Tips for Taking Turkeys From A Wheelchair:
It's difficult to take a spring gobbler even when you're able-bodied and can move quickly and easily. Being in a wheelchair and limited to a few spots for a day creates some major challenges. It took me over 11 years to adjust my style of hunting to be successful. After securing a good weapon Mounting System I believe the most important consideration is where you place your Blinds. Like an able-bodied hunter you have to entice the male to come to you which is the exact opposite of the way nature has programmed the mating process. The wheelchair hunter, even with a Wheelchair Designed For Off-Road Travel, is still severely limited in his ability to get around. Blinds should be placed in areas where turkeys are likely to travel. Build them in the summer so they have a chance to blend in and so the game gets use to them. Another consideration is to be situated in such a way that when the turkey becomes visible he is already in shooting range. The birds learn quickly not to stay in an area where they have heard, but cannot see any other turkeys.
The areas I find productive are near dusting and roosting
sites. Places, in the local topography, that turkeys will naturally use. An abandoned farm road connecting two or more fields, a logging road winding through the woods are all places you increase your chances of seeing a bird. Spots near primary food sources, which will vary between spring and fall, also increase your chances of action.
Above is an aerial photo of the area, across the road from my house, where I hunt 98% of the time. After much effort, frustration and trial and error I have taken 5 gobblers in the last 4 years (two being in the fall.) The green line is an old abandon farm road. The yellow lines represent paths connecting the road to the fields and fields to fields. The red dots are the location of my blinds. Birds have been seen from all and harvested from 3.The gobbler I harvested this fall (2014) is shown at the bottom right.
Modification of calls was another learning experience. Fortunately, I was pretty versed with mouth calls and use them almost exclusively now. To have them available my wife has placed a piece of thread through the front side of the call which is then looped around my neck, which allows me to not keep it in my mouth all the time but have it readily available. I also have a slate call designed for one hand use strapped to my leg. The striker and buffing pad are connected to the call with a rawhide shoelace. Other calls can be wrapped with Compression Wrap or Grip Tape for those who have more dexterity.
Subdue the volume and frequency of your calling. Use contentment and flock interaction calls like the pert, purr and cluck, which are usually pretty quiet. Be patient, you’re likely to see fewer birds, but it only takes one to harvest.
A Water Bag on the back of my chair makes sure I remain hydrated. My leg bag is left open so I don’t have to worry about emptying myself. Turkeys have no sense of smell so that is no problem, but the urine smell does not seem to affect the deer either. Pay attention to the happenings around you and enjoy your time in the woods.
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