Outdoors Recreation

Get Ready for Spring Turkey Hunting

By Allison Taylor

Turkey hunting in Western North Carolina can be thrilling, frustrating, engaging, exhausting and fulfilling all at once. “With spring being just around the corner, my mind starts to churn with excitement for a new turkey season,” says Ryan Waldrep, outfitter manager and guide with DB bar D Outfitters in Mills River.

A plethora of gear and gadgets are marketed towards enhancing the experience of being out in nature—and, turkey hunting is no different. Decoys, hunting vests, camouflage leaf suits and optics are all accessories available to today’s turkey hunters. While some of those may not always be necessary for success on a spring hunt, a turkey call is a must.

With a diverse offering of turkey calls available, it can be challenging to determine which will be the most effective. There are slate calls, glass calls, aluminum calls, box calls, mouth calls, push button calls, gobbler reed calls, and owl or crow locator calls—all of which have several variations of the same call to fit specific hunting situations. It can be tricky to sift through the myriad of options and settle on a few to bring on a hunt. Waldrep recommends keeping it simple and carrying only what’s needed. “I generally carry four calls with me into the woods on a turkey hunt: a locator call (be it an owl or crow call) to locate gobblers at long range or in the tree before they fly down, a loud friction call (either a box call or a glass call) and two softer-toned friction calls (a slate call or an aluminum call),” he says.

To remove clutter from the turkey vest and simplify the hunting strategy, Waldrep suggests finding four to five calls that work best. Those calls should be versatile, and there should be an organized system for where they’re placed in the vest.

“Practice with those calls and have a general game plan on when and how to use them while hunting,” Waldrep adds.
Youth season begins April 6 and ends April 12, and the spring season runs April 13 through May 11. Whether you’re looking to go on your first turkey hunt, or you’re a seasoned veteran looking to hunt a new area, DB bar D Outfitters offers guided hunts in both North and South Carolina. Whether in a blind or on foot, DB bar D enjoys discussing personal preferences to custom structure a hunt to the hunter. It can run hunts either semi-guided or fully guided, and guides have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with hunters of all abilities, including youth. For more information or to book a trip, visit DBbarD.com.

North River Farms and DB bar D Outfitters are located at 3333 North Mills River Road in Mills River. To learn more, visit NorthRiverFarms.co and DBbarD.com.

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