All posts by Grant Carmichael

How to Kee Kee

The kee kee run is a must have call for fall turkey hunting, but can be effective in the spring as well.  In this video, Sadler Mcgraw, Matt Van Cise, Shane Hindershot and Scott Ellis perform their version of the kee kee run at the NWTF calling championship.

Take note of the common sequence of the kee kee run, which sounds like “pee pee pee yawk yawk.”  The kee kee is often used with 3 kee kees followed by a couple yelps.

If you’ve ever bumped a group of young turkey during the fall, you’ve probably noticed the way they use the kee kee run to regroup.

For more turkey hunting information, be sure to visit our turkey hunting forum.

Reverse Engineering the Hunt

How to Use Google Earth to Scout

There was a time when my brother and I called one of our public land hot spots “The Killing Hole.”  The reason was simple – you could setup in this area most mornings and hear birds sounding off in all directions.  Even on the quiet mornings, if you sat tight, birds were going to work through the area at some point.  We had stumbled on this spot scouting the good ole fashioned way – covering as much ground as possible looking for signs that turkey were in the area.  In about a three year transition, however, the dynamics of the killing hole changed.  The hole went from a near guaranteed opportunity to work a bird, to a spot where birds were, but you were likely to get walked over by other hunters, and in its present day it feels like birds avoid the area after the first week of season.  It didn’t take long before we knew we had better pick up some new hunting spots close to home in a hurry.

As you will read in this article, I was able to reverse engineer the hunting experiences we had in the killing hole by applying firsthand knowledge of the area’s terrain to what was shown in an aerial view on Google Earth.  In doing so, Google Earth was used to quickly identify areas that should hold turkeys based on similar terrain, and boy did it pay off with a fine eastern to tote back to the truck!

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The Killing Hole’s Terrain

The killing hole is nestled in the foothills of northwest Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest on public hunting land.  Cuts in the mountains above produce gently flowing creeks that work their way into the flatlands.  Loggers didn’t cut the timber in close proximity to the creeks, which created wooded buffers between roads, clear-cuts and the creeks.  In the mornings, birds would be roosted in the trees near the creeks.  Sometimes they pitched down into the clear cut and others they seemed to vanish into thin air.  In the evenings, turkeys would work their way through the clear cuts, visit the creek for a drink of water before scratching around a bit and flying up into their roosting trees.

Using Google Earth to Scout New Turkey Hunting Areas

After realizing the killing hole had become the hotspot for many other hunters, recovery efforts were needed in order to locate new spots that were likely to hold turkey.  The quickest way for me to do this was to use Google Earth and scout virtually using my computer.

I launched Google Earth, and after a search and some scrolling, the screen was zero’d in on the killing hole.  Zooming out a bit, the formation in the hills that created the small creeks down below in the flatland stood out, and after assessing the general area, similar terrain down the ridge a ways looked promising so I locked the coordinates into my GPS to use in the morning.  With double the distance to walk (maybe 1.5 miles) to the new listening post in the morning, I left a little earlier than usual.

I apparently misjudged the time it would take to walk to the new post, as I arrived later than anticipated breathing heavily (I had be covering the 1.5 miles as fast as I could to beat daylight). I began the process of softening my steps and calming my breathing as the remaining distance to the listening post closed.  Since the sky was starting to lighten up, I decided to draw my crow call and delivered two sharp blasts just short of the post for the sake of time.  A surge of adrenaline rushed through my body as a tom exploded 80 yards to my left, which was just over the property line.  Seconds later, a group of birds near the creek to my right answered.  Talk about a mad scramble, the morning sky was turning to daylight, birds were sounding off, and because I didn’t know the area well, I wasn’t sure where to setup.  Unfortunately, this particular morning the birds hit the ground and vanished.  Patience is not a virtue of mine, so after the lull I eased around the area and took inventory.  It looked promising with all the turkey tracks in the mud and scratching along the creek.  I smiled to myself as I realized the virtual scouting experience might actually pan out.

