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The dominant gobblers began to sound off after the first Hawaiian forest bird began to sing its royal song. A single hen let out a couple of soft tree yelps and pitched to the ground with the gobblers in tow. We tried to get ahead and set up, but they were moving too fast. We covered a lot of ground with no success.
Time for plan B. Trolling! As most veteran turkey hunters know, when the gobblers are henned-up, getting one to spark up after they hit the ground is frustrating. They become tight-lipped and their only concern is the hens leading them about. We tried, but not a single gobbler sounded.
By Jon Sabati
Opening weekend for Hawaii's Spring Turkey Hunt was exciting! On Friday night it rained and the temps were around 55 degrees. My client on Saturday morning was excited about her first spring turkey hunt, but she was shocked to see frost on the ground. Temp was 48 with with the mountain wind chill factor making it very cold!
During preseason scouting I observed that the gobblers had recently broken up and claimed their turf. Many defeated toms are just cruising and bugging. They are not flashing their colors and keeping a tight lip. They seem to be accepting defeat and just taking it day by day.
The dominant toms are gobbling on the roost, but go silent when they hit the ground. The hens take the gobblers on a journey as they try to dump the pesky boys. The hens are not ready yet and I observe them feeding heavy. Seems they are trying to build up a fat reserve for the nesting period.
I am a guy that has hunted and killed whitetail deer since the age of 12. This means that I am getting old with 47 years of deer hunting under my belt, but I am hoping for many more. I guess you could say people think of me mainly as a turkey guy but my first love in hunting is DEER! I hunt whitetail bucks in my mind 12 months of the year. I will admit that the older I get the more set in my ways I am. I have been grunt calling bucks before grunt calls were available. I firmly believe that if you are going to hunt whitetail bucks bring your grunt call and it will stack the odds in your favor.
In the last few years there is another rage in deer hunting and that is the snort wheeze. I was skeptical to say the least, although I have heard them do it in the midwest and Texas, I have never heard one used in my home state of New York. The few calls I have tried had no volume and I feel when a buck is in the rut mode you have to make some kind of loud noise to get his attention.
By Pro Staffer Jim Burns
I guess a turkey can have a long sleepless night just like we do occasionally and just needs to hit the snooze alarm. Fortunately for me I wasn’t going any place and was there waiting for him when he finally left the roost.
by Ernie Calendrelli
This story is continuing with the Grunt Call saga! I have only told you so far about the biggest bucks I have killed. There have been many seasons that I have grunted into range 30 or 40 bucks that I have not shot. I will keep this tale going with the best bucks that succumbed to one or other of Quaker Boy's grunt calls. In 2003 and 2004, I killed 3 bucks in the high 130 range but in 2005 I was batting zero until opening day of the Iowa gun season.
I chose a stand for opening day that was in the woods, on a knob, overlooking railroad tracks below me and a hayfield above. It was the first week of December and extremely cold that year. My plan was to hunt this stand daylight to dark if I could stand it. The bucks were still rutting on the Iowa farm and I knew it held a number of mature deer. A friend that bow hunted this farm stuck a good buck the first couple days of the archery season but did not find him. He was hunting from a tree close to where I was now set up.
From first light I started seeing deer. I passed a number of bucks. I also had a couple of freight trains go by that shook the tree I was in. Not a great experience but the deer being used to it paid no attention to the noise or the ground shaking. It did snow on and off all day. The bucks I grunted to came very willingly as long as they were not already on a doe. At 4:00 PM I was running out of time so I did some blind grunting with my Ridge Runner. From the field above me I saw a deer coming fast. It was a buck and a good one. I was using a CVA optima 50 cal muzzleloader with a Nikon 3X9 scope because I could get more range out of it than a shotgun. Range I did not need. The buck came right in to 20 yards broadside. I stopped him with a mouth bleat, put the crosshairs on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Smoke was all I saw for awhile. When the smoke cleared, I heard a little rustling in the snow. He was down and dead in his tracks. One long cold day with plenty of action ending with a beautiful 147” 10-point that was called out of a food source field with a grunt call. The best thing about this buck was when I skinned him I found 12 inches of carbon arrow with broad head still attached running down his shoulder just inside the skin, completely healed. I sent my buddy a framed 8 X 10 photo of me and the buck with the shaft & broad head glued to the picture frame. I also wrote on the photo "Jason thanks for slowing him down for me!"
In 2006 I had some bad shoulder problems and put in for a crossbow permit. I finally drew another Kansas tag. I was not allowed to hunt my normal spot. I guess some of the locals got jealous of the big bucks that I had killed and had the landowner shut me out. I was lucky enough to get permission to hunt close to there, just one farm over where I could actually see some of the farm I use to hunt. This was my first crossbow hunt in Kansas and I had never killed a deer with a crossbow before.
