Jeff Fredrick, of Mindoro, Wis., often finds success during early spring turkey hunting periods.
“I’ve been successful here (private land) numerous times, but not always,” Jeff said after taking a gobbler during the first day of neighboring Minnesota’s first hunting period.
“Minnesota has seven periods, Wisconsin six,” he said. “But hunters can only take one bird a year. The license is $100 for me, but only $5 for a youth, in or out-state. And youth can hunt any or all the periods until they fill their tag.”
Following Jeff through his early hunt, a week before Wisconsin’s first period, may help an over-anxious, inexperienced, or impatient Wisconsin hunter, who hunts the same subspecies here in the Badger state.
This was Jeff’s third time hunting this property, but sometimes things didn’t plan out on the first day of a period. He’s not crazy about the layout because of the terrain, limited woods, and ridgetops that can be windy.
Two knobs project from an open field, which faces a strip of woods. Jeff sets his blind 75 yards into the field facing the woods. He likes birds to come to a destination, not having to pass the blind to get to the decoys.
Several of Jeff’s professionally-made true feather decoys are between the woods and blind.
With wind and a steep drop off in the woods it isn’t easy to determine how far away a gobbling bird is roosted or coming.
“There was good gobbling, but not sharp because of the wind. At 5:50 AM, I called aggressively and when he answered I called back immediately (he uses his own “Champion’s Choice”) diaphragm calls.
Jeff was messing with his phone to video the hunt and looked up at a bird coming out of the woods. “They usually stop for a minute and look around, which he did. He came to the decoy and beat up on it but didn’t damage it.”
Jeff uses a 20 gauge with pheasant loads, No. 5 shot.
After the shot, Jeff waited and said one of the most interesting things was a hen (not bearded) came to the woods edge and responded to his calls and came to the gobbler flopping on the ground.
“She went into a full strut and did two spit and drum sounds before walking away,” he said.
The three birds Jeff has killed in this location came to his set up immediately after flying down. This situation didn’t require a plan B either, or as Jeff calls it, “coming to a fork in the road and taking it.”
The most important part of this hunt in this location is the setup, blind location facing the woods and decoy position and made using real feathers.
After the field work, Fredrick’s work is just beginning. This bird will become parts of two feather decoys he will begin making after the season, when he takes the full skin out of the freezer.
Had the hunt been at a different location, the setup probably would have been quite different.