Success 24 Hours Later

The next morning, the departure time was adjusted and I arrived to the post plenty early.  Going in stealthy that morning, I eased in and sat down and waited.  Time passed and the bob white quail started their morning routine.  I should have heard a bird or two by now, so I pulled out a box call and yelped 3 times.  A bird gobbled, but because of his distance, it was chalked it up to coincidence.  It seemed as if he were miles away.  Just to be sure, I checked him with two sharp cuts and four yelps, and he answered promptly.  After 10 to 15 minutes of waiting the process was repeated.  This time he had cut the distance in half, but was still a ways out – the hunt had every indication of being one of those quick morning hunts that you’re back at your truck with a bird while some of the other guys are pulling in late.

My back and legs were starting to cramp when he gobbled off to my left, still out of sight, but close.  The setup wasn’t great but there wasn’t much to choose from in this particular area.  Based on his distance, I only had a few seconds to ease my barrel to the left and hold tight.  Moments later the fan eased up to the road about 30 yards to my left.  When he hit the road, he raised his head up as if something was out of sorts, and with the fastfire on him, I eased the trigger and rolled him back on the clay road.

I rushed over to him as he was doing the death flop.  My hand felt the business end of the spurs before my eyes saw them – at that time I knew I had a trophy on my hands.

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Why you should use Google Earth to scout virtually

In turkey hunting on public land, there aren’t many shortcuts to harvesting a mature eastern turkey.  It helps to know the land you’re hunting and how the birds use the area during the spring (which can be different than how they use it in the fall).  There are tools, like Google Earth, that you can use to your advantage by scouting virtually and identifying areas to hunt without seeing the property beforehand.

Using Google Earth in the Field

If at all possible, install Google Earth on your home computer and do your scouting before the hunt.  In doing so, you’ll be able to identify areas you may want to visit or even print maps to carry on the hunt (this is easy to do and works well).  In some instances, printing maps in advance may not be possible and having Google Earth on your smart phone will pay huge dividends.  In their Idaho hunt, Bobby and Wesley installed Google Earth on their smartphones because they were on an adventure hunt covering lots of ground in unfamiliar territory.  Having Google Earth on their devices allowed them to see fields and other types of terrain [while on the hunt] that might hold birds that they would have otherwise missed.

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When technology is not available

Cell phones and GPS batteries die and cell service is not available everywhere, which is why learning the terrain turkey use for a given area is important.  In the big country out west, there is lots of ground to cover, and if you aren’t careful, you can spend days trying to locate birds.  Take note of the terrain when you find birds.  Outside of your typical agricultural planting and food plots, you will discover certain types of terrain hold birds for various reasons.  By knowing the terrain attributes that hold birds, you can shave hours and even days off your scouting efforts.

In the end, technology doesn’t replace the need to understand turkey habitat and behavior, but leveraging technology with that knowledge of the wild turkey will produce killer results!

Grant Carmichael
Grand Slam Network
Mossy Oak Pro Staff
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5 Reasons to Turkey Hunt Public Land

Don’t get me wrong, I hunt private and public land during turkey season. Each has their pros and cons, but in this article, I intend on highlighting a few of the benefits of public land turkey hunting.

Cost

Hunting leases can be expensive and owning your own property is even more expensive. In Georgia, there are over 100 WMA hunting areas, which cover over 1 million acres of public turkey hunting opportunities. For the cost of a big game license and a WMA stamp, turkey hunters have access to public hunting areas within a 1 hour drive.

Opportunities

As mentioned above, Georgia has over 1 million acres of public hunting land. Residents should have public land to hunt within an hour drive. For me personally, I have at least 7 different areas [within an hour drive] that offer great turkey hunting opportunities.

Enjoy Hunting with Friends and Family

Many hunting clubs don’t allow visitors, and for the ones that do, [some] club members aren’t too happy when you bring in a group of visitors. Public hunting land provides an opportunity for experienced hunters to introduce new hunters to the sport and to bring along family and friends as they like.