I had been gone for three weeks and needed to get home. Since I had never killed a deer with a crossbow, I was hoping for 130 or better. After putting up a stand on the edge of a CRP field with a river behind me, I was ready for the first evening hunt. I only saw a few deer, a couple of does, fawns and a 1 ½ year old buck on the PM hunt. The second day hunt I would spend 11 hours in the stand, daylight to dark. In the morning, I only saw a few deer. Nothing special but as evening approached deer movement increased. The sun was starting to set, it was dead quiet, and I could see a buck stiff-legging it at the other end of the CRP 300 yards away. I grabbed my Ridge Runner and gave him a loud burp; he stopped and looked my way. I gave him a 3 burp series and here he comes, not running but moving pretty quickly. I put my Nikons on him and decided he was a shooter. When he got to about 50 yards he slowed and the hair on his back stood up. He knew exactly where the grunts had come from. Broadside at 20 yards I punched him perfect right behind the front leg. He wheeled around and in the low death run headed back the direction he came from. He only went 60 yards and crashed. The 100 grain Thunderhead had done the job! Once again without that Grunt call I had no chance at him. He scored 133” and I was very happy with him being my first crossbow buck!
In 2008 I had left shoulder replacement; they would not do both right & left at the same time, unfortunately for me. I did not have a shooter buck in range in Illinois, Missouri or Iowa that year. There was one in Iowa that I dedicated my hunt to, but when he was on his way to my grunt call a doe stepped out and it was not meant to be!
I hunted Illinois in 2009 and grunted in a bunch of bucks and shoulder-boned one in the mid 140s that came to my Brawler Grunt call from the neighbor’s property. Three days later I saw him limping after two other bucks, running them away and stealing a doe!
I left Illinois empty and headed right to Kansas. I had permission to hunt on a new farm on the same river and could not wait to check it out. I seem to see my biggest bucks in Kansas on the first morning and '09 would hold true to that!
My stand was set up in the river bottom thicket with trails, rubs and scrapes everywhere. It was snowing when I reached the stand the first morning and I was a little late getting there. It was breaking light and I was still on the ground. I hung my Defender crossbow on a pull up rope and climbed with my pack on to save time. As soon as I hung my pack up and pulled up my bow, deer started showing up from a CRP field that was about 60 yards from me. I knew the rut was full blown as in ten minutes I saw three different bucks running does. I had been in the stand about fifteen minutes and let out a series of loud grunts from my Brawler, when two button bucks and a doe fawn nervously approached me. They stopped right under my stand looking back the way they came. From the same direction, a little yearling broken-horn buck showed up and started chasing the doe fawn around. I decided with all the commotion I would grunt again. Thirty seconds later all four deer stopped and jerked their heads up looking back to my left. I felt something to my left behind me and very slowly eased my head around. There was tall broom grass in that direction and 30 yards away I see a set of giant horns sticking above it. He is a monster looking in front of me at the other four deer. I eased my bow up and he started to walk right up next to me. He is 20 yards away and knows something is not right. He leaps, but not away from me. He stoppped right along side of me. I am already on him with the dot at 15 yards. I put my 20 in the middle of the buck and pulled the trigger. He went right down as I hit him high. I hurriedly put another in him and very quickly he lay still. The other four deer had no idea what was going on until I started letting my bow down. I walked over to him and just could not believe I got that lucky again. He scored 171 ½.
I believe he came right to the call. He caught a little of my wind but with the other deer there, he was confused about which way to go.
The Grunt call will always be with me when I deer hunt. I stack the odds in my favor!
I finally killed a pretty good buck in Illinois in 2010. I was snake bit there for a number of years. That story, will have to wait until next year’s continuation!
By Tim White, Quaker Boy Pro Staffer for Oregon and Alaska
The start of the second weekend of the spring turkey season "05" was overcast, quiet and a warm damp morning as I approached the 100-acre grape vineyard.
I was thinking that I had just received permission to hunt this property two days prior and had only stopped by one evening to observe the surroundings and watch for turkeys. I watched one Jake and three hens feeding along the north fence line moving quickly towards their roost up a rather steep hill. On the drive home that night I contemplated what to do on this upcoming Saturday morning when I would hunt here for the first time? You cannot hunt in the vineyard because of the lack of cover or foliage in the spring. The vines are bare. A portable blind would be handy for this type of hunting. A dense timber line surrounds the vineyard and if I set up there the turkeys would sure enough be in the vineyard on the other side of the six foot high four gage fence which would be next to impossible to shoot an arrow through. I knew there were more birds there because the owner of the vineyard mentioned to me that there were eight birds that they have been seeing on the property. I decided I would figure it out the morning of the hunt by waiting at the bottom of the hilly vineyard and listening for gobbling and/or yelping to pin down the location of the birds. Then I could decide where to set up and call a Tom Turkey to my arrow.
