What Makes a Successful Hunting Food Plot?

When it comes to food plots, we are just like most of you. First off, we made lots of mistakes when we started. Didn’t check the ph level of our soil and wouldn’t have known how to correct the ph if we did check it. Planted to early, planted to late, and thought if one bag is good two will be even better. Heck, even when stuff started growing, we didn’t know what is was.

What’s the Best Product for Deer Food Plots?

It wasn’t until we grew a quarter acre plot of velvet leaf (A WEED!!!) and posted it on social media with the tag “check out our soybean plot coming in awesome”, only to have several folks ask “where is there a bean in that picture” did we realize we really sucked at this planting food plots stuff.

However, most people that know our family, know we don’t give up very easily, which meant we just had to learn some more and keep trying, and we have done that.

Now we won’t kid anyone and say our plots are picture perfect, but we will say for the last five or six years we have planted plots that have grown what they were supposed to, and we have harvested our share of dandy deer in and around those plots.

We don’t own or lease several thousand acres our largest farm we have a food plot on is a hundred and fifty acres. No big tracks of ground which means no big machinery and no huge food plots either. Our largest plot is just under 3 acres and our smallest is right at a quarter of an acre.

Are there Recommended Placements for Deer Food Plots?           

We do this intentionally so that we can generally hunt an entire food plot from two stand locations, each located for a different wind.

One of, if not the best tip I can give someone looking to start planting food plots is find a seed company you like, that has everything you think you will want, and most importantly that will answer questions, because you are going to have some.

When you find a company that does that, you are on your way. We have worked with several seed companies over the last several years and all of them were helpful, however I must say the folks at Antler King seem to go to another level.

Things you will need to know before you start. What do you want your plot to do? Feed and attract deer all year, at a certain time of the year, or a combination of the two. Next you will need to know where the plot is going, how big it will be, how accessible is it and what tools and equipment will you need, to not only put it in, but maintain the plot as well.

Several factors will contribute to the success of your plot. Soil type and water amounts in your area will more than likely be your two largest variables. Nothing will grow without any water or on top of a rock, just like it won’t grow at the bottom of a pond or in straight sand. Some of this can be tweaked, but some is out of your control, God gave you what he gave you.

We can say this from experience, shooting a deer is always rewarding, but shooting deer standing in a food plot you planted is even more special.

Stay Connected and Keep Informed

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We have added new Raised Hunting products to our store. You can also get discounts on hunting apparel, products and gear at RaisedOutdoors.com.

Elk Hunting in New Mexico: A Lesson in Perseverance

Elk hunting vital zone. Patience Elk Hunting in New Mexico pays off.

Antlers in August

One of the many things we love about the hunting community is that we feel connected to so many of you through our TV Show, through the feedback we get from you on social media, and to the hundreds of you that show up for our in-person events. That was exactly the case this month at our annual Antlers in August event, held at the Raised Hunting headquarters in Winterset, Iowa.

We are so thankful for the hundreds of you that showed up to get ready for deer season. We enjoyed hearing from each of you and having a chance to share stories about scouting for deer and how our TV show Raised Hunting, and our Raised Outdoors App have helped you with your hunting strategies, and made hunting more affordable.

Thanks also to Iowa Ag Radio Network for the great video you shared from the event. 

For those who were unable to attend this year’s Antlers in August, here are a few takeaways from the event that can help you prepare for deer season this fall. 

  • At our seminar, Using Rubbing Trees to Put Your Buck Where You Want, we shared the importance of thinking outside the box. When they won’t come to you, make them! When they do come, capture them, on camera of course! Make just a couple tweaks to how you set your trail camera during pre-season to learn more about the whitetail you have your eye on.  
  • We had a panel of three hunters who had each killed a 200-inch deer. The odds of taking a deer of this caliber are one in a million. So, we had lots of questions for the panel members. Their stories all had one thing in common – strategy. They each spent a lot of time planning their hunt, doing their homework, watching videos, and practicing. 

For more information on how to get your gear ready for this year’s deer season, follow us on Facebook or checkout our gear on the Raised Outdoors store.  

If you missed Antlers in August this year make sure to mark your calendar for next year. We look forward to seeing all of you there.

