Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Steve Hickoff is Realtree.com's editorial director and turkey hunting editor. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country.

  • Try Hunting Fall Turkeys This Season

    Haven’t tried this “second season” turkey hunting tradition? It's legal in 42 states around the country. Not yours? Road trip? Here's why you should . . . 1. Scouting Deer It will help you scout for deer firearms season, which often arrives later than fall turkey dates. 2. Improve Skills...

  • 7 Kinds of Wild Turkeys You Can Hunt This Fall

    If fall turkey hunting is open in your state (it is in 42 of them and some Canadian provinces as well), your chance at interacting with different kinds of autumn gobblers and hens is likely. In the end, as either-sex fall hunts go, you choose which one will wear a...

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Special Report: Wisconsin Spring Turkey Hunting Harvest Numbers Drop

This report on the recent Wisconsin spring turkey season comes directly to us from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In short, the turkey kill for the recent 2018 campaign is down 10 percent from spring 2017. Weather, particularly snow, played a factor early, while record high temperatures weighed in...


5 Fall Turkey Hunts for Your Busy Schedule

Time is at a premium for many turkey hunters. Still, you miss hearing birds waking up on the roost, then drawing closer and closer to your setup after fly-down time. You need to hunt. Try these five tactics for your busy schedule and tag a bird this fall. 1. Hunt...


5 Things You Need in a Good Hunting Camp

I've been fortunate to hunt wild turkeys around the United States and down in Mexico. Some camps are memorable for all the right reasons. Others, well, you'd best soon forget them. Fortunately the latter deal is rare. Check out these five things you need in a good hunting camp. A...


3 Reasons You Shouldn't Use a Decoy for Fall Turkey Hunting

The use of turkey hunting decoys in the fall is smart or stupid, depending. First, some reasons why you shouldn't use decoys when fall turkey hunting. 1. Either-Sex Turkey Hunts In many of the 42 states permitting fall turkey hunting, either-sex birds are legal to take.This means it's important to...


Turkey Hunting Harvest Numbers Falling Across Southeastern U.S.

Habitat loss. Lack of predator control. Disease. Declining hunter numbers. Poaching. These are some of the influences both wildlife managers and hunters mention when talking about the drop in turkey harvest numbers for some states, including the southeastern region of the United States. The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission recently...


4 Turkey Calling Tips for Fall Gobblers

Gobbler yelps are deeper and have a slower cadence than the higher-pitched hen yelps we often use in the spring. In my fall hunting experience, friction calls imitate gobbler yelps best, though resonant diaphragms also work. Try these tips this fall: Calling Tip No. 1 Often three deeper, slower yelps...


5 Tips to Keep Your Hunting Dog Happy

Between early September and late December, I'm on the road, most often in my pickup truck, hunting multiple states for fall turkey flocks. And ducks. And geese. And all those smaller upland birds. We get out plenty here at home as well. My English setter Luna, like my canine hunting...


Video: How to Set Up a Low-Poundage Bow

Fall turkey seasons often run right along with archery-only deer dates around the country. A low-poundage bow is a great option for the big birds as well as whitetails – so long as you first check legal archery-tackle regulations for both and maximize your bowhunting gear. Both youth and older...


Maryland Spring Turkey Kill Down from Last Year

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) recently reported hunters took 3,861 wild turkeys during the 2018 regular spring and junior hunt turkey seasons. This year’s total was 8 percent lower than the record 2017 harvest, but well above the 10-year average of 3,406. Why “Turkey populations continue to grow...


5 Things to Do Since Turkey Hunting Season Is Over

It's official. Turkey hunting season is over. Part of you feels a little sad it all ended, and part of you is probably relieved . You've been running for weeks, working hard to cover the monthly bills, trying to locate birds for the morning fly-down, roosting turkeys and surely getting...


Video: Hen Turkey Attacks Big Snake While a Gobbler Struts Nearby

Wild turkeys are notorious for finding strut zones on well-groomed golf courses. That said, this YouTube video posted by "techknowledge" might be a first. Watch as a turkey hen attacks a big gopher snake while a strutting gobbler does his thing nearby. And the snake fights back. And she gets...


Turkey Hunting: Did Hens Ruin Your Spring Season?

As a turkey hunter, is your glass half full or half empty? In Florida this season, right after fly-down, a boss hen clucked, yelped and laid on some forceful cutting back at our every call. More birds flew down and gathered around this loud-mouthed hen turkey — more hens and...


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