Cast & Blast

Early May means great fishing and chasing turkeys and so far so good.   Water temps have hovered around 50 degrees and air temps are hitting the mid-60s for a high.  This spring, the smallmouth bass have been really active and I’ve been surprised at how fat they are.  We’ve contacted lots of smaller northern pike too but the big ones haven’t been super active, which is normal right after ice out.  They should be picking up in the next week or two.  Trout and salmon are definitely biting on sewn smelts and slowly trolled hardware like Mooseleuk Wobblers.

This spring’s turkey hunting has been pretty good so far.  The Toms are strutting around and quite vocal in the morning.  The whole key is to find where they are roosting at night and getting set up close by early in the morning.  It’s thrilling to hear them come flying out of the trees at dawn, gobbling away and causing all sorts of ruckus!  There has been one difference this year that I noticed and that is coyotes chasing turkeys around on some of the local farms.  The coyotes make it hard to get any sort of pattern on the birds because they scatter them around so much.  It’s just an extra challenge to make the hunt all the more fun.

 

spring turkey hunting

Bow Hunting: Spring Turkey Season Prep
By: Brian Wilkins

The Wild Turkey was once a protected species in the Pine Tree State. There were only 500 permits issued for the state’s first spring turkey hunting season in 1986. But initiatives beginning in 1968 and continuing through this year by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have re-stocked wild gobblers to the point that spring tags can be purchased right over-the-counter.

Hunters who are accustomed to deer hunting and venturing into the world of wild turkeys for the first time are in for a treat that is a completely different experience. Harvesting a trophy buck requires absolute silence and patience, whereas turkey hunting is far more interactive.

You can be one-quarter of the way to earning grand slam recognition by the National Wild Turkey Federation with a successful spring hunting trip.
Here are three tips to maximize your chances of success:

Scouting
Despite the fact turkeys are abundant throughout both the North and South hunting zones, you still want to know their specific roosting and fly down locations. Scouting is the most important part of the hunt, but also the least exciting. The good news is that trail cameras can save you a lot of time and also help to streamline the entire process without much effort on your part.

The Bushnell Natureview HD Max always receives positive reviews for its battery life, sensitive detection circuit, and night vision capabilities. The Moultrie Panoramic 150 is also popular among hunters. Whichever route you go, make certain to read reviews, particularly regarding the camera’s nighttime resolution and motion sensing abilities.

Equipment
There are plenty of compound bows that will work just fine for harvesting wild turkeys. It’s the logistics that make all the difference. The perfect shot on a tom will come at a distance of 25-35 yards. You do not need a heavy draw weight on your bow to get an accurate shot. A draw weight of 50 pounds is more than adequate. And 40 pounds will even be enough. Mechanical broadheads are preferred over fixed-blades. The latter tend to fly off course, which isn’t good for an animal with such a small kill-zone.

The only way to get turkeys close enough to harvest is with calls. Turkey calling is an art that takes time to perfect. Push button calls are helpful to new hunters. A gobble call has two cons for spring hunting: they attract hens (which you won’t be harvesting) and require a lot of movement to make the call sound. Diaphragm calls are the most fun to use and have the advantage of not requiring additional body movements to sound. A good rule of thumb is to carry several calls and use them all until you get the desired results.
Let The Fun Begin

A ground blind will greatly increase your chances of a successful harvest. Bow hunters do not have the advantage of “running and gunning” and need large trees to maintain their cover. If you’ve adequately scouted the area, you’ll know exactly where to set up.

Turkeys can’t smell you, but they have great eyesight. You’ll need to be covered head-to-toe with camo, including a face mask. A bird strutting towards you should be taken down with a shot above the beard. If the tom is not facing you, shoot the anal cavity. The base of the turkey’s wing should be the target when you have a side shot. The small kill zone and calls are what make turkey hunting challenging and enjoyable. Those factors are also what makes shooting one that much sweeter.

Brian Wilkins is an Arizona State University journalism grad who has worked as a radio broadcaster and banking industry professional. He is an independent journalist, blogger and small business owner who loves life. He lives off-the-grid and has not owned a TV in more than six years.

Bow Hunting: Spring Turkey Season Prep

TargetTom
Bow Hunting: Spring Turkey Season Prep
By: Brian Wilkins

The Wild Turkey was once a protected species in the Pine Tree State. There were only 500 permits issued for the state’s first spring turkey hunting season in 1986. But initiatives beginning in 1968 and continuing through this year by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have re-stocked wild gobblers to the point that spring tags can be purchased right over-the-counter.

