Throughout my years of guiding turkey hunters in different parts of the country, I found myself falling into hunting ruts and routines that I had no desire to learn from. My routine went something like this; pick up hunter at hotel, go to familiar turkey area, call to turkeys at first light, get set up, and finally shoot turkey. If no turkey cooperated, I repeated the process until a longbeard was in hand. That was my tactic and I only mixed up my routine when I had to.
I never once considered using a ground blind. Who wants to sit in a box and try to kill turkeys that aren’t smart enough to avoid a big, giant square object in the middle of the field? I sure didn’t and not only that, it did not seem like a very masculine way of hunting to me.
That all changed when I found myself responsible for helping a disabled hunter kill his first turkey. I had booked this particular hunt months before the season so giving a ground blind a try was on my radar, but I still was leery. As the season approached, I had no other option but to set one up and give it a go for the first time ever.
I was going to be hunting a state where it is legal to bait turkeys, so I set up the ground blind in a secluded pasture surrounded by timber and creeks about two weeks before the season. I also put out about two hundred pounds of whole corn and fifty pounds of oyster shell grit. My objective was to attract hens to the area in front of the blind (for obvious reasons) and to let the area’s birds get used to the blind being there. I thought the blind looked ridiculous, but it was too late to worry about it.
By the time my hunter arrived, the corn and oyster shell were long gone so I was confident that the birds were acclimated to the blind being there. Boy was I right about that.
We managed to sneak into the blind long before first light and we waited. It was not long before roosted toms started giving wake-up gobbles and all I could do is hope for the best. I gave a few soft yelps on one of my slate calls so the longbeards could make a mental note of where an anxious hen was located. After getting several gobblers to respond, we readied ourselves for potential action. In less than a minute’s time, two middle-aged toms flew out of their roost and glided to a landing only 12 yards from the blind.
My client hammered the largest bird and the hunt was over in only a moment, but that moment changed my mind about ground blinds forever and helped me expand my short pattern of turkey hunting tactics.
I would later go on to get many young kids their first turkeys while hunting out of a ground blind, and many adults also enjoyed success from them as well. Don’t be afraid to try new things and definitely don’t be hesitant to use a ground blind.