Spring turkey hunting in the beautiful rolling hills of Atlanta

Wild Game DynastyFriends of ELO, Spring Fling

By:  Tom Lounsbury. There is no question that spring turkey hunting in Michigan will be forever in my blood, and has been since 1968 when I happened to be one of the 30 lucky recipients to get a special spring turkey license for the Baldwin area, which entailed a metal leg-tag. Turkey hunting in Michigan was in its infancy back then and I had learned about this special hunt from watching Mort Neff’s Michigan Outdoors TV show. Needless to say, I was stunned when a large envelope from the DNR arrived in the mail, and … Read More

Persistence Pays Off For Turkey Hunting

Wild Game DynastyFriends of ELO, Spring Fling

By:  Jim Kushner. During my first few years trying to bag a gobbler, I learned a couple of important things about turkeys and hunting them. First, you must find out where they are.  That means scouting a short time before season opens.  I’ve scouted a spot several weeks in advance, only to return later and find the turkeys had moved on or had become call-shy because other hunters had been there ahead of me. That doesn’t mean you won’t see turkeys there.  One year I found a small piece of state land with several toms … Read More

Are We Hunting For A Clean Kill ?

Wild Game DynastyBucks n Bears, Friends of ELO, Youth Hunts

By:  Jim Kushner. If you are reading this you are no doubt one of the millions(?) of hunting & fishing enthusiasts who participate and or browse the many Forums available on these subjects and much more. I am far more a browser than a participant in the many forums out there. Typically I am looking for some specific information on a particular firearm or load data etc. I also enjoy reading and seeing the many hunting stories that people post there. Recently I was compelled to start a post of my own after reading countless … Read More

The Outdoors Is Certainly Beautiful

lhg-adminFriends of ELO, Spring Fling

By:  Tom Lounsbury “A great program for introducing women and girls to the outdoors!” For a long time, hunting especially was pretty much a “men only” pastime,  although there were certainly exceptions, women who ignored status quo and  went hunting. Annie Oakley is a prime example, who ventured into this  atmosphere at an early age when her father died, leaving her mother and large  family destitute. She would start hunting, first to feed her family, and then to  provide an income (market hunting was legal in her era). Annie would sell game to  a growing list of customers and because ammunition cost money, she learned to  make each shot count, causing her to become one of the most remarkable  shooters in history.  She would pay off the mortgage on her family farm when she  was only 15 years old and go on to become famous in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Thanks to my late mother, I was introduced to hunting at the wee age of  three when I was her “pooch” for pheasant hunting. She was a crack shot with her  single-shot Iver Johnson 20 ga, having been taught to shoot by older brothers and  hunting for her family larder during the Great Depression. Mom learned to make  each shot count, because ammunition cost money, an attitude she passed on to  me when she taught me to shoot. She also could care less about any status quo  stuff about “men only” pastimes, and she passed that attitude on to me as well.  Needless to say, when Ron Sting of the DNR asked if I would help with a wild  turkey seminar/hunt for a Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) it was a  no-brainer for me to jump right in. BOW was first created in 1991 and is now  found in 44 states (including Michigan) and 9 Canadian Provinces. The recent BOW program took place at the Cass City DNR Field Office, starting with a wild turkey seminar there on Friday, May 12th, and a hunt with mentors on Saturday, May  13th. Ron Sting did an outstanding job arranging everything and the seminar  involved every aspect of turkey hunting, with knowledgeable speakers on each topic. This was followed by actual shooting at “turkey” targets.  Since I have a backyard shooting range and my home is only a couple miles  from the Cass City DNR Field Office, the shooting portion was performed there.  Some ladies had their own shotguns and some did not, and Ron Sting made sure  all were fitted out and comfortable with shooting and putting an accurate pattern  centered on the turkey target, entailing the all important head/neck shot.  One (13 year old) young lady was totally unaccustomed to firearms and very  nervous, and DNR Conservation Officer Seth Rhodea (who had earlier given a talk  on turkey hunting ethics and safety) spent some one-on-one time with the young  lady, off to the side and performing dry-firing exercises with an empty shotgun. As  a result, the young lady was soon confidently hammering targets with a 20 ga and  thoroughly enjoying it. In fact I could see all the ladies were enjoying it, and it was  a real pleasure watching them all take their turn at eagerly shooting away at their  targets, followed by examining the results of the shot, and the obvious confidence  this created. There was no doubt in my mind, if a turkey hunting opportunity  happened for any of these ladies, a gobbler was going down.   Ron Sting had put the BOW information out with a cap for 10 ladies to  participate, and in only two days he had an overwhelming response and it became  a first come, first serve situation, with 11 attending, and some from as far away as  Grand Rapids. Each woman had a mentor to take them turkey hunting and matters  would begin with breakfast at 4:30 AM on Saturday morning at the Cass City DNR  Field Office, immediately followed by hunters and their mentors heading out to  pre-selected areas, some on state land and some on private land.  I had two ladies riding with me in my Jeep; Debra Robinson of Macomb and  Pam Walton of Lapeer, and we were heading out to meet with Bob Walker of  Kingston. Bob had very generously agreed to lend a hand and had arranged a  perfect spot for the two ladies to hunt. Bob would mentor Pam and I would  mentor Debra and in no time we were all headed our separate ways into the  woods. Deb and I would be in a wooden ground blind literally constructed into a  hillside, which reminds me of a bunker with a shooting window. While Deb got  situated in the blind, I set out two hen decoys with one at 15 yards and the other  at 20 yards for a known range reference. I then quickly got back into the blind,  because the gray light of dawn was fast approaching. Deb was sitting to the left  and I to the right, and I told her to load her gun at he get go. She had purchased  it used and it was dandy vintage Winchester pump 20 ga with an adjustable Poly-Choke at the muzzle, which she had cranked to the  “full” position. We had learned the evening before that this shotgun was a great  performer with #6, 3 inch Magnum turkey loads, which Deb had a great time  shooting. I knew she and her gun were a perfect fit and she would do her part if I  could do mine.  To keep matters simple, I only had two turkey calls which were my “Ben  Lee” box call (which I purchased in the early 1980’s and is a collector’s item) and a  simple to use Quaker Boy “Easy Yelper” which only requires holding in one hand  and pushing a wooden rod. I wanted Deb to see things could get done without a  whole bag–full of gadgets and calls. My long recommendation to new turkey  hunters is to only start with one call and learn to use it well before moving on to  another call. I generally only take two calls out when I’m turkey hunting as it is,  and I prefer only friction types including the pan/slate calls. I’ve found the mouth  diaphragms don’t blend well at all with my chewing tobacco. After almost 50 years  of turkey hunting I’ve developed some instincts which are purely gut-feelings which come out of nowhere and I can’t quite put it into words. All I can say  is that when the woods lightened up and starting time was on I went to (hen) purring  mixed in with an occasional cadence of (hen) yelps on my box call. I’ve heard it said  that too much calling isn’t a good thing, but I’ve seen the occasion when you really  can’t talk too much turkey, and my gut feeling let me know this was an occasion to really  lay it on.  We got an immediate response from left to right of 3 gobblers, and in a  matter of seconds Deb and I knew the far right gobbler was incoming and closing  the gap. That is when a fourth gobbler cut loose directly behind us less than 10  yards away. I immediately stuck my hand out the window (which the gobbler  couldn’t see from behind us) and I let out a long drawn and very whining purr with  the Easy Yelper to give the gobbler the idea a hen directly downhill was real interested  in his advances. I was sitting with my back to the door when I felt the vibration a gobbler  can send out as it drums, and I knew the bird was standing right next to the door while  it looked over our blind’s roof at the hen decoys below. I whispered to Deb to  freeze and not to even blink, and then the gobbler suddenly appeared at point  blank range on Deb’s side of the window as it eased down the hill toward the  decoys. He was one of the largest gobblers I have ever called in, with a long and  thick beard. With its head up and moving around, this sharp-eyed bird had a 360 degree  … Read More

