"To me the ultimate in wild turkey autumn hunting, which will provide the individual with more thrills and personal satisfaction, is utilizing the old fashioned dog-blind-calling techniques. It is my conviction that to harvest a wild turkey without calling the birds within shooting range is a complete waste of a resource; and the hunter unknowingly is deprived of one of nature's most exciting experiences! The skillful luring of a magnificent trophy close enough to make the ultimate choice of either pulling the trigger, or granting life to the big bird is, to me, the greatest challenge." C.H. 'Kit' Shaffer
"The fall hunt will never be as popular as the spring, because the fall hunt is a lot more work. In the fall, the turkey is not sitting out there on a limb, telling the world where he is!" Larry Case
F & S: How To Hunt Turkeys in the Fall
Photos © Monte Loomis Wild Turkey photo book
|Fall turkey hunting with a dog - the least known
and best kept secret in the country.
Looking for a unique gift for a turkey hunter? Give a Membership to Turkey Dog.
THIS IS A BARKING NEWS UPDATE
Sign the Petition for the Alabama Governor to keep their fall turkey season (info) - background. VICTORY
Wild Turkey Dog book 4th Edition, Revised 3/13
Alberta, BC Canada & Nordic treeing dog collective
Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan
Did American Indians teach colonists to hunt turkey with dogs? 1606 Apalache Mtn map & 1890 hunt w/Indian Guide pictures.
Old turkey dog photo - G. Mixon.
Surprised photo - HumaneWatch.org
Caution sign © 2012 - 2013 AWTHDA
To search for something on this site, use the search box at the bottom of this page.Back in the 1960's, farm boys knew to be careful driving across cut corn fields with trucks, because if your old tire hit a cut corn stalk at the right angle, it could pierce the tire. Now 50 years later, you need Kevlar tires to drive across genetically modified organisms (GMO) corn fields. ATV's & trucks be warned, it's like driving across a Field of Spears.
Discuss Turkey Dogs at the Virginia turkey forum.
100 lb. dogs pull ice sleds on patrol for 12,000 miles
in 5 years, sleep outside in -60F.
Looking for the antidote to Nature Deficit Disorder in Children, or a reason to get outside and get more exercise? Then check out all the reasons to get a puppy for fall turkey hunting!
a few writers that explain why we love fall turkey hunting
Steve Hickoff is one. Read his contributions to Outdoor Life, in the StrutZone.
Classic Windshield Art by Hickoff's Luna - 2012 Gold Award -
American Wild Turkey Hunting Dog Association Art Gallery & Graffitti Exhibition
Fall and winter turkey hunting with your dog is an American tradition, and part of our nation's outdoor heritage. Americans have pursued wild turkeys in the fall and winter with their dog since colonial times. It has a much, much longer tradition than the spring turkey hunting that we know today (MT, NE, UT, TN and Ontario allow the use of a dog to hunt turkey in the spring). By 1900 the wild turkey had been nearly exterminated nation-wide. This was due to the pioneers and the market hunters, plus the wide-spread habitat destruction - cutting the forests and clearing the land.
Beginning in the 1950's, our state game departments restored the wild turkey by trapping and transplanting native birds, through the sportsmen-funded Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act also known as Pittman-Robertson. They began a spring 'gobbler only' season, because in the spring it's easier to distinguish the gobblers from the hens, and to prevent shooting the hens they had just transplanted. By 1966, the restoration was declared 'broadly successful' The Wild Turkey - Its History and Domestication; A.W. Schorger, Univ. of OK Press. By 1967, The Wildlife Society declared it 'spectacularly successful' nationwide.
..............................................The wild turkey has since proliferated throughout its original range and beyond. Once again we're able to enjoy the traditional fall and winter hunt with our dog. 'The fat of the wild turkey is spread throughout the flesh of the wild bird and renders it considerably more savory. And the best time to hunt them is in the fall and winter.' The Wild Turkey - It's History and Domestication; A.W. Schorger
Since discovering that turkeys respond to calls that sound like a rusty barn door hinge, spring and fall turkey hunters have combined their love of dogs, and the call making craft. In spring, hunters might lure love-sick gobblers with a simple cluck or hen yelp. During the fall and winter hunt, good calls are as important as a good dog, especially the keekee, yelp and gobble.
