Even the most hardcore run-and-gun wild turkey hunter might spend some quality time in a pop-up blind. Weather factors often make it necessary. Wind. Rain. Sleet. Snow. Sub-freezing spring temperatures.
One season in Nebraska it was so cold – 17 degrees if I remember, with a gusty wind – the gobbler I eventually killed (from a blind, after calling in three to a decoy) had ice-encrusted wings. Now that's cold.
As my buddy Van Holmes joked: "When you hear the safety click off in your ear hole you know something's about to happen." He couldn't see the birds from his side. Honest. I offered the shot to him, sliding my gun barrel out the open window vent. No hesitation.
Our bird in the end and a great memory. Five ways for sharing a turkey hunting blind follow.
1. Offer the Shot
If you've got a first-time turkey hunter with you, offer them the first shot. Chances are you've killed plenty of birds; and you'll tag plenty more. Relax. Pass it on. Enjoy the moment.
2. Carry Your Weight
Always help haul your share of the gear in and out. There's nothing worse than that casual dude who watches you lug the portable blind, decoys and fold-up chairs. Don't be that guy.
3. Stake Out Territory
Stake out territory in the blind – my side; your side. You laugh. It matters. Think about your shooting lane and your hunting buddy's. Are you both right-handed? Is one left-handed?
4. Dress the Part
Don't wear all of your apparel as you walk in. Carry some in a backpack, then slip on a jacket once you settle in the blind. Sweaty base layers can chill you fast.
5. Small Talk, Not Big
Keep the conversation light and fun. Don't rant, vent. Politics, job worries, family concerns and such likely don't have a place here. Sure these things matter, but remember, you're also spending some blind time trying to get away from life's challenges. Enjoy it.
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.