Hunter Specialties Pro Staffer Ray Eye is America’s most recognized turkey hunter. For thirty years Rays hunting adventures have appeared in countless newspapers, national magazines, videos and television, making Ray the most published, photographed, and quoted outdoor celebrity today.
With over twenty-five years of seminar experience, Ray has conducted more than two thousand wild turkey and whitetail deer seminars across America, including ten years on the National Rifle Associations "Great American Hunters Tour." Ray’s legendary style of humor, story telling and rapid-fire insights into hunting are both entertaining and educational.
Through television, video, radio, magazines, newspapers and thousands of seminars, Ray is a premier speaker, entertainer, and leading educator in the world of hunting today.
Americas leading outdoor companies, like Hunter Specialties, Beloptix, and Walkers Game Ear, utilize Ray’s notoriety and tremendous following to promote their product.
In addition, as a Outdoor television Celebrity and Radio personality, Ray Eye has entertained and educated millions of hunters on the tactics, ethics and safety of the Great outdoors.
Ray’s Turkey Hunting Experience
I’ve hunted turkeys for more than forty years in some 30 plus states, including Hawaii. Even with years of experience, I continue to make mistakes, all of us learn something new each and every time we hunt turkeys.
I will cover in my program many of the mistakes that most hunters make while hunting turkeys. I know what I am talking about, because I made them all and then some, but thats how I learned. I earned my degree in turkey hunting on public ground in my home state of Missouri, in the trenches so to speak, with an abundance of hunter interference. I wasn’t lucky enough to hunt private property, special places with a lot of turkeys; I earned the birds I killed. I really believe my early days hunting under extreme pressure helped make me a better turkey hunter today. Through the years, I earned a reputation of taking turkeys under all kinds ofconditions, wind, rain, snow. Another reason for my success, I hunted much harder than most, stayed out longer and never gave up.
During my program I will share calling techniques that will improve your odds and make you a more effective turkey killer. To me, calling is one of the most important factors for hunter success. Calling can and will make or break a hunt. A hunter just really doesn’t know what a gobbler wants or will respond to, until you spend a little time feeling him out. I advise hunters to start off calling simple and short. If the bird runs in gobbling nonstop and you have to shoot him off your leg, then you obviously didn’t need to use anything else.
One of the most important things to remember is that each turkey has its own feelings and personality. I’ve never seen or heard two turkeys call or react to calling exactly the same, nor have I ever found any calling methods that work each and every time.
Back in the early 1960s there were very few hunters in the Ozarks that would share information about calling turkeys. Turkey hunters were a very secretive group, and when they would talk, hunting stories were cloaked in myth and tall tales of super intelligent mystical birds.
There was little doubt that a boy my age, would have much of a chance against the “Ghost gobbler” of Clinton ridge or “ole long spur of Dry fork holler, and heaven forbid if I tried to call “ole broken toe”, the king of Buford Mountain. I heard that if you even lit a lantern right before daylight in the cabin up there, that ole bronze back turkey wouldn’t gobble for a month.
Turkey calling was considered a fine art form, and those that were superior callers were kings of the barbershops and country stores. Those were the places I heard phrases like, “That ole boy makes a hen ashamed of herself” or “ Ole Jimmy could call a hen off her nest,” and my all time favorite, “ Billy Bob can call a gobbler right off a hen’s back.”
Sometime in the late 1960’s during turkey season, I came upon an outdoor magazine out in my grandparents’ outhouse that contained an article on turkey hunting. After reading the article I knew what I was doing wrong, it said the only way to call in a gobbler was to yelp three times, wait ten minutes, by the watch, yelp three more times and wait ten more minutes, then get your gun up.
The next morning, I slipped up to a ridge where a gobbler was roosted for the last time. At daybreak the tom gobbled. I carefully made three yelps soft yelps. The tom rifled back a reply but I sat silently and stared at my watch.
After a very long ten minutes passed, I yelped three more times and the bird gobbled harder, but the yelps and cuts of a real hen turkey were much louder.
Within minutes the hen was calling almost nonstop. That hen was still yelping s she ran away with my gobbler, even before my ten minutes was up. . I would assume you know how I was calling on that ridge the very next morning.
Once back at the farm I introduced that old tom to my grandma, where she in turn introduced him to her wood cook stove.
The road to a successful turkey hunt also requires the selection of the proper turkey gun, and correct load and pattern to match the type of terrain and distance to the target. The concept is very simple: you need something that will travel from you to the turkey with enough energy and shock to shut down the central nervous system.
When that gobbler finally appears out in front of your set up, what happens next will determine whether your tom will become Thanksgiving dinner or a fleeting memory.
Copyright 2005 Eye on the Outdoors
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