PUBLIC HUNTING, FROM THE ROLLING OAK AND GRAY PINE FOOTHILLS, TO THE RUGGED PONDEROSA PINE COVERED MOUNTAINS,
    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HAS IT. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA IS ALSO HOME TO HEALTHY POPULATIONS OF THE THREE OUT THE FOUR NORTH
    AMERICAN WILD TURKEY SUBSPECIES (RIO GRANDE, EASTERN, MERRIAMS). WHERE ELSE CAN YOU HUNT ONE STATE AND ALMOST COMPLETE A
    GRAND SLAM!

    THERE IS SO MUCH TRASH LITTERING OUR PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS IT MAKES ME SICK. HELP KEEP OUR LANDS LOOKING WILD AND PACK OUT
    WHAT YOU PACK IN. IF YOU SEE GARBAGE ON THE TRAILS PICK IT UP. REMEMBER THE EASIEST WAY FOR A GOVERNMENT AGENCY TO SOLVE
    PROBLEMS ARISING ON THE LAND THEY MANAGE IS TO CLOSE THE AREA.   

                      
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  • CALLING PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE... DON'T WAIT TILL THE WEEK BEFORE THE SEASON TO START PRACTICING YOUR CALLING!!!        

    THERE ARE A VARIETY OF CALLS ON THE MARKET THEY ALL SERVE A PURPOSE FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF HUNTING SITUATIONS. THE FIRST
    STEP TO CALLING TURKEYS IS FINDING A CALL OR CALLS THAT WILL WORK FOR YOUR HUNTING SITUATION. NEXT STEP IS TO PRACTICE AND
    LEARN YOUR CALLS LIMITATIONS. MY CALL OF CHOICE IS THE BOX CALL. I HAVE USED THE SAME CALL FOR 15 YEARS AND KILLED MANY NICE
    GOBBLERS USING IT. THE BOX CALL IS EASY TO USE AND CAN ADAPT TO ANY HUNT. THE ONLY LIMITATION TO THE BOX CALL IS MOISTURE. I
    HAVE FOUND THE LESS CHALK ON THE CALL ON WET DAYS THE BETTER IT WILL WORK. THERE IS A REASON THE BOX CALL HAS BEEN AROUND
    FOR A CENTURY OR SO BECAUSE IT WORKS WELL. SLATE CALLS WORK EQUALLY AS WELL AS THE BOX CALL BUT SLATE CALLS REQUIRE A
    LITTLE MORE FINESSE AND PRACTICE TO MAKE SOME OF THE MORE DIFFICULT TURKEY SOUNDS. DIAPHRAGM CALLS ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT
    TO MASTER AND THEY DO SOUND GOOD. ANOTHER PLUS TO THE DIAPHRAGM CALL IS THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY EXTREMITY MOVEMENTS
    TO SCARE OFF THAT EVERY SO WARY TOM. WHAT EVER CALL YOU CHOSE IS COMPLETELY UP TO YOU BUT REMEMBER PRACTICE MAKES
    PERFECT. CALLING TURKEYS IS NOT BRAIN SURGERY. THEY WILL EITHER RESPOND TO YOUR CALLS OR THEY WONT. THIS IS WHERE HUNTING
    EXPERIENCE COMES INTO PLAY ON PROPER SET UP AND STALKING TECHNIQUES.  

    FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT NEED A HOBBY IN THE OFF SEASON TRY MAKING YOUR OWN CALL. I HAVE MADE SEVERAL SLATE AND BOX TURKEY
    CALLERS. IT IS FUN AND THEY MAKE GREAT GIFTS FOR YOUR HUNTING BUDDIES. I HAVE LISTED SOME CALL MAKING SUPPLY COMPANIES ON
    THE LINK PAGE. SOME OF THE BOX CALLS I HAVE MADE ARE PICTURED BELOW.   
  • SCOUT YOUR AREA

    FIRST, FIND AN AREA WHERE TURKEYS ARE KNOWN TO INHABIT. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK THE LOCALS IF THEY'VE SEEN TURKEYS IN THE AREA.
    SECOND, GO INTO THE AREA AND LOOK FOR SIGN, FOOD AND WATER. THE TURKEY SIGN YOU FIND WILL TELL YOU IF THERE ARE A LOT OF
    BIRDS IN USING THE AREA AND WHERE THEY SPEND MOST OF THEIR TIME. THE EASIEST WAY TO FIND THE ROOST TREE IS TO SCOUT THE AREA
    AT DUSK AND LISTEN FOR BIRDS. TRY NOT TO DISTURB THE BIRDS WHILE THEY ARE ROOSTING, BECAUSE THEY WILL MOVE TO ANOTHER
    ROOST AREA IF DISTURBED. HUNTING BIRDS OFF THE ROOST IS THE BEST WAY TO BAG A BIG TOM EARLY IN THE SEASON.

    I HAVE FOUND MOST TURKEYS WILL STAY IN THE SAME AREA AND CONDUCT THE SAME DAILY ROUTINE UNTIL DISTURBED. IT IS A PLUS TO FIND
    THEIR ROOST TREE, BUT IS NOT NECESSARY. SINCE I HUNT PUBLIC LAND I HAVE FOUND MOST THE SMALLER AREAS DON'T PROVIDE THE
    ROOST TREES THE TURKEYS PREFER AND MOST BIRDS WILL ROOST ON THE ADJACENT PRIVATE LAND. HOWEVER, BIRDS WILL EITHER FLY
    OVER OR STRAY ONTO PUBLIC GROUND DURING THE DAY. THIS IS WHERE YOUR PRESEASON SCOUTING WILL PAY OFF.

