NCBA March 2023

By: Talmage Dunn

Hello, again my fellow archery hunters! At this point in our season, small game hunting is closing or is closed. Spring is about to be upon us, although we haven’t had a very rough winter season this year… can you imagine it … the temperatures have been in the 70s and 80s in February? It’s like everyone says… if you don’t like the weather today just wait a day or two and it will change.

     The major hunting seasons are over but there is still one more big game season to go….Spring Gobbler season!! There is nothing like hearing that gobbler come down from the roost the first thing in the morning…it just exudes joy in your soul. It seems to bring the day alive. I hope you have been or have started scouting and planning your Turkey hunting activities. Have you set up a good blind, using either a store-bought blind or a natural blind? If using a store-bought blind, have you practiced shooting out of it? If using a natural blind, did you set it up so you have gaps to shoot through? If Are you planning to use a decoy or are you just going to call Turkey in? Are you using a mouth call, a wing one caller, or a scraper call? I have used both and take both in the woods with me. Whichever one you use you need to practice with it. Some of you may not be financially suited to get a mouth call,,..I have been there…but I learned a way to use the bottom half of a ballpoint pen to call as if I had a wing one caller. It works just as well… you get a nice resonance from it. I still play with one in the house much to the annoyance of my wife. However, if you or a friend happen to harvest a Turkey or has given you the wing from a nice goose, you can make your own wing bone caller. If you use a mouth call…practice with it to get it formed to the inner shape of your mouth. Practice, practice, practice with it. A scraper call(box call) must be practiced. Learn the different calls a Turkey makes. YouTube has some excellent tutorials using each of these calls. 

    An interesting story from my past…the first time I saw a Turkey in the woods, I had seen them on Turkey farms and in the zoo but never up close and personal. I had climbed to the top of Fore mountain in the Covington, Virginia area of the George Washington National Forest and set up this beautiful natural blind (I was deer hunting). I had been setting there for a couple of hours and I heard this scraping coming down the trail in front of me …. I got my bow (55# recurve) ready to draw and shoot….. low and behold…I dawn these strange birds not 10 feet from me..I said to myself what are those ..then it dawned on me …turkeys…they were so beautiful..I leaned up in the blind and they took off flying. It was an amazing experience. After that, I became a confirmed Turkey hunter, sometimes with a bow and sometimes with a gun.

     One more personal story… I mentioned practicing calls in our house … my son and I both would call to each other throughout the day and evenings. On the first day of one of our seasons, we were going to go hunt at the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area in Virginia. We got up around 4:30 am (1-hour drive from our home, we lived in Virginia at the time) and left. My wife, Lord bless her, woke up around 8:00 am and heard all of these Turkey calls…. she came down the stairs wondering why we hadn’t left to go hunting. She thought something was wrong… she looked and called for us.. then she heard more calls… then she started laughing. We had a pet cockatiel. We had done so much practicing in the house it started mimicking our calls. That was a most interesting day when we got home.

   I can’t emphasize how important. It is to practice with your bow on a Turkey-sized target. Paper Turkey targets just don’t do it for me. 3-D targets bought from the stores or online are a bit too much of a bite from my wallet. I make my own and you can also. Take an empty 2-liter soda bottle. paint it black, brown, and gray…then get some of that spray foam that swells and becomes like styrofoam and put it in the bottle.. give it 24 hours to swell and cure….voila you have your own 3-D practice target. Make several of these … you can get plenty of practice.

  If you get the opportunity to join the North Carolina Bowhunters Association do so. There are plenty of perks. There are new friends to make…and you will be part of an organization that aids in the continuation of Bowhunting in North Carolina.

Respectfully submitted,

Talmage Dunn, District. 1 Wildlife,e Representative