Wide open spaces!

Private hunting leases can cost hunters $7/acre or more. So $700 would allow you to lease 100 acres. The WMAs I hunt, which are all near my home, are all over 10,000 acres. Even while sharing the area with other hunters, 10,000 acres is a lot of ground to cover and move on turkeys.

Many public hunting lands are loaded with turkeys

There is a perception that public land hunting isn’t as good as private land. While some areas get more pressure than others, I remember telling my brother, “I’m not sure we could have paid for a better hunt,” as we carried out two long beards after a morning hunt full of vocal birds. The key to having a successful public land turkey hunt is to scout, scout, and then scout some more. Be sure to cover lots of ground late fall and early spring to learn where the birds are. Look for scratching, dirt roads with tracks after a good rain, and listen for birds in the evening as they fly up to roost. Learn the area and then move on to learn more areas. When hunting public land, you’ll always need a good plan B if someone else is in that spot before you get there.

Turkey hunt public land this spring!

GoPro HERO3 Review and Testing

Spring will be here before we know it, and a self-proclaimed turkey hunting addict can only sit in a tree waiting for BIG bucks for so long. It’s time to break out the new gear for Spring and see what makes the cut and what doesn’t. One thing is for sure – the GoPro HERO3 will be riding the barrel of my shotgun this Spring.   Here is my GoPro HERO3 Review!

Out of the box, the GoPro is much smaller that I expected. Its roughly 2×1.5” and comes with a few accessories and a clear waterproof housing. The housing works great, and my 2 year old daughter gave it the bathtub test, and it STILL works! It comes with several mounting accessories, but I have the suction cup and handlebar mounts. The suction cup, as you’ll see in the video is good for mounting the GoPro on the side of a car, a window, etc. I’ll use the handlebar kit to mount the GoPro on the barrel of my gun or on the bow’s stabilizer. You can also buy a remote, which I think I’ll buy soon.

Out of the box, the camera does lots of various types of shots, but I’ve just tested the HD video thus far. It appears to have a wide angle lens that is great for POV shooting and the image is crystal clear. As you’ll see in the archery video, it’s not great for long range shooting, but the wide angle lens makes a nice match for POV shooting…

Stay tuned for some Spring turkey hunting with GoPro HERO3!

Beard Hunter Calls – Custom Strikers

Well, by now you should know that different types of wood sound different on friction calls. One of my favorite things to do at a convention is to run a wide variety of friction calls with a plethora of strikers. In doing so, you can find the call and striker combination that you like best. In addition to the sound, you’ll find a striker that has the right balance and feel for the way you grip the striker. That is why I own every combination of striker from Beard Hunter Calls. Not only are they a work of art – but they have a great feel and balance – which is important to me. My personal favorites are the Purple Heart and Hickory strikers.

custom friction call strikers

Mero Custom Calls

Not only does this custom trumpet call from Mero Custom Call look great – it sounds and feels as good as it looks! The barrel on this trumpet is made from Cocobolo wood and the mouthpiece is ivory. The ferrule is made from a nickel brass .308 rifle casing, and the rubber lipstop and lanyard complete the trumpet nicely. In addition to his award winning trumpet calls, Brian from Mero Custom Calls builds some fine friction calls!

Custom trumpet call from Mero Custom Calls

Lodge Creek Custom Calls

While attending the 2012 GON Blast in Atlanta Georgia, I ran into a booth with great looking custom pot calls. After running them for a bit, I pulled out the plastic and purchased these 3 pot calls from Lodge Creek Custom Calls. For starters, lets take a look at the purr pot – it’s no secret that soft purrs and clucks will get that pressured tom to respond when excited hen yelps won’t do the trick. If you hunt public land, you know what I mean… those birds get yelped at all day long! You’ll see in the video below that Tater from Lodge Creek cups his hand and brings the call in close to his body to create realistic purrs and clucks.