I stopped my truck at the vineyard and parked where the property owner requested I should park. I was really excited as I hurriedly put on my turkey hunting vest with all of my turkey calls, decoys, etc. and grabbed my Bow Tech bow and Carbon Express arrows noticing the sky glinting with the days first light. I was still in deep thought of how I would trick the turkeys and where I was going to set up today.
I climbed up a slight hill through the grass meadow which is the farm yard part of this vineyard and stood where I could see the tree lines meeting the grape vines to the north and to the east. Straight ahead of me was the south fence line starting to my left that also went straight up hill with dense timber on the edge. There was a fence with a gate that went perpendicular to the vineyard and cut right in front of me. I was noticing that on the other side of that fence was grassy area for about fifty yards to the timber and it rolled down hill towards the south where there was a creek and then a level area with orchard trees. An old skidder trail grown over with grass cut towards the east into the timber, which is like a draw because down at the creek the property goes straight up to a ridge with old growth timber along it.
I headed through the gate making sure I latched it back in the closed position and at that moment I heard gobbles to my right and it sounded like three Toms and they were near the top of the old growth ridge to my right about three hundred yards. Then I heard two gobbles to my left which was past the north vineyard line and a quarter of a mile or so away. I was thinking they were too far for a set up right now but these other three gobblers on the ridge were the ones I was going to call in.
I quickly eyed the surroundings for a place to hide. I need to be well hidden in order to draw my bow after a Gobbler comes to the call. There! A lone fir tree right in the middle of this 50-yard wide by 200-yard long meadow with a slight incline down toward the creek and was ten-yards back from the old grassy trail into the dense woods. The perpendicular fence is now the west fence off to the right. Perfect! It is getting light quickly as I thinned out some brush and tried to make a blind under the huge fir tree with large limbs bending down into the grass.
All this time the gobblers to south and the gobblers to the north were gobbling a beautiful song back and forth. All of a sudden, a tremendous thundering gobble came out of the dense timber- maybe 70 yards away? 60 yards away? He's close! Too close for comfort. He might see any more movement! The hunt had just started - there isn't any time to put out any decoys or try to make the blind more concealable and/ or comfortable. I quickly took the most comfortable, well-hidden position I could and slowly pulled out one of my homemade wild turkey wing bone yelper calls, still hearing the vocal gobblers to the south and to the north. It's is now time to call the turkey to the bow.
I put on my camo facemask with excitement and anticipation that I was going to harvest a gobbler right out of the roost this morning. I always mentally think a little prayer of thanks for the preservation of wild turkey hunting and for a clean smooth shot, without any suffering of such a wonderful specimen of a game bird that I am trying and about to possibly harvest. I make a subtle, soft-as could be, low toned "mmmyelp - mmmyelp - mmmyelp" with my wing bone call. A series of exploding gobbles from the trees right in front of me somewhere in the forest 60 yards away made my heart start to pound a little faster. I keep quiet, not moving a muscle, listening and still hearing the gobblers to the south on the ridge, and faintly hearing the gobblers to the north, like they have flown out of the roost already and are walking the fence line of the vineyard.
Gobble! Gobble! Gobble Gobble! The close bird calls out; trying to get me to yelp again so he can locate what he thinks is a lone hen. I realize at this time that he is all alone. No hens with him? Hrnmm! He must've been separated from the flock that's on the ridge last night and had to roost right there in hopes to catch up with his flock this morning. I started wishing I had a hen decoy 20 yards out there in the grass between the edge of the woods, old skidder trail and the fence in order to get him to come there. I called twice more, really soft as I could make the sound: "mmmyelp - mmmyelp" Before I get the last yelp out, a crescendo of gobbles was spreading all the way through the air, smothering the morning spring sounds of a world of wildlife awakening. I can hear him jumping onto another branch in his roost tree like he was looking for me, the hen that is calling to him. He was getting ready to fly down I think to myself. Where will he land? Out there within shooting range for my bow? I sure hope so.
Gobble! Gobble and then flapping wings is the next sound I heard as I am being as I hide there, attentive as an owl waiting for a mouse. I caught a glimpse of him soaring, wings spread, sailing downward from the roost tree above the old logging trail opening, ten to fifteen yards in front of me and, yes, he was going to land right in the middle of the grass meadow 20 to 25 yards away from my stand! Perfect!!
