By Hunter Wallis, Champion Turkey Caller from Pennsylvania
When it comes to knowing the ways of the Wild Turkey and how to lure a trophy gobbler into range, few hunters are as well-versed as the aptly-named Hunter Wallis. A native of Greenfield Township in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Hunter has been winning national calling contests and harvesting turkeys since before he was in middle school. Over the past decade of turkey calling contests and personal success in the hunting field, he has helped dozens of people harvest their first turkeys.
Here are Hunter’s top five tips to keep in mind when mentoring a first-time turkey hunter:
The number one rule is safety in every aspect. Then be sure to review gun handling, patterning practice, where to aim on the bird, and sitting up next to a tree with as little movement as possible. Also review the sounds to listen for when a gobbler is closing the distance, such as spitting and drumming.
Place the decoys at 20 to 25 yards so there’s some room for error with the shot pattern. Too close is not good for someone with little experience. Sit right beside or behind a new hunter so you can point them in the right direction and help them move when needed.
Always have the hunter point the gun right at the decoy. By waiting until the bird gets right to the decoy you could then get away with more movement when you need to get the bead on him. Help them stay completely still until they could get away with movement.
Remember to tell them to breathe deeply and try to keep their mind off the actual trigger pull until it’s time to shoot. This helps them keep their head down on the stock so that they don’t shoot over the bird.
Help keep the hunter occupied whether it’s playing a game on the phone, taking a brief nap, or hopefully getting into turkey action. If things aren’t going as planned and the hunting is slow you’re better off to head back and take them later or another day. It’s easy for new hunters to get frustrated and bored when the hunting is slow.