Durk Stark contributed the center picture below of his traditional wingbone calls. Each feather and matching wingbone call is from a sub-species of the wild turkey, and the drawing on each bone depicts that particular sub-species' feather.
While some hunters wait in ambush, shoot flushing birds, or conduct drives, by far the most exciting method is scattering the flock with a well trained dog, and then calling a turkey back in. The wild turkey is capable of out-running a galloping horse in a short sprint, so hunters rarely scatter flocks by running at them.
"Every fall you read the same old stories the suburban nimrods write about running toward a flock, trying to scatter them, then calling the young turkeys back. But it is silly, and dangerous, to be out in the woods running with a shotgun in your hands, trying to alarm and break up a group of turkeys."
That's where a specially trained dog comes in. There's no more guarantee you'll get a bird. It's just more rewarding, watching your dog work, then trying to call the birds back in, while your dog sits quietly by your side.
|Patricia Shih is a
singer-songwriter specializing in music for children and
families. 'Harvey the Turkey' contains Wild Turkey
photos found via TurkeyDog.Org (compliments of Monte
Loomis - 2nd row above).
Harvey the Turkey (watch on YouTube and make a comment) or watch it here:
Her message is more about the choices we make, than it is about turkeys (read the lyrics). Or as Patricia said: "You got the message exactly right: how we each have the power to make choices every day of our lives, and it's the choices we make that can help determine our destiny." Harvey the Turkey lyrics © 2007, video © 2012 Patricia Shih
"Some hunters, or rather some writers, claim that the only time the wild turkey should be hunted is in the autumn and winter, and not in the spring. I have a different idea all together, and claim that the turkey should not be hunted before November, if then, December being better... I do not believe there is any safer way of bringing a turkey to bag than by the judicious employment of a good turkey dog, and by that I mean a dog trained especially to hunt turkeys." Chas. L. Jordan, quoted in The Wild Turkey and Its Hunting by Edward A. McIlhenny, 1914. Available from Real Turkeys.
Traditional American Wild Turkey Hunting (McIlhenny) Bronze © Walter Matia
Choosing, training and hunting turkeys with a dog by Jon L. Freis - Fourth Edition, Revised March 2013. Includes Training a Turkey Dog by Parker Whedon, secrets of the old days, with contributions from 100's of turkey dog hunters. Order here.
Photos © Views of the Past
"I am intrigued by your book and found it far more than it appears - it reached deep into this hunter's soul." John Plowman
"Very informative, and entertaining too. Great book!" Keith Kharville
"Any hunter wishing to get involved with turkey dogs would do well to read it. I wished I had a reference like that when I first started working with my dogs, I could have avoided many mistakes." Gratten Hepler
"Your publication on training turkey dogs is really good and I would like more for fellow dog lovers." Carson Quarles
"The first paragraph of the book hits the nail on the head. That describes turkey dogs exactly." Ron Meek
"That book was so good I only wish it was another 200 pages long." Earl Sechrist Turkey nest photo © 2004 Patty Nagle
Become a member and get the book included, only $30.00 click here and buy #1.
The AWTHDA was founded in 2004 when hunting turkey with your dog was only allowed in 22 out of 43 states with a fall season. Today, in a large part because of our efforts, it's 30 out of 44. The new States since 2004: CT, IA, ME, MT, MS, NH, PA, and WI. The 30 states with fall seasons (2008): CA, CT, CO, HI, IA, ID, KS, KY, MD, ME, MI, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, WI WY. States that don't allow it are in the minority. If you live in one of these, help us correct it: AL, AR, AZ, FL, IL, IN, MA, MN, MO, NM, OK, RI, SD, WA.
|Traveling with your dog and need to know which
motel or hotel chains are pet-friendly?
PetsWelcome.com has the best listing we've found.
Turkey Two Toter, Lead & Tie-Out for carrying 2 turkeys, leading the dog, and tieing the dog to your chair or a tree.
Fall and Winter Turkey Hunter's Handbook by Steve Hickoff.
Concerned your dog is over-medicated with unnecessary vaccinations? The Rabies Challenge Fund will get the rules changed.
The Center for Disease Control says, since 1995, there's been no reported cases of human rabies from an indigenous dog.