    LATER IN THE SEASON BIRDS WILL AVOID THE SMALLER PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS ALTOGETHER. THIS IS WHEN YOUR CALLING SKILLS COME INTO
    PLAY. A GOOD TURKEY CALLER IN AN EQUALLY GOOD POSITION CAN GET A GOBBLER TO LEAVE THE SAFETY OF THE PRIVATE LAND TO
    INVESTIGATE THE SWEET NOTES YOU SEND HIM FROM THE ADJACENT PUBLIC AREA.

    SCOUTING THE LARGER MORE REMOTE PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS WILL PREVENT BLISTERS ON YOUR FEET AND AN UNSUCCESSFUL HUNT DURING
    THE SEASON.

    I HAVE SPENT YEARS FINDING AND SCOUTING MY SECRET HUNTING SPOTS. MOST OF THEM ARE HUNTED BY THE MOST DIE HARD TURKEY
    HUNTERS WHO AREN'T AFRAID OF A LITTLE HIKE TO BAG THEIR BIRD. I'M NOT WILLING TO GIVE UP MY TURKEY HOT SPOTS, BUT I HAVE
    PROVIDED A LINK BELOW TO AID HUNTERS WITH FINDING THEIR POTENTIAL HOT SPOTS.                      

                                                                                                                                 
CALHUNT
CALIFORNIA DFG LANDS
CALIFORNIA BLM
NATIONAL FOREST
  • HUNTER ETIQUETTE

    NOTHING TICKS ME OFF MORE TO BE SET UP IN THE WOODS CALLING THAT BIG OL' TOM AND ANOTHER HUNTER WALKS TROUGH MY SET UP. I
    KNOW MOST OF THE TIME IT IS UNAVOIDABLE BECAUSE WERE AFTER THE SAME THING, BUT IF I SAY SOMETHING PLEASE DON'T DO THE
    FOLLOWING:
    1) IGNORE ME AND SET UP 50 YARDS AWAY
    2) GIVE ME DIRTY LOOKS, YELL AT ME OR GIVE ME ATTITUDE CAUSE I BEAT YOU TO THE SPOT.
    3) START STALKING THE BIRD I'M CALLING, MOVE ON AND FIND YOUR OWN BIRD.

    THE SEASON IS PLENTY LONG AND THERES NOT A SHORTAGE OF BIRDS. BE KIND TO YOUR FELLOW HUNTER IT MAKES THE HUNT ALL THE
    BETTER IN THE END.
  • KNOW YOUR GUN OR BOW

    MAKE SURE YOU USE THE APPROPRIATE SIZE GUN AND SHOT. I PREFER A 3" MAGNUM SHELL LOADED WITH #5 SHOT. PATTERN YOUR GUN WITH
    A FULL OR EXTRA FULL TURKEY CHOKE. UNLESS YOU MODIFY YOUR SHOTGUN, YOU TYPICALLY WILL ONLY NEED TO DO THIS ONCE.

    I AM NOT AN EXPERT ON BOWS AND ARROWS, BUT JUST LIKE CALLING YOU NEED TO PRACTICE YOUR SHOTS BEFORE THE SEASON. THERES
    NOTHING WORST THEN TO SEE A NICE GOBBLER GIMPING AROUND THE WOODS WITH AND ARROW STICKING THROUGH HIS BODY. I HAVE SEEN
    A VIDEO WITH THE GOBBLER GUILLOTINE BROADHEAD AND IT LOOKS PRETTY EFFECTIVE.

    GUILLOTINE VIDEO
GRAY PINE, GREAT ROOST TREE
BLACK OAK
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST
OAK WOODLANDS
GREAT PUBLIC HUNTING AREA
PONDEROSA FOREST
  • TAXIDERMY

    You got a trophy. Now what to do? Mount the tail, the whole bird, keep the beard in a box, take lots of photo's. This is entirely up to the hunter. Getting a  
    bird mounted is super expensive from $400 (flying or standing) to $800 (full strut). My wife is not a big fan of having these huge birds adorn the walls of our
    home. So, I usually cut the fan off hang it in the garage and put the beard and spurs in a nice box I made. However, I have mounted a bird myself and I can
    see why the taxidermists charge the prices they do. It was a royal pain. It was a monster Tom my brother shot back in 1995. I mounted it for him and gave it
    as a Christmas present. I think the mount turned out well. If you are thinking of mounting a bird yourself. Start off by practicing on a bird much smaller like a
    pheasant. This will give you an idea on what you will be doing with a turkey. Then get a good instruction video or book. Finally set aside plenty of time and
    just do it. I have included some pictures of the Tom I mounted below.







                                          
                                                 
Inspection
                                                                                                   The thaw and prep
                                                                                                                                                       
   
The kill                                                                                                                                               Forming                        Finished Product
For those of you who would like to practice your taxidermy skills try mounting a Jake or hen for a realistic looking decoy. Joe Slaton has done this and has
had some awesome results. See the pictures below Joe sent in.
CA PUBLIC HUNT DRAW