Season 8 of Raised Hunting Premieres in July on the Outdoor Channel

It is hard to believe that we are set once again to release a new series of  Raised Hunting on Outdoor Channel. Eight years have flown by, and sometimes I catch myself wishing we could go back in time to relive some of those special moments. Thank God we have Raised Outdoors where we can watch any episode from any season at any time. 

As I catch myself reminiscing in the past, I try to remind myself that we can’t have memories if we don’t continue to live our lives to the fullest, and that’s all the fuel we need to push us on to the next adventure, the next season and the next hunt. 

What to Expect this Season

Season 8 is going to bring you an amazing season of beautiful landscape and imagery, dozens of wild animals at close range and a plethora of highs and lows that seem to be synonymous with hunting. More important than all that, will be the stories that unfold from the hearts of a hunting family, leaving us with those gut wrenching lessons we learn from life and from hunting. 

Season 8 will take our family and friends to places where we have never been before, to hunt animals we’d only dreamed about, until this year. We will travel to the west where the mountains seem to stretch beyond the clouds, and where the plains are so vast that even the savviest of hunters would wonder how anyone could get within bow range of anything out here.

The bugle of the bull elk will pierce the silence of another beautiful New Mexico sunrise, the roaring gobble of a turkey will sit us up a little taller in our chair, and when an antelope continues to close the distance, you will feel like you are there with us. 

Shotguns will echo in the distance as birds fall from the sky, and arrows will find their mark as they silently but humanely find their way into the exact spot we had spent hours dreaming about.  

Season Highlights

Maybe the highlight will be the elk Warren calls in, the unique whitetail that David has been seeking his entire life, or maybe it will be the second mountain lion that Karin encounters at eight yards. 

Whatever it is, it won’t be the same for any of us, each of us will find that peace, that part of Raised Hunting’s Season 8 that will hit us when and where we weren’t expecting it. It will be that moment that will stick with us and remind us that nothing lasts forever, and soon that moment will be a memory, and we will be left once again wishing for more. God willing we will be working on providing just that, another season of moments and memories. 

Raised Hunting Air times 2021 Season 8 on Outdoor Channel

Monday 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday at 12:30 a.m.

Wednesday 12:30 p.m.

Thursday 6:30 a.m.

God Bless and Good Hunting-David “Dad” Holder

Why Feed Your Deer!

When it comes to scouting for your next big buck there are tons of ways to go about it. From checking trails, rubs and scrapes in the dead of winter when the woods seem to look like an architectural blueprint of where every deer lives, to spending your spring picking up antlers that tell you exactly who is still out there, and what kind of potential they really have.  Maybe you’re like us and you spend your summers driving the dirt roads in your area hoping to actually lay eyes on that dream buck. Or you want something tangible for your efforts, so you strategically place trail cameras out to catch a picture of the deer nobody else knows about. Whether you already do all of these things, or none of them, our goal is to give you some proven fine-tuning points that will help you get the most out of any scouting you do.  In May or June the only thing going on in the deer woods is bucks beginning to grow their antlers back and does are starting to have little ones. This wouldn’t seem like a very good time to do much scouting for whitetails and for the most part you would be right. However, there are a couple things you could be doing.

Set out deer feed

Believe it or not, May and June can be a great time to set out food blocks or mineral blocks and put a camera on them. Yes, it’s true you won’t get a picture of a fully racked giant buck, but what you will get is deer finding your feed or mineral site which will help in the next couple months when the bucks’ racks are fully developed, and they return to your smorgasbord.

Add protein to their diet 

The great thing about doing this is you can be improving the health of your deer herd by feeding them beneficial nutrients they may not be getting elsewhere. Feeding minerals at this time is extremely advantageous for the does as they are under a great deal of stress from both giving birth and raising their newborns. While feeding your deer during this time may not deliver immediate results, anytime your deer are healthier they have the potential to grow larger, because when they have access to certain nutrients, they have a better opportunity to reach their maximum potential. Even though we do utilize feeders in some areas, one of our favorite ways to feed is by using a pre-made block. They are easy to handle and carry into remote locations, they also seem to last longer than dumping bags of food on the ground.

