Highlighting a recent hunt with a client, Fred explains how he put a tom to bed hot and expected it to come off the roost and walk right into their path. However, when the bird dropped down and went the opposite direction he used a combination of calls, working two at once in order to sweet talk it and turn it back around bringing it right to the decoys. When it comes to calls, Fred says that sometimes sounding like one lone hen just doesn’t cut it, instead sounding like 2 or 3 different birds can give a hunter more of an advantage, and for other birds they seem to react better to a certain tone. Having a variety of calls at your disposal allows you to customize your approach in the field, change up your sound, and really hone in on what the gobblers respond to best in the moment.
Fred highlights several of his guided turkey hunts this spring, one of which he anticipates will break some records. Hunting with a client that hasn’t missed a spring turkey season with him in 20 years, Fred says he had no idea that a monster gobbler was waiting for them. After spotting a bird strutting, he and the client ran across an alfalfa field to try to close the gap on some birds that were seeking cover from the rain in the trees. Taking advantage of a good shot opportunity his client was able to knock down a tom and it wasn’t until they walked up on it that they realized how special it was. This particular gobbler had 4 beards, collectively measuring more than 17-inches in length. Scoring him based on the NWTF scoring method, Fred says this bird will probably make the books and become the new #8 turkey in Colorado. In the part of Colorado where he lives and guides, it’s the Merriam’s turkey that is most prevalent. Fred says that it’s rare to get long spurs or beards on these mountain Merriam’s. Because they live in rocky country it’s not at all uncommon for birds to wear their spurs down in the rocks, leaving them with rounded nubs. As for beards, they tend to be shorter than other subspecies as they drag and rub on the rocky ground, frequently freezing to the ground and getting ripped off.
Having completed the World Slam with a recurve, Fred is an accomplished turkey hunter. He talks about hunting the Gould’s in Mexico and Ocellated turkeys in the Yucatan, in addition to all four U.S. subspecies. Fred says that spot and stalk hunting turkeys with a recurve is the ultimate challenge and he has taken many birds this way. However, in general, for turkey hunting he uses pop-up blinds, strategically placed decoys and calling to draw the birds out, without getting busted. Fred highlights the importance of having a spacious blind for bowhunting, plus dressing in dark clothing to match the interior of your blind and using paint on your hands and face so there is nothing that can reflect or flash that the birds will see.
Spring turkey hunting presents an opportunity for all hunters – young or old, novice or pro. Spring hunting is all inclusive and Fred highlights a special hunt he guided recently where he took Michele’s mom hunting. After suffering a stroke earlier this year, Fred says one of the motivating factors in her therapy and recovery was that she wanted to be able to be mobile enough to turkey hunt this spring. Taking her out for the day, the whole family chipped in to make the hunt possible and while she didn’t end up getting a bird Fred talks about what a special hunt it was.
Often, viewers of outdoor/hunting/fishing television shows wish they could hunt in the places that the pros do or with their favorite television hosts. What makes Fred and Michele Eichler unique is that hunting with them isn’t a pipe dream. As the owners and operators of Full Draw Outfitters, anyone can call up and book a hunt at Full Draw Outfitters and experience the same kinds of hunts that they watch Fred and his family guide and embark on themselves throughout the year – turkey, elk, antelope, deer, bear and more!
Listen in as we talk all things spring turkey hunting with the one and only Fred Eichler on this week’s show. Be sure to watch “Everything Eichler” on Sportsman Channel, Sundays at 12:30 pm ET where they are showcasing their hunting, fishing, guiding and gardening, field to table lifestyle.