<<< Click on picture to the left - it speaks volumes about a turkey dogs passion for the birds. Complete story.
'Field and Stream' turkey dog feature: Confessions of a Turkey-Dog Addict by Gerry Bethge
American Gun Dog video at Turkey Trot Acres, Candor NY
In British Columbia, the Vancouver Sun reports that dogs are no match for the wild turkey: "Those turkeys are smart enough that they almost outrun the dogs and don't take flight until the dogs are two or three feet behind them."
Watch Keena's flush and you'll see one turkey on the left not take off until she almost caught it!
Turkeys would always rather run than fly, so it takes a good dog to get them all off the ground.
Turn up the speakers! Hit the PLAY button over and over! This is truly rare footage.
Unless you've tried it, you have no idea how hard it is to capture video like this. Keena barks at her turkeys!
Because the turkeys are so wary, and the dog is so fast, the photographer never gets near the flock.
50% of turkeys born in spring don't make it through the next winter.
Mississippi statistics show a fall harvest of 5 to 10% of the fall population is acceptable.
Now Missouri biologists say: 'the fall kill could be fifty percent of the spring kill, without compromising the population.
The spring turkey population is more dependant on bad weather and other factors, than the fall kill.'
"A mean life expectancy of 1.3 to 1.6 years, and average annual mortality rates of 76% (WV) and 60% (FL):"
The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management James G. Dickson/NWTF
"Only about 15% of the eggs laid live to become poults 2 weeks of age. Only a few birds live to be four years old."
Wild Turkey Hunting & Management by Lovett Williams
ďThe Wild Turkey is the most vocal of all birds.Ē Learn the 29 calls (in the book above): lovettwilliams.com
We're the country's number one supporter of fall turkey hunting,
and the leading organization working to allow fall turkey hunting with your dog.
If you're a fall turkey dog hunter, make a contribution. If you're a fence sitter, read this.
We are firm believers in fair chase.
Click on the IANRC logo at the right to turn in poachers.
ranging dog that barks isnít necessarily needed anymore,
primarily because urbanization
has destroyed so much of the turkey's habitat. I used to
be able to hunt 500 acres, now itís closer to 50. I
have a friend who's dog didnít bark, so he used a bell,
and you could tell what the dog was doing by the sound of
the bell. We believe the best dog is the one that
suits you." Ed
Morris - Charlottesville VA.
"Thank you for speaking for all of us who hunt with turkey dogs. I too live in Virginia and have hunted turkeys for 25 years. I've been fortunate to have had that 'perfect dog' that everyone looks for. My hunting partner and I had litter mates that were special. I now have a young dog that is showing promise of being very good. With the loss of land to hunt, itís getting more difficult to find places to safely release dogs without offending someone, and avoiding traffic. Iíve said many times that if dogs are no longer allowed Iíll stop hunting. Watching the dogs develop into mature hunters is like watching your children grow up. There's nothing more gratifying. I spring hunt because I can, but fall hunting with a dog is my passion." Edward McDonald - VA
|Many breeds of dogs are used to hunt turkeys.
Most have primarily bird dog ancestry, sometimes mixed
with a cur, feist, terrier or hound (for their barking
traits). A lot of mixed breed dogs make excellent turkey
dogs. Take the motley mongrel 'Jack' for example (in a
different application); the best leader of 156 dogs, who
broke trail for 1300 of the 1400 miles Admiral Byrd made
on his Antarctic Expedition in A
Dog's History of America.
|This website honors
these dedicated hunters loyal companions
and their pursuit of the grandest of all game birds.
Jordan Tribute Call copyright Durk Stark. The dog scattering the turkeys photos courtesy Chris Dorsey & Howard L. Harlan.
The vintage box call with the hunter, a dog and a turkey was used by Simon Everitt about 1915, courtesy Jim Casada.
Many of the photographs throughout this site compliments of Monte Loomis Wildlife Photography© Monte's Wild Turkey photo book
"Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends." Alexander Pope
Hear samples of authentic wild turkey calls recorded in the fall and winter woods.
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Permission to copy without written authorization is expressly denied.
WE HUNT TURKEYS - ONE BARK AT A TIME
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This website began May 30, 2004, last revised May 6, 2013.
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