By Fred Lutger
One of the highlights of the NWTF convention is the seminars. Alex Rutledge, National Pro Staff member for Hunter Specialties, did a seminar for turkey hunting guides. He gave tips and pointers about turkey hunting and about guide/hunter relations. His tips are also useful when buddies are hunting together.
Alex suggests hunters should separate when using locator calls. This will give both of you a better chance to hear a distant gobble that the other person might not have heard. Also you won’t miss a gobble if the other person makes a noise that will cover up a faint gobble.
When setting up, Rutledge reminds guides to sit close to the hunter to be able to better control what the hunter does. Verbal communication is important. Let the hunter know if he moves too much. Cue the hunter when to get his gun at ready. Most of all, let him know when the bird is in range and when to shoot.
“Gobblers don’t always respond to a hunters’ calling with a gobble,” Rutledge said. “But they respond in other ways. They will strut, they will look towards the caller and some will at times run to the caller silently. These are all things we know and the reason we must keep the hunter still.” Alex again emphasized the need to coach the hunter. “Keep the hunter calm.”
“Year round supplemental feeding creates a healthier flock. Also plant food plots.” were Rutledge’s suggestions for more birds on your hunting grounds.
I talked with Alex after the seminar and asked if he had seen any changes in turkey hunting in the last couple years.
“I’ve seen a huge increase of hunters and also the turkey population. Always be safe when hunting.”
Rutledge also wants to remind us all to share the outdoors with someone we love. “Hunting is not about shooting the most animals.” he said. “It is about hunting memories and passing on the hunting tradition. Always remember God, family and country.”
Alex lives in southern MO with his wife and daughter. He has been a turkey hunter for 37 years.
Thanks, Alex. I really enjoyed your knowledge, humor and enthusiasm. I’m heading back to the show floor to check out more happenings. The NWTF Convention is a great show!
Fred Lutger is the owner of Freddie Bear Sports pro shop and Online Store