The other two calls are their Two Sider Tamer Series. They are either glass or crystal on the front and have slate on the back for softer calling. One thing is for sure – my 2013 season will start with the purple heart glass Two Sider Tamer Series from Lodge Creek Custom Calls!

Videos of Turkey Sounds – Yelps, Cuts, and Purrs

We home these videos of turkey sounds will help you become a better turkey caller this spring in the turkey woods!

Turkey Sounds – Excited Yelp!

Not only do these guys know how to work a bird – they catch some great video footage of turkey sounds in the process. In this video, you can hear how fast the hen is yelping.

Fast forward to 7:30 to 8:00

Turkey Sounds – Yelps, cuts and kee kee

This is from the same group of guys, the Southern Gentlemen on YouTube. The entire video has some great calling, but starting at 2:40 you have some great spring time kee kee runs. Most young turkeys kee kee in the fall, but as this video shows, turkey do kee kee in the spring as well. With a little practice, the kee kee can be done quite easily with the mouth call. Click here to see a video of Jimbo Lindsey doing the kee kee with a pot call. Again, its not too hard to do – the key is to pinch or torque the striker and you typically run the call toward the outer edge.

Turkey Sounds – Yelps and Cuts

In this video really captures the hen’s yelps and cuts up close. It appears to be taken in the fall.

Turkey Sounds – Cutting

In this video the hen is cutting and purring as she searches out what she believes is another hen.

Gene’s Turkey Calls – Friction Pot Call

This custom turned friction pot call from Gene’s Turkey Calls is a killer! It’s a glass over glass ambrosia maple pot that comes with a one piece turned striker. As you can see in the picture, the call was carefully handcrafted and sounds as good as it looks! The call comes unconditioned and includes sandpaper and instructions for conditioning the call. Like other glass pot calls, use the sandpaper or a conditioning stone to condition the call in one direction only. The striker has a nice balance to it and it seems to be a natural fit with the pot. They have additional strikers available on their website too.

Gene’s Turkey Calls sells pot calls, scratch boxes, box calls, mouth calls and locator calls. Be sure to check them out – and tell them the Grand Slam Network sent ya!

Gene’s Turkey Calls
www.GenesTurkeyCalls.com

 

Baker Boys Original Turkey Coffin

Talk about an original custom call! This call is an “Original Turkey Coffin” from Baker Boys Turkey Calls. The Baker Boys Original Turkey Coffin – it’s a friction call that looks like a box call, but the striking surface is on the back and you use a striker like you would use on a pot call! You just run the striker in a straight line instead of a circular motion like you would on a traditional pot. As you work the call you can turn it in the direction you want to sound to carry, as the open end of the call acts as a speaker.

The surface of the copper needs to be sanded as often as needed! The call will not work if you touch the copper with your fingers because the oils in your hand will kill the sound. If this happens all you have to do is sand the calls surface with 220 or finer sandpaper or emery cloth. This call will make every turkey sound that you want out of a call! You can use soft calling by applying soft pressure on the call, and a louder sound as you add pressure – the harder you push down on the surface the louder it gets! The striker on this call is mounted with two holes on the call so it is always with the call in one package! This call is made of redwood and the striker is made of teak! This call was invented by my Dad Stanley Baker and is of his craftsmanship – a handmade and turned custom call! This call comes in many surfaces such as Copper, Glass, Aluminum, Slate, and Acrylic!

For more information on Baker Boys Turkey Calls, visit their website. www.bakerboysturkeycalls.com

This is really a neat and fun call to work with. The key is to use the call like they do in the video below. By holding the striker high, you can get a nice purr and cluck. You can even place your hand over the box to muffle the sound producing soft calls! As with any copper call, you’ll need to use a scotch-brite pad to clean the copper that accumulates on the end of the striker.

Baker Boys Turkey Coffin

Baker Boys Turkey Coffin

Baker Boys Turkey Coffin