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The Natural Dangers and Distractions That Can End Your Turkey Hunt

The Natural Dangers And Distractions That Can End Your Turkey Hunt

Almost every turkey hunter knows that luck can change quickly when trying to call in one of nature’s shrewdest birds into close range. Many things can happen that can modify the outcome of making a harvest. The turkey could see the hunter; hens could take over and draw the tom away; coyotes could scare the turkeys off, and so on. Yet, many hunters do not consider that a tiny tick could end a turkey hunt.

A wild turkey’s most effective defense is its incredible eyesight. Imagine a big tom who has been taking his sweet time coming to your call as you have stayed motionless for what seems like hours. Finally, there he is, coming into the field in full strut. Moments before he gets into shooting range, you feel a small bug crawling up your leg. The itching begins, and you can’t take it anymore. You move to scratch away the pesky bug as the gobbler spooks and flies away. It is then that you realize a tiny tick, no bigger than the tip of an ink pen, has ruined your turkey hunt – how devastating. Unfortunately, those small spring ticks have ended many turkey hunters’ entire season due to bringing on sickness; and, in severe cases, even death from the disease that can spread from a tick bite.

Especially for those turkey hunters who are beginning to hunt for the first time: I never want to scare someone into thinking that turkey hunting is a dangerous sport. However, it is vital to share realistic possibilities that can occur when hunting as well as easy precautions that can be taken that could prevent a busted turkey hunt or even save a life.

The Natural Dangers And Distractions That Can End Your Turkey Hunt

 How To Dress & Properly Treat Clothing When Turkey Hunting

 Some of todays new designs from hunting garment manufacturers feature breakthrough designs that help protect turkey hunters from insects, bugs, and ticks when hunting. When dressing for a turkey hunt, it is vital to keep all exposed skin covered with camouflage. The most significant reason for complete skin coverage is to keep it concealed from the eyes of turkeys. Any unnecessary movement or flash of colors, such as socks, skin, or colored base layers, can cause a turkey to spook instantly. Clothing designs such as the new Blocker Outdoors Finisher Turkey Series provide excellent concealment by covering the entire body in Mossy Oak Obsession or Bottomland camouflage. The new Finisher Series also features Internal Stretch Cuffs found in the inner sleeves of the jackets and on the inner ankle areas of the pants that keep crawling insects and ticks from getting on the hunter’s bare skin.

Wearing skin-protecting clothing, gloves, and a facemask can also help prevent crawling insects or ticks from making their way to the skin. Also, wearing rubber-style boots or boots that fit up the upper leg or tight around the ankle is essential. Recently, I have been wearing Lacrosse Footwear’s new AlphaTerra boots. These boots provide a comfortable fit like a tennis shoe, yet zip up to a 6” height around the ankle. Because of the rubber material, I spray my boots with a tick spray containing permethrin. The combination of the Internal Stretch Cuffs on my Blocker pants, rubber boots, and permethrin spray give me the protection and comfort to hunt the entire season without worrying about crawling insects and ticks.

It is essential to treat clothing, turkey vest, and footwear with permethrin multiple times throughout the season to provide the adequate protection needed from ticks.

The Natural Dangers And Distractions That Can End Your Turkey Hunt

Snake Protection

 While talking with a local old-timer about his years of turkey hunting, he recollected an experience that brought out a long-time fear of mine. While sitting next to a large oak tree, calling to a spring gobbler, the man recalled hearing a steady movement in the leaves for several minutes. He wondered if the turkey he had heard throughout the morning was slowly making its way from behind his setup to come into range. As the sound got louder and much closer, he got the surprise of his life when the source of the sound was revealed. A poisonous copper head snake crawled from behind him and eventually in between the man’s feet as he stayed motionless, trying not to spook the snake. When the slithering snake finally passed the man, he surrendered his position and booked out of the area.

After hearing the man’s story, I spent the next few years looking over my surroundings each time I sat down in the woods while turkey hunting. As with deadly tick bites, a poisonous snake biting a hunter is rare, yet still a real possibility.

Turkey hunters in the southern United States, such as Texas, often hunt areas where snakes are plentiful. To be protected from an unexpected snake encounter, hunters should always wear snake protection such as the Blocker Outdoors Snake Gaiters or Snake Chaps when hunting. It is also vital for hunters to carry a cellular phone and let a friend or loved one know where they will be hunting and an estimated time that they will be home. Again, turkey hunting should never be considered a dangerous sport. Yet, safety is the most critical factor of every hunt, whether keeping safe from an unexpected snake or keeping those pesty ticks and insects away.

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