Turkey hunting expert confident of successful season

PARIS  — Pardon Kyle Randall’s grammar, but turkey hunting “in my opinion is one of the funnest things to do in the out-of-doors.”

Good grammar or not, he has a point. Turkey hunters are getting ready, but like in any other year, their potential success may depend on which season they have.

Randall, who lives in the Paris area, and is host of the Wilderness Journal television program, spoke on turkey hunting recently at Triggertime Outfitters during a seminar. The first season in Area K, which includes local counties, will be April 21-27. The second season is April 28 to May 4. The third season is May 5 to May 31.

“There are a lot of things that are challenging, there are a lot of things that are frustrating, there are a lot of things that quite frankly make we wonder why we just don’t run over to Meijers and get our supper,” Randall said. “The truth of the matter is that turkey hunting doesn’t have to be one of those things. Turkey hunting is what we start everyone of our children with. Turkey hunting is what we try to bring every new person into the out-of-doors into first.”

The reasons for that are simple he added.

“It’s done at a nice time of the year,” Randall continued. “You’ve been inside all winter long and everybody is ready to go do something. I hunt them with a bow and arrow. You can hunt them with a shotgun. There’s a lot of ways to hunt turkeys.”

His grandson, Kyle Jr., 8, shot his first turkey last season.

“If you drew the first season (tags), the most important thing you want to know is location, location, location,” Randall said. “Tom turkeys follow hen turkeys, especially the first week of the season. Trying to break an adult tom off a group of hens is very difficult. So what I tell people is don’t make it difficult.

“Especially early season, turkeys are in a very predictable pattern, even more so than deer and anything you’ll ever hunt. At 10:00, where you see a flock of turkeys today, those same turkeys will be in same place. They pattern very easily.”

It’s not a complicated process, Randall noted.

“If you see them walking across a hayfield a half-hour before sunset, they’re within 500 yards of where they’re going to roost,” he said. “That’s all you need to know. If you want to know exactly where they’re roosting, wait until 30 minutes after sunset, slam the door on your truck, take a pop can and bang it on the tailgate and they’ll gobble at you.

“We don’t generally hunt the morning after a thunderstorm. They don’t gobble. They don’t react well to calls.”

Once a hunter knows where the turkeys are, it’s a matter of finding out where they can intercept them.

“In that early season, a lot of us don’t have opportunites and access to thousands of acres,” Randall said. “The great thing about turkeys is that if that’s a part of their circuit, you can intercept that turkey there. You just have to know when he comes through there.”