Bowhunters for turkey have extra time this year to bring home their Thanksgiving turkey, and even two if they have the right permit. Turkey season for bowhunting begins this Sunday, Oct. 21.
It is the first time the season has started this early. Bowhunting for deer has also had an early start opening on Oct. 1this year.
Shotgun season for deer and turkey doesn’t begin until Nov. 17, so bowhunters will have plenty of quiet time in the woods to hang out in their tree stands, behind their blinds (a camouflaged tent-like shelter) or sit at the base of trees waiting for those toms to strut their stuff.
A turkey’s amazing ability to see and hear makes bowhunting turkey extremely challenging. Because of the short range of a bow (30 yards), the hunter must conceal himself the best he can while bringing the bird in as close as possible.
A crossbow is more desirable to some hunters, because you can have the bow drawn while you wait. With a traditional bow and arrow, you must draw when ready to shoot and the turkey can hear the bowstring creak or the smallest twig break.
According to the March 2012 issue of Game & Fish magazine, there are different methods for luring in the turkey while protecting the hunter from detection.
Decoys placed within range are used to keep the attention off the bowhunter as he or she is drawing the bow. Decoys provide added incentive for the turkey to come close and can be used as a distance marker to help estimate range.
A bowhunter has many movements to make. A blind he can hide behind helps to cover up his movement.
The use of camouflage clothing and face paint helps keep the turkey from distinguishing the hunter from a tree or another animal.
Sitting at the base of a big tree breaks up the hunter’s outline when the tom approaches.
Turkey calls play a big role in turkey hunting with a bow. If you want to bring a bird in close, you must sound like a bunch of hens and it will bring a bird to you.
Local bowhunter Daniel Halloran from Great Valley makes turkey calls for the market. Halloran has won many awards and traveled to numerous hunting shows around the country. He met his wife Ashley, who is also an avid bow hunter, at a show in Ohio.
At the age of 12, Halloran first experimented with making calls in his dad’s shop.
“Those first calls were pretty rough, I’ll admit. You really had to work to get a turkey sound, but I kept tweaking things always working towards that perfect turkey call. And now my calls are nationally recognized and truly rival the best calls in the country,” he said.
For a look at some of his calls and how they work, you can visit his web site at www.davidhalloranturkeycalls.com.
Halloran’s turkey diaphragm call is made from latex, his box calls from a variety of different woods, and friction pot calls from aluminum or ceramic in wooden pots.
Virtually all turkey hen sounds can easily be imitated in any of the different kinds of calls including smooth, high-pitched or ear-piercing kee kees, loud popping cutts and clucks, extremely realistic raspy high- to low-end yelps and shrill, sassy yelps and cutts.
Jason Quinn, a bow hunter from Great Valley, is like most hunters. Life seems to get in the way and he doesn’t have the time to get out as much as he would like.
“Part of the experience of hunting is being outside in God’s creation. It’s almost spiritual to get out before dawn and experience the sounds and light of the woods waking up,” he said.