One quick tip: don’t put your blocks in random locations, keep them in areas where deer are naturally feeding. Placing food in the wrong area can actually do more harm than good. For more information on how to attract and feed deer to support growth, check out our YouTube channel, or become a member of Raised Outdoor and follow along all year long.

Tracking, Seeing What We Can’t

2020 Opening Day of the Iowa Gun season will go down as one of the most memorable ever for me. Not because I killed a giant Iowa buck or that I even carried a gun or hunted at all. No, it will go down in history for me because for the first time I was able to share with others what I have known for years. Ol’ Dan, our black English Lab, is not only an integral part of our family, with his never complaining attitude, his desire to go with us whenever or wherever we go, but also for a talent that very few realize he has. 

What many don’t know is Dan is one of the best tracking dogs I have ever witnessed. 

Last night I received a call from a good friend and a multi state chairman for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), AJ Duchene. When he called I could hear the concern in his voice and the sincerity of how bad he needed some help. AJ had shot the biggest buck of his life and had been able to follow blood for several hundred yards only to lose the blood trail when the big buck crossed a mowed Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) field. A difficult place to find a sparse blood trail. Add the loss of light and now you have a large predicament. 

I assured AJ that Dan is not a miracle worker, but if you have a deer that’s been fatally hit and the trail hasn’t been torn up yet, I wouldn’t bet against him. 

When Dan and I arrived around 7:30pm, we met up with AJ and his friend. The worry and disappointment was evident as I looked at AJ.  A place where many hunters have been and a place none of us ever want to return to. The two of them took us to where the blood trail started. I collared Dan, hooked on his lead and gave the fellas a few instructions on how Dan works and what I would need from them. At that point I brought Dan over to a leaf covered in blood and gave him the words he loves more than any other, “Find It”! 

We were off, as I listened to Dan’s nose absorbing the frosty air we moved quickly from one draw to the next, passing pink ribbon after pink ribbon where AJ had marked blood earlier. Thus confirming that Dan was dialed in and was making no haste in scooting up the ravines and through the thickest of cover. If the deer went left, so did Dan. If it went right, he was on it. As the pink ribbons trickled out, so did the blood, or at least to the human eye it did, but to Dan this was just part of the game that defines him.  Without any hesitation, Dan headed across the big field. Nose down and like a man on a mission, he took me deep into the field only to make a hard right hand turn. I hadn’t seen blood now for that last couple hundred yards but I could tell my buddy was confident in where he was taking us, so without question I followed. We entered another section of timber and there it was like a glowing beacon, a red speck on a leaf confirming we are on this deers heels. I can hear Dan sniffing but I also hear my comrades several yards behind us talking in disbelief about how dead on Dan is. Right about then we head out into another field and again to the human eye blood is non-existent,  to Dan it’s like reading the newspaper and he continues to pull us closer and closer. Again, I want to doubt because I can’t visually confirm what he knows, but again I trust him, and sure enough we enter the next section of timber and again, I see a drop of blood on a leaf. 

We are now thirty minutes or more in on this journey and at least a half mile from the start of the blood trail. Then, it happens, two or three big washouts and Dan is obviously struggling to stay on the long trail. I recognize he needs dad’s help and I turn him around and we go back twenty yards to find our last blood. Now, the track is back on. It was as if he said “dad, appreciate the help, but I’ll take it from here” and we cruise through this section of timber until we hit a fence, Dan stops, and for the first time I can see him looking at me confused as if he is trying to tell me something. I assume it’s the fence that is giving him pause, so I ask my buddies to look closely around the fence for any evidence the buck might have gone over or under. I am going to circle Dan back again and see what’s going on. Not wanting to worry AJ, I don’t say anything to anyone about how confused I am by Dan’s demeanor as he seems to have lost drive to keep going, which is extremely odd since he has been so confident. 

So Dan and I start to head back up the trail we came down, only this time Dan is working just down wind of the trail, so we are probably 4 to 5 yards west of our original path. At that moment I was in disbelief, there in front of us was exactly what Dan is trained and so talented to find. Dan had not lost interest nor had he lost his drive, he was simply trying to figure out why we weren’t hooping and hollering! For the last 2 or 3 minutes we had been standing about 5 yards from the deer! 

