Going into Hiding

“Oh that’s just plain ridiculous,” the person (a non-hunter) said to me. “It isn’t even fair, is it?” They were … Continued

“Oh that’s just plain ridiculous,” the person (a non-hunter) said to me. “It isn’t even fair, is it?” They were referring to an advertisement in a hunting catalog. It was an image of a guy wearing a ghillie suit. I think they also thought it looked faintly ridiculous.

Our big enemy in turkey hunting is visible movement, or rather, trying to eliminate it from our position. As a result, some sit in camouflaged ground blinds and wait on patterned turkeys. We try to blend in. Others, fond of a more wide-open game, run-and-gun their spring gobblers, first locating then trying to call them in. Some do both. We tend to do it in camouflage.

Ghillie suits (portable concealment you wear) certainly rival the best hunting blinds at times, combining elements of both approaches. But it got me thinking about what we do from that non-hunter’s point-of-view. This person wasn’t “anti-hunting” at all, but that ghillie suit struck them as a bit over the top.

Should there be limits to concealment? Hunting wild turkeys from a well-made, hub-style blind is often perfectly legal, of course. It’s a popular method for many. Bowhunters are particularly fond of the approach.

Blinds conceal some of the necessary movement of drawing archery tackle. Hunters, hidden inside camouflaged “hides” can simply wear black apparel and blend in with the darkened interior as they sit inside well-constructed blinds and wait for gobblers to strut into the decoys. But is it as fair and sporting as some other ways we hunt spring gobblers?

Should we be required to sit out in the open (ghillie suit or not) with our backs against a broad tree trunk waiting for the most paranoid bird on the planet to walk into range? Some might say sitting out in the open for turkeys puts you at a disadvantage. Depends on the bird, you might say. Others argue that hunting on foot without a blind evens the playing field and increases the “hunt” in the hunt. Does it enhance the sporting nature of the pursuit? Maybe, camouflage depending.

Should there be limits to how well we hide ourselves? Others think so. I know of a guy who was once challenged by a nearby property owner as he walked to his truck after turkey hunting land where he did have permission. The woman barked at him, saying: “Look at you, wearing all that camouflage! That face mask is cheating! You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Really? As Archibald Rutledge once wrote, referring to the wild turkey: “This bird’s eyes are such that he can see a bumblebee turn a somersault on the verge of a horizon.”

There’s more to turkey hunting than just hiding, we all know that. Still, it’s pretty important. How far do you go to conceal yourself out there in the turkey woods?