Hunters who are accustomed to deer hunting and venturing into the world of wild turkeys for the first time are in for a treat that is a completely different experience. Harvesting a trophy buck requires absolute silence and patience, whereas turkey hunting is far more interactive.

You can be one-quarter of the way to earning grand slam recognition by the National Wild Turkey Federation with a successful spring hunting trip.
Here are three tips to maximize your chances of success:

Scouting
Despite the fact turkeys are abundant throughout both the North and South hunting zones, you still want to know their specific roosting and fly down locations. Scouting is the most important part of the hunt, but also the least exciting. The good news is that trail cameras can save you a lot of time and also help to streamline the entire process without much effort on your part.

The Bushnell Natureview HD Max always receives positive reviews for its battery life, sensitive detection circuit, and night vision capabilities. The Moultrie Panoramic 150 is also popular among hunters. Whichever route you go, make certain to read reviews, particularly regarding the camera’s nighttime resolution and motion sensing abilities.

Equipment
There are plenty of compound bows that will work just fine for harvesting wild turkeys. It’s the logistics that make all the difference. The perfect shot on a tom will come at a distance of 25-35 yards. You do not need a heavy draw weight on your bow to get an accurate shot. A draw weight of 50 pounds is more than adequate. And 40 pounds will even be enough. Mechanical broadheads are preferred over fixed-blades. The latter tend to fly off course, which isn’t good for an animal with such a small kill-zone.

The only way to get turkeys close enough to harvest is with calls. Turkey calling is an art that takes time to perfect. Push button calls are helpful to new hunters. A gobble call has two cons for spring hunting: they attract hens (which you won’t be harvesting) and require a lot of movement to make the call sound. Diaphragm calls are the most fun to use and have the advantage of not requiring additional body movements to sound. A good rule of thumb is to carry several calls and use them all until you get the desired results.
Let The Fun Begin

A ground blind will greatly increase your chances of a successful harvest. Bow hunters do not have the advantage of “running and gunning” and need large trees to maintain their cover. If you’ve adequately scouted the area, you’ll know exactly where to set up.

Turkeys can’t smell you, but they have great eyesight. You’ll need to be covered head-to-toe with camo, including a face mask. A bird strutting towards you should be taken down with a shot above the beard. If the tom is not facing you, shoot the anal cavity. The base of the turkey’s wing should be the target when you have a side shot. The small kill zone and calls are what make turkey hunting challenging and enjoyable. Those factors are also what makes shooting one that much sweeter.

Brian Wilkins is an Arizona State University journalism grad who has worked as a radio broadcaster and banking industry professional. He is an independent journalist, blogger and small business owner who loves life. He lives off-the-grid and has not owned a TV in more than six years.

Ice Fishing Season Is Here!

ice1It’s time to start up the augers, line and fine tune the traps, and of course, make sure the Coleman Stove is working – because we are going to eat some really good food out on the ice this year! I’m looking forward to opening up the camp on Snow Pond this Friday and gearing up for our annual Colby College ice fishing extravaganza this coming weekend. We are going to fish Snow Pond the first day and perhaps Great Pond on Sunday. Last nights full moon brought sub zero temperatures (as expected) and the lakes in the Belgrades are locked in pretty good. Here in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, the lakes and ponds are just starting to lock in. I think it’s going to take another week or so before the bigger lakes are safe to fish. This year in addition to fishing Eagle Lake, Bubble Pond and Jordan Pond, I’m going to explore Long Pond. I just love exploring new territory!

Spring fishing is off the charts!

During the last month I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the Belgrades chasing fish and turkeys. P1000621It’s a been amazing to say the least. While we’ve moved to Bar Harbor (a.k.a. Acadia National Park), I’m still making many treks down to “home base” to guide fishermen. We still have our fishing cottage on Snow Pond and are still working with all the lodging operations there too: Whisperwood Lodge for American Plan, 4-Season Cottages for do-it-yourself meals, etc, etc. Such a lovely place to visit and fish!

Right now the smallmouth are on their beds, which is always fun and yesterday I guided Cobbossee and found largemouth on beds. It’s a bit early for that, but we’ll take it. We also have had great luck with northern pike and trout/salmon. Really can’t complain about the fishing at all – it’s been terrific.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent in e-mails about our big move. It’s exciting, but Belgrade will always be home to me. Although, I am slowly falling in love with Acadia National Park and the surrounding areas. There’s a lot of water to explore here and I trust that I’ll be ready to guide the area by next spring. I just need some time to figure it all out!!!

Don’t forget that I put more information on our facebook pages:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maine-Wilderness-Tours/113166285385874

Join in and post your pictures too!

Tight lines,
Mike