At the moment when I hollered “Boys we got ourselves a deer” is when it became emotional for me as I could hear the relief in AJ’s voice as he asked the question we all ask, “are you sure?” My answer was, “yes AJ, unless someone else also shot a big buck tonight that followed your deer’s blood trail, we have found your deer!” AJ dropped to his knees, both to admire an absolutely beautiful buck, but also to thank his new found friend. I listened as AJ thanked Dan in the dark almost talking to him as if he was a young child, “thank you Dan, thank you for bringing me here.”

What a trail it had been, I could not have been more proud of Dan. As I drove home I called another good friend to tell him how excited I was about what had happened and what Dan had done for someone. I guess he could hear the excitement as I explained every little detail when he interrupted me and said you sound as excited as when Warren and Easton killed their first deer. All I could say is, “I am, I am so glad God gave us Dan and that I got to witness him bring two grown men to tears!”  Man I love this dude. It would be wrong if I didn’t thank Dan for being the faithful, loyal companion friend, and healer he is. But it would also be wrong if I didn’t thank the landowner that allowed AJ on to have this experience. The two biggest thank you’s have to go to Jeremy Moore of Dog Bone Outdoors & Sporting Goods Company, the most amazing dog trainer I have ever come in contact with, and the state of Iowa for finally hearing the voices of the Iowa Blood Trackers Association and giving dogs like Dan a chance to make dreams come true. Thank you all. You have made us more ethical, better as people and as hunters, for allowing us to utilize one of the greatest tools God ever gave us. 

But most of all thank you God, for giving us Dan, and all the other dogs that find their way farther into our hearts and souls than we ever dreamed possible.

David Holder 

Founder, Raised Hunting 

How to Choose a Broadhead

Choosing broadheads can be a very difficult task. You will get a large array of varying opinions that people are often very passionate about. When it comes to choosing a broadhead there is several things to consider. How much weight am I pulling? How heavy are my arrows? What kind of game will I be hunting? All of these factors play a very important role when it comes to choosing the best broadhead for you! Lets start with the different types of broadheads.

Fixed Blade Broadheads

Fixed blade broadheads date back to the stone age. People long before our time used them to take down huge game! The Native Americans used them to hunt buffalo, deer, and other species to survive. A fixed blade broadhead means there is no mechanical or moving parts on the body of the broadhead. They are built into one solid piece making them very reliable and durable.  As the old saying goes, “if its not broke, don’t fix it”. Many hunters today still rely on fixed blade’s.  Hunters today that choose to use fixed blade’s typically do so for a few reasons.

  1. No fear of mechanical failure.
  2.  Typically they get great penetration cutting through ribs, and bone well.
  3.  Cut on contact, as soon as the broadhead touches an animal it will begin cutting anything in its way.
  4. Tough and durable. Fixed blades are very tough, it takes a lot to bend blades or warp the form of a fixed blade broadhead. This allows for the broadhead to be re-used after sharpening. You can also find fixed blade broadheads that have replaceable blades such as the Thunderhead Nitro.
  5. They are extremely sharp
  6. Great for lighter poundage bows or short draw lengths.

On the contrary there are also reasons that you may not want to choose a fixed blade.

  1. Smaller cutting diameter compared to mechanical broadheads.
  2. Do not always shoot the same as field points. With fixed blade broadheads it is imperative to shoot the broadheads to confirm they are hitting the same as your field points. It is not uncommon for your broadheads to hit slightly different than your field points. A well tuned bow is most likely to produce the same impact points from both heads.

As you can see fixed blade broadheads have many positive attributes to them. When it comes to reliability it is tough to beat the fixed blade broadhead.

Mechanical Broadheads

Mechanical Broadheads  are much newer to the hunting world. Shockingly the first mechanical was created in 1959 but they didn’t really catch on until the last 20 years or so. Mechanical broadheads are composed of  a tip or ferule, the blades, and the body of the broadhead. Mechanicals work by holding the blades inside of the body of the broadhead until impacting an object. Upon impact the blades will then expand. There are two main benefits of a mechanical broadhead. One, they are typically very accurate and fly much more similar to field points. Two, they often provide a much larger cutting diameter. Most fixed blade broadheads will have a cutting diameter around an inch and a half or smaller, mechanicals on the other hand often have cutting diameters of two inches or larger. Many hunters love the mechanical for a variety of reasons.

