There are turkey hunters and then there are straight up, turkey killers. Turkey killers possess it all; good
woodsmanship skills, good calling skills and above all, the ability to do what most others can't do...consistently kill gobblers. Do you know a turkey killer or do you think you are a turkey killer? Below I have summarized a list of attributes that I believe represents the traits of a turkey killer. How many of them apply to you?
Mike Miller "The Turkey Killer" is probably one of today's more well known killers.
- Eats, Sleeps and Breaths Turkey Hunting: Turkey killers can never get enough, always thinking about that next turkey hunt. If a killer is at work, he's thinking about turkey hunting. If he's at church. he's thanking God for wild turkeys and turkey hunting. And if he's sleeping, he's almost certainly dreaming about turkey hunting. About the only time that a killer doesn't think about turkey hunting is when his woman is around and even then he's partly thinking about turkey hunting.
- Turkey Parts Are Everywhere: Killers have taken a multitude of gobblers over the years so it's no surprise that turkey body parts are strewn all around their home. You can find them hanging from the walls of their house, laying in every vehicle they own or on just about on every shelf in their garage. If you ever enter a home and the first thing that you see is parts of wild turkeys, take note, you may have just entered the home of a killer.
- Minimal Gear: Ever seen the hunter that takes a half hour to get his gear together? Well he's not a killer. A killer shuts off his truck, grabs his gun and is on his way in mere seconds. Minimization is the key to his success. He has a job to do and any unnecessary gear will just impede him from accomplishing his goal.
- Willing To Get Filthy: Whether it's tall, dew laden grass on a chilly spring morning, a deep creek or a nasty, snake invested swamp, if it means swimming or crawling through wet and filthy terrain to close the distance on a gobbler, you can bet a killer will. While the average hunter sees this as the end of their hunt, a killer simply sees this as a minor obstacle.
Water is no obstacle for the turkey killer.
- Rarely Uses A Decoy: This one can go either way but for the most part, killers rarely rely on turkey decoys. As mentioned above, it's all about minimization for these guys but at the same time, a killer realizes that decoys are very effective at times and when warranted, will put them to use.
- Almost Never Uses A Blind: You'll almost never witness a killer using a ground blind. Blinds restrict sight, sound, shot opportunities and mobility and killers realize that. This doesn't mean that they won't use one occasionally but you can bet your life, it's only when they're taking a young hunter along. They would rather use the natural vegetation for concealment because they know that you can't fully experience the spring woods if you're tucked inside some dark box.
- Great Calling Skills: Killers are a master of turkey calls. They know that realism helps to fool even the most wary of gobblers and they've spent years perfecting turkey vocalizations. If a killer has never won a turkey calling contest, it's likely he's never entered one.
- Ability To Recreate Animal Vocalizations: In all my years of turkey hunting, I've never met a turkey killer that couldn't do a dang good rendition of a barred owl or any number of other animals, using only their natural voice. When you spend as much time in the woods as these guys do, you're bound to start mimicking the wildlife. I know what you're thinking but your ability to "moo" like a cow does not qualify you as a killer.
- Able To Communicate With Turkeys: We all are capable of using a turkey call but are you actually having a conversation with the turkeys? Most hunters run their calls with no rhyme or reason where a killer communicates directly with the birds. He knows the message that each call conveys and knows when and how to use that particular call to his benefit.
Turkey killers are not cold-blooded and have an appreciation for nature.
- Values Nature: Don't let their title fool you, killers appreciate and are passionate about nature. They spend a lot of time outdoors and they tend to pay attention to their surroundings, using all of their sensory abilities. Killers are patient and persistent, realizing that in time, nature will tell its story. They realize that the knowledge garnered from nature is also part of the process to becoming a great woodsman.
- Killers Are Stealthy: Although a killer is almost always a skilled turkey caller, he doesn't rely solely on his calling ability. At any moment, a killer may put his turkey call away and use stealth instead. The killer is able to slip in for a surprise attack and will only give away his location with the report of his shotgun. Stealth is directly attributed to being an expert woodsman.
- Killers Are Expert Woodsman: Knowing the ways of the woods is a killer's biggest asset and seems to come natural to them. Some of it is knowledge, shared by elders, but most is learned from many years spent afield, watching, listening and observing all that is around them. The wealth of woodsmanship knowledge is so vast that no one man can know it all, but a killer will know most of the important stuff.
So how do you compare? If most or all of these qualities apply to you, then you're a Straight Up Turkey Killer!