Editor’s Note: Pat Reeve and his wife, Nicole, are the hosts of “Driven” TV on the Outdoor Channel (https://www.drivenhunter.com/) and hunt and film all over the world. Pat and Nicole’s love of turkeys goes all the way back to their childhoods. And after college, Pat caught wild turkeys, boxed them up, drove them to their new locations, released them and now hunts them. Pat Reeve explains, “The first paycheck I ever received in college was from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), that’s been so instrumental in the wild turkey’s recovery and growth across the U.S.” Since beginning the reintroduction of 29 turkeys in Minnesota in 1973, wild turkeys today inhabit the southern half of the state with a population of 70,000.
By the end of May, the woods will have greened-up. I believe that the turkeys are easier to hunt in May, because there’s more foliage, leaves and bushes to hide behind. By the end of the season, most of the gobblers have bred most of the hens, but the gobblers are still searching for the last of the hens to breed, something that makes them easy to call. This is my favorite time to hunt, because the older gobblers that have been with hens all season long are looking for other hens that aren’t on their nests.
This time of year is also good for bowhunting turkeys since the foliage is so plentiful. Also, in the early season, you really need to wear one of the Mossy Oak patterns that fits the surroundings where you’re hunting. At this time, I’m usually wearing Mossy Oak Country. But at the end of the season, I wear that or Mossy Oak Break-Up.
I’m often asked, “Did you teach your wife Nicole to turkey hunt?” My standard answer is, “Heck, no. She grew up in southern Illinois, right on the Missouri border.” Her dad taught her how to hunt as soon as she was old enough to walk. When she was just a little girl, she turkey hunted with her dad. Over the years, she’s harvested quite a few turkeys – not only with her gun but also with her bow. She really enjoys turkey hunting and taking our children turkey hunting. We both enjoy taking our children turkey hunting, and we also like to introduce the sport of turkey hunting to newcomers to the sport.
To learn more about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’s book “The Turkey Hunter’s Bible,” available in print, Kindle and Audible versions at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HT1IUS/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i7. You may have to cut and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of this book for free and hear 10% for free).
Tomorrow: Pat Reeve Passes on a Lifetime of Hunting Turkeys