Wham! Twang! Those were the sounds I heard as I watched this beautiful young tom fly right into the fence, head first, and bounce off onto the ground. The fence wires sounded like guitar strings as they reverberated from his impact and the sound followed the fence wire as far as it was strung. I was awestruck at what I just witnessed and could race over to him in a few bounds and he lay there with a broken neck, quiet and still he was, and as for all around me it seemed quiet and still now too. It was sad to see him have this kind of accident- especially for a bird with senses far keener than any other kind of game bird in the wild. He was a Jake, with a small beard and a very large heavy body.
As I carried him back to my stand, I laid him down and sat there still astonished, thinking that I must tag him and prepare him as I would if I had killed this bird my bow and arrow.
I chuckled when I picked up all my gear and the bird and started to head back to my truck. It was only 6:10 am. I have a turkey, and I didn't even damage, destroy or lose an arrow. If I had a hunting partner with me would he have had to take my picture with one of my hands holding onto the fence and the other holding this fine turkey?
When I reached my truck I was putting my hunting gear away and setting the Jake into the back of the pickup and I looked over at the fence line and there, standing almost in that exact same spot, was one of the gobblers that must have come off the ridge. He was smart enough to walk in? I could only imagine. This strange experience hopefully will not to become a sport. I refer to it as "calling a turkey to the fence".
Editors Note: Tim White is the Past President of the McKenzie Long Tom Chapter of NWTF and an Oregon Master Hunter.
In Missouri in 2001, after I killed what I thought might be the biggest buck I would ever kill, a 165 ½” monster, I headed to Kansas for the second year in a row! In 2000 I hunted Kansas, and did not kill a buck, but I saw plenty and learned quite a bit about this monster buck state! The best chance I had was when a 160 came right under my stand. I have bad shoulder arthritis and have to draw my bow in a very unorthodox way. My arrow came off the rest and the buck heard it and left in a hurry from that nasty "dink" of the arrow hitting on the riser.
I arrived at my destination in Kansas in the late evening. I decided use a climber for the first morning's hunt back in the same spot I spooked the 160 in 2000. My plan was to hunt a few hours, then get down and scout before it was time to climb a tree for the evening.
I was in the dark on a river bottom and was lucky enough to locate the exact tree I had climbed the previous year. I was up for a few minutes when I noticed a good size rub less than 20 yards from my perch. I did not see a deer for the first 20 minutes, so I decided to run a series of grunts with my Ridge Runner. I grunted 5 or 6 times and just got the call back in my pocket when a huge buck came bursting over the high water bank, heading right at me 50 yards away. He stopped and sniffed the rub, then quickly walked right up the trail which was not 12 steps from my stand. The problem was he was head on at the rub and the trail took him into a nasty river bottom thicket that you could not get an arrow through. My wind was drifting toward where the run came out of the thicket and I knew he was going to wind me. When he hit the opening at 12 steps, he acted like he hit a brick wall. Turning himself inside out very quickly going back the way he came. The one mistake he made was stopping 17 steps away at the rub. This time facing the other direction, offering me a perfect quartering away shot. I was on him quickly, punching the trigger on the release as I had no time to hit the 11 ring. The arrow with the 100 grain Thunderhead, buried into the flesh and ended up lodged in his brisket.
I sat for a minute and started to shake. I was going to have the big one this time for sure! After calming down and against my better judgment, I decided to track. I knew the hit was good but it was threatening rain andI was alone! I felt I would have a better chance following blood than looking for a dead deer after a rain. Finding blood was no problem. Judging from the amount of blood that I was seeing, I figured within 50 to 75 yards he would be mine. But after 100 yards, I slowed on the trail even though it was still no problem to follow. The deer was heading to the river and if he went much further and stayed in the river it could be a real problem. I cautiously approached the river on the blood trail right to the edge in heavy broom grass. I stopped a few feet from the river, looked up down and across and saw nothing. All of a sudden the buck exploded right at my feet and scared the daylights out of me. He crashed across the river, turning the water red as he stopped for a second before climbing out on the other side. He had trouble making the 6 foot climb to the top. I looked at him, he looked at me and he was huge; even bigger than I had thought! The great buck took two steps and fell. The only thing I could see now was his main beam sticking up over the grass.
I sat for 30 minutes, never taking my eyes off that main beam. There was no movement and the suspense was killing me so I stepped across the river and there he lay, all 175 1/2” of bone and 260 pounds of the most beautiful buck I had ever seen. I had taken 341” of horn in two states in a week! I thought I was in a dream!