  1. They typically fly exactly the same or extremely close to field points.
  2. They offer larger cutting diameters.
  3. Typically provide great blood trails due to the large wound channels.

The same as fixed blades, mechanicals also have drawbacks.

  1. The possibility that the broadhead does not function properly. For instance not opening, opening to early etc.
  2. Penetration. If you are pulling lightweight or have a very short draw length it will be more difficult to get good penetration out of a mechanical due to the extra force used to open the blades.
  3. Durability. Many mechanicals are very durable but their is times where you may only get one use out of a broadhead. Since the blades are not built into the body of the broadhead they are much more susceptible to bend when encountering ribs/bone.

As you can see regardless of the broadhead you choose there will be pro’s and con’s to each. It is imperative to choose the best based on your situation.

Different Broadheads for Different Game? 

The animals that you are hunting can also play a large role. Many people will say you shouldn’t hunt elk with mechanicals. We have taken several elk with mechanicals that all died quickly and ethically. At the end of the day an effective broadhead is only as good as the shot placed on the animal. If you have a draw length of 25″ inches a draw weight of 45 lbs and you plan to hunt elk. It would be wise to explore fixed blade broadhead options due to the fact that Elk are very large animals, penetration is ideal and a fixed blade is by far the safest option. If you have a 29″ draw length pulling 70 lbs, this person has an option of fixed blades or mechanicals. With the right shot either will do exactly what it needs to.  When it comes to big game species we aim to get the most penetration possible or a  clean “pass through”. This is true for all big game species across North America with the exception of Turkeys. Turkeys are the only animal we hunt that we don’t want a clean pass through. The reasoning for this is turkeys have the ability to fly. If you shoot a turkey in the vitals, get a clean pass through and he flies off you will likely never recover the bird. For this reason we want the arrow to stay in the bird, this makes it very difficult for them to escape. Broadheads that “reverse open” like the one below take away a large amount of inertia preventing the arrow from passing through.

Summary 

At the end of the day it all comes down to shot placement. If you don’t put your arrow in the vital organs the broadhead you chose won’t save your bacon. Understand your bow, your capabilities, as well as those of your equipment. Regardless of the broadhead you use, you should only take shot angles that are ethical and high percentage shots. Fixed Blades and Mechanicals are both great broadhead options! Each will work great assuming you have taken the above factors into consideration!

David killed this large mature bull with a mechanical broadhead.

David’s 2020 Spring Solo Turkey Hunt

The other morning I set out to go turkey hunting, which is pretty much the norm for us at this time of year. But it was different this time, this time I was hunting by myself (no camera man) well that’s not exactly true, I would be filming myself. Which normally you would hear me complain about, but this time was somewhat intentional.

See years ago when I first started turkey hunting, Karin and I had no money and there wasn’t much of a selection of decoys and other fancy turkey gear like vests and box call holders etc…. if you wanted something like that you made it yourself.

Well the last two weeks or so, we have noticed that our Iowa birds seemed more educated than normal with several call ins, only to have the birds hang up just out of shooting range. Not wanting the turkeys to win these battles I began thinking how can I get close to them and be able to get a good shot? What I came up with surprised me at how good I thought it could be, but I would need to test it to be sure, and only having one I couldn’t take the chance of bringing someone else with me.

Which brings me to the other mornings hunt. I arrived 45 minutes before sun up and snuck onto a ridge I hoped still held some of the turkeys that had been whooping us the last couple weeks.

With my new decoy I snuck in closer than normal having the confidence that they would not know what was up. When the first booming gobble bellowed only 60 yards in front of me I felt my pulse begin to quicken and as the woods came alive and gobbles could be heard from almost every direction, all I could think about was “how can I properly thank God for a morning like this”? So, I did what I thought was the best thing I could, I bowed my head and said “thank you”, hoped that was enough and threw out a couple soft yelps only to be cut off by several gobbles that almost shook the ground.

Not only were the birds on the ground already, but I now could see them and they obviously had seen my new invention and were headed right at me. Only a couple minutes and they are now 40 yards and closing, I am thinking the big strutter at 22 yards is close enough, but I have to find a shot through a few brushy spots. As I am concentrating on getting a shot I never saw the other toms sneaking in at 7 yards.