Becoming An Outdoors-Woman

Wild Game DynastyFriends of ELO, Spring Fling

By:  Tom Lounsbury. For a long time, hunting especially was pretty much a “men only” pastime,
although there were certainly exceptions, women who ignored status quo and
went hunting. Annie Oakley is a prime example, who ventured into this
atmosphere at an early age when her father died, leaving her mother and large
family destitute. She would start hunting, first to feed her family, and then to
provide an income (market hunting was legal in her era). Annie would sell game
to a growing list of customers and because ammunition cost money, she learned
to make each shot count, causing her to … Read More

Mid-Michigan Magic

Wild Game DynastySpring Fling

By Keith Kinyon. I was fortunate enough to get permission to hunt a 160 acre piece of property in Northern Midland County for the 2017 turkey season. The owner of the farm did not want me to use a pop up blind, decoys, or a turkey call.  “You don’t need all those gimmicks,” he said.  The sharp-eyed 70 year-olds farm held a huge number of turkeys and I felt lucky to be able to hunt there so I was not about to question him too much.  The first evening I ignored his advice on where … Read More

Wild Turkey Fever

Wild Game DynastySpring Fling

By Tom Lounsbury. When April arrives I automatically develop a case of “wild turkey fever”, an annual spring malady that has been afflicting me for almost 50 years now. I find myself habitually sorting out turkey hunting gear, practicing with various turkey calls (when I do this indoors it eventually nets a rather blunt complaint from my wife) and patterning my turkey shotguns, of which I have a few favorites, at my backyard shooting range. Although I already know how each shotgun patterns, I need to assure that I am still in tune with them, … Read More

Guided Spring Turkey Hunt

Wild Game DynastyEast Lake Buzz, Spring Fling

“As one of the extremely fortunate winners of the 2015 Pure Michigan hunt, I looked forward with great anticipation, to my guided Spring Turkey hunt. Despite pending, unseasonably foul weather in the forecast, Gary immediately put me on a great Tom, allowing me to fill my tag before the snows flew once more. A great hunt, put on by a great guide!!” – Mike DiLorenzo, Clinton Twp., MI

High Noon Gobbler

Wild Game DynastySpring Fling

By: Tom Lounsbury. Atlanta, MI  hunting guide John Jones (left) prefers to use a Woodhaven conditioning stone to “sweeten up” his (Rod Benson Calls) Cherry Poppin’ slate call.  Time flies when you are having a good time because it sure doesn’t seem like I’ve been hunting springtime wild turkeys in Michigan for over 45 years. In the early days this all took place “up north” and there was a chancy lottery that had to be dealt with, and you could only hunt in the morning. I was quite fortunate on the draw for a spring … Read More

When In Rome, 2.0 (w/Video)

Wild Game DynastySpring Fling

Like most people, I like to think I know what I’m doing. I’ve learned to trust my own instincts in most areas of life, and hunting is a situation in which going with my gut has served me pretty well.  I’m not one to throw around terms like “expert” or “guru,” but I consider myself to be relatively knowledgeable on the topic of hunting.  After all, you’ve got to have a fair amount of confidence and know-how to guide hunts. That being said, I’ve learned a thing or two about my own limitations, and what … Read More