In 2002 I had no luck with my bow in Missouri but I did kill a very nice 144” buck with my rifle. Then it was back to Kansas. I relived the Kansas day in 2001 the whole 400 miles from Unionville, Missouri to my spot in Kansas. I figured I would do the same thing in the morning; hunt the same tree I killed the 175 1/2” buck the year before then scout.
I climbed as daylight was just starting to break and I had just belted myself in when I heard something walking to the North. Whatever was walking was really making a lot of noise and I figured it must be another hunter. I strained to see and out there about 40 yards away was a deer walking from east to west. I could make out horns and I had not even gotten settled into the stand. I grabbed my Ridge Runner grunt call and very gently burped at him a couple times. The buck turned right at me and here he comes limping badly and then he stopped right under me. I had been gone for three weeks and my goal was 130 or better. I could tell that he should make my 130 minimum so I released my arrow hitting him next to the spine driving it down through the bottom of his chest! He made an incredible amount of noise got out of there and headed toward the river. Things went silent quickly as I sat down on the mesh seat of my stand. I thought to myself, "What are the odds of this; two years in a row, less than a half hour in 2001 and 2 minutes in 2002 from the same tree?"
The weather was perfect that day so I sat for another hour before deciding to begin tracking. This buck never made the river, taking only about 50 steps before he was done. I walked up to him and he grew on the ground. What I had estimated at 130" ended up an even 160”. He had been limping from a broken left ankle that was swelled up three times bigger than his right one. I believe because of his injury he could not fight or push trees as he would normally have done. This made his rack flawless with no broken points, no chips and just a little bit of a strange color. He had 12 perfect points with 2 little kickers on one base!
What else can I say? I love the Midwest and don't leave home without your grunt call!
Chad Hodge, Quaker Boy Pro Staffer
Quaker Boy Game Calls is proud to announce the creation of the Quaker Girl line of turkey and deer calls. This line is designed specifically with female hunters in mind to give them a little personal touch to their own calls. The products are made with the same craftsmanship and quality as our original Quaker Boy calls and they have the same fantastic sound.
The main difference in these calls are the pink accents and lettering, that designate these calls as part of the Quaker Girl line. The pink color does more than just make these calls look great, it also serves as a reminder that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of of each of these calls will go to fund Breast Cancer Research, a cause we can all stand behind.
When I saw the image on the front cover of our 2010 Catalog, I knew it was right for us. My Mom and Dad headed down a similar winding path in 1976. They did not have a master plan, just a dream and vision of what could be. It was their courage, the strength of high quality products, a superior team and the loyal support of customers around the outdoor community that built Quaker Boy to the level it is today.
Without the support of hunters and high quality standards in both products and service, we would not be as successful. Our standards and dedication are unwavering as we once again proudly introduce the new product line up for 2010.
We have chased turkey for close to 40 years and now proudly introduce the most complete turkey hunters vest on the market! The “Vestablind”! We also see the need to keep the great outdoors in every household and camp for generations to come, with the introduction of the “Sounds of the Wild” game clock! Each hour I am reminded of a hunt from the past or an upcoming adventure. I love it. Look inside this catalog and you willfind your favorite old reliable products along with our new for 2010 innovations.
Our path has never been clearly defined, however, thanks to outdoorsmen, women, and children, we look forward to servicing your hunting needs for many years to come!
Thanks for your support.
It's always hunting time!
No matter what season – big game, small game, waterfowl, turkey or predator – you’ll hear the call of the wild ringing your ears! Our Quaker Boy sounds of the wild hunter’s clock shows 12 hours featuring a different wild animal sound each hour. To hear the sounds and purchase, click here!
(Uses three AA batteries not included).
Ernie Calandrelli, Quaker Boy Director of Public Relations
I started grunting bucks into bow range over thirty years ago. I just tried to imitate what I heard the deer doing. Problem was I could not get much volume! Years later a good friend of mine from Lineville, Alabama, the late, great Billy McCoy, told me about turning a Mallard duck call around and sucking air thru it backwards. This made a pretty good whitetail buck grunt with a little more volume! This, as far as I know, started the grunt call craze.
Chad Hodge, Quaker Boy Pro Staffer
The other night, I was out in my shop doing my usual process of getting my gear repaired from my most recent duck hunt, and getting it prepared for the next one. While doing this, I came to my trusty neoprene waders, which were hanging upside down from their hanger. I was checking for small holes to Shoe-Goo, removing "hitch-hikers" and burrs and removing the many thorns and briars that were stuck in the material. This is my normal routine so I didn't think about it too much at the time.
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