Even though my decoy was working perfectly it couldn’t hide the oh _ _ _ _! look on my face when they saw me moving to adjust the camera. Fortunately the decoy played such a key role they never spooked completely, they just moved out to 15 yards. Time to really test the new decoy I came to full draw and they never had a clue, now all I needed to do was pick out the best shot. I began to focus on the head of the closest tom since they had gone down hill just a bit I couldn’t get a good shot at the shiny spot. The head it is, I thought, you got this just put the pin right on his head and you got him, I squeezed the trigger and he ran off.

What the heck that shot felt awesome, but I could tell it was a clean miss. Wait a minute they only ran 80 yards and they are already gobbling again at other distant toms. I wonder if I could use this decoy to sneak in on them again?

Wanting to do the ethical thing first, I needed to be sure it had been a clean miss, so I snuck over found my arrow, licked my wounds, and moved on. It wasn’t until later that I reviewed the footage and found the little limb just in front of the red head that saved the turkeys life.

So now I am heading after them once again, and as I move across the ridge with the decoy held in front of me, as it is mounted securely on my bow I am positive they will have no idea a hunter is approaching, and I was right, but before I can get to them another tom has seen me and is running right at what he thinks is an intruding tom on his turf.

“Damn cameras” as I caught a glimpse of the tom running at me I sat down immediately and began trying to set the tripod, the tom makes it to 18 yards as I am still fiddling with getting the camera situated with only one hand.

The extra movement confuses the tom and he turns to leave, but a few yelps and he is now walking around me. At 18 yards we square off with a thicket of brush between us. I can see him strutting, feel him drumming and hear every spit as if he was spitting on me, but I can’t shoot through the brush. Eventually he walks up the hill toward the other gang of gobblers. So I follow, and then like magic there they are, I can see a bird strutting at 45 yards and the other toms walking around him. I contemplate my next move with the worst thorny thicket between me and the big gobblers I think I an stuck where I’m at.

Then I look again and there is a very faint deer trail going through the thicket, only problem is, it ain’t gonna be quiet at all. I figure I got nothing to lose and I bale off into the tangle of thorns busting my way through. As I cuss and squirm and put my hat back on for the 3rd time is when I realize these turkeys are gobbling more at what they must be able to see as an approaching tom making a ton a racquet coming through the brush. This is crazy and incredible. I now realize I have closed the distance to 25 yards, but again I only have a small opening to shoot through.

I am within bow range and this morning has been more turkey action than I can remember in years, so there’s no wonder why my heart is racing and I am frantically trying to get the camera set and find a clear lane to send an arrow down range at the big strutting tom. So here I am again, farting with the camera just about to get it fully focused on the 25 yard toms when I hear a “CLUCK”, the kind that says something is wrong hear!

You got to be kidding me, again a tom has popped out at 7 or 8 yards and has seen something with this intruding tom that doesn’t look quite right. Well this time I come to full draw and none of of the others no whats up, but the “Clucker” reminding me of the doe that blows at you repeatedly 30 yards away from your favorite deer stand is making my blood boil more and more. If you do that one more time I am shooting you!- I thought. CLUCK, whack I shot him square in his back and he only took a step or two and fell over.

The other turkeys never had a clue and took several minutes to finally work off. It wasn’t until they had worked off a 100 yards or so, that I felt I could crawl up and find what I thought was one of the big toms. To my surprise my big tom was actually a clucking Jake. But I couldn’t get the smile off my face and the thought of all the encounters and how I had been hard hunting for several hours now and how many encounters I had been in.

Hunting Afternoon Turkeys

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Hunting Afternoon Turkeys

Nothing can compare to the sound of turkeys gobbling at dawn. The anticipation of when and where they will fly down and listening to the forest awaken around you is an experience that can be described as being surreal. Not every morning is a success though and who wants to stop hunting when the morning is over?

Many hunters don’t like to hunt turkeys in the afternoon because they feel that their success ratio is better in the morning. I agree with that thought process, however we also realize that the turkeys are often up feeding and making their way back to their roosting spot in the late afternoon.

Our family has killed many birds in the afternoon including the one Karin killed in the photo, and it just happened to be an evening hunt. Here are a couple tips I have learned that will help your afternoon hunts.

1. Know the land (Feeding/Strutting and Roosting areas)

It’s imperative to know the land whenever and wherever you hunt anything, but afternoon turkey hunts make it an even more critical piece of the puzzle.

With that being said, here is what I am referring to. Knowing where your birds are roosting and where they typically spend their days can lead you to travel routes and corridors, which can lead you to places where you can set up to get a shot.

In western states this can be easily figured out because roost trees are hard to come by and it’s not uncommon to see dozens of birds roosted in one tree along a fence line or field edge. This is obviously with the exception of areas like “National Forests” but for the rest of the country finding an exact tree can be more difficult.

However, finding a general area is usually possible with a bit of pre-hunt scouting. During my scouting trips I am looking for droppings, feathers, roosting areas and feeding areas.

Keep in mind on sunny days turkeys prefer to scratch around in the hardwoods often times spending all day never leaving the timber.

On rainy days, turkeys will often be found in fields, looking for worms and other insects that have been uncovered by the rain. These rainy days can be great days for scouting by simply driving dirt roads in your area and glassing turkeys from the truck. (Caution: don’t blow calls at them just to hear them gobble or for any other reason, this is just educating turkeys).

Now, on either day the birds will start their day by flying down into their favorite strutting area and spending the first few hours strutting and breeding, but the afternoons are most often quite different with the birds not returning to this area until just before dark to fly back into the roost trees.

So, for us the key to killing afternoon turkeys is finding the feeding areas where they will spend a couple hours before heading back to the roost.

Knowing what fields your turkeys will head to before dark or where they will be heading to fly back up for the night, might be more key than the best decoy or call, because if you find that feeding area you will find turkeys doing turkey things long before dark.

One last tip on location is once you find the right field or area they are feeding in during the afternoon hours, is key in on the west side of the field or anywhere that gets shaded a few hours before dark. This is where big toms like to strut around along the edge while the hens grab dinner. The hotter it gets the more important the shade becomes in picking your set up spot, on overcast or rainy days anywhere in the field can be the right set up.

2.Change your Calling for the afternoons

Use locator calls more in the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong we use locator calls throughout the day, but they become even more important in the afternoon when you don’t know exactly where you want to set up. The reason they are so important is by using a crow or owl call you can keep from setting up like a mad man after you blew the perfect cutting sequence only to get a gobble closer than expected. Had you used a crow call and got the same response you wouldn’t have to worry about the gobbler headed your way and catching you before you’re ready. Therefore, remember that a locator call can help find birds without giving away your position.

Some of David’s favorite calls : https://woodhavencustomcalls.com/shop/the-cherry-real-hen/

https://woodhavencustomcalls.com/product-category/turkey-calls/friction-calls/purr-pot/

For more information on hunting turkeys visit? Raised Outdoors

When it comes to making the sexy sounds of seductive hen, afternoons need a little more thought. This one might be the most important tip but if your like me it’s also the most difficult. That is limit your calling. Typically turkeys aren’t as vocal in the afternoons as they are in the mornings, and over calling and pressuring the birds to respond can cause them to not respond or even work away without you ever knowing they were around. So I do most afternoons is limit my calling meaning I often never make any sounds until I hear or see turkeys first. This way I know that are up and somewhat receptive to my calling. The other is when I feel like I need to call I tone it down and call less often lot’s of times only yelping a few times every 30 minutes or longer. If they are around they usually will let you know and then you can start responding to them and increase the intensity as they dictate.

Wild Turkey Recipe Raised Hunting feature

Wild Turkey Recipe

Grilled Turkey Breast  

Serving Size 3 1/2 oz 

  • Calories 163 
  • Fat 1 
  • Carbs 0 
  • Protein 26g 

Cut turkey breast into thin strips and put them in a gallon ziploc bag

Add the following sauces or your own creation:  

  • ? cup Soy Sauce 
  • ? cup Teriyaki Sauce 
  • ? cup Worcestershire Sauce  

Shake bag so that all turkey is covered, let it marinade for 24-48 hours in the fridge.  

Pull pieces out and place on grill rotating every 2-3 minutes in order to keep them from burning.  

Wild Turkey Recipe Raised Hunting feature