Kicking things off, Randy says he’s getting ready to head to Illinois where he’ll spend a couple of weeks trapping. While the tradition of trapping furbearers has deep roots in the U.S., the reality is that as a whole it’s somewhat of a dying art. Trapping is a serious challenge, one that requires hard work, skill and in many cases the acceptance of brutal weather and cold working conditions. In today’s fast paced world, trapping also doesn’t provide instant gratification like so many people seek. So, those who work a trap line are a special breed. Randy says that trapping is an entirely different dynamic than hunting and when hunting predators like coyotes, people often don’t realize just how smart they are. Because the size of a trap is so miniscule compared to the large expanse of land that a coyote lives, roams and hunts on - it can be difficult to lure it to one very specific spot. The odds of getting that animal to put their foot in precisely the right place to trigger your trap is even more difficult. The skill required to do that effectively, time and again, can’t be denied. When it comes to predators on the other end of the chain, Randy also talks about the number of times he has found bobcats in his traps and the caution that has to be used when releasing them. Scent is a big factor when hunting or trapping. An animal’s first defense is often their nose so the last thing you want as a trapper is to leave your scent all over everything and push animals away from, rather than into, your trap. Randy says there is no way to be 100% scent free and undetectable, however trappers should try to keep odors to a minimum as much as possible. When it comes to maintenance, proper trap care is important to ensure that the traps work flawlessly afield. Dying his traps with logwood dye and then waxing them, Randy says that the process not only stains the traps but helps make them more rust-resistant. Hunters today, and especially deer hunters, have become very involved in wildlife management practices. Often big game animals take center stage while predators are put on the back burner. However, Randy and Nate highlight the importance of managing predator populations, whether it’s through hunting or trapping, and discuss how predators that go unchecked can negatively impact all other game species.
Turning their attention to gobblers, Nate and Randy are pumped for spring turkey hunting action to begin. Nate talks shotguns, choke tubes, shells, patterning your gun, effective range and how all of those elements go hand in hand. Nate says obviously turkey hunters like a shot that is as close as they can get, but in the event that you need to reach out a little further, having the right choke tube is important to help you accomplish solid groups at greater distances. When it comes to range, Nate says his max is around 50 yards, not because he can’t shoot further than that, but as a matter of ethics. You need to know your own limitations, your gun’s limitations based on the patterning you did prior to hunting and only take shots that are reflective of those factors. As hunters, we always want to make clean, ethical shots that are respectful to the animals we pursue, Nate says, making sure harvests are quick.
Scouting is a crucial part of hunting no matter what animal you are chasing. Whether it’s deer, elk, waterfowl or turkey, scouting should be first and foremost in your plan of attack. It’s all about putting yourself in a position to be successful and that means scouting before and throughout the season. Randy says it’s critical to stay on top of the turkey prior to the season because they begin to break up and scatter at that time of year. While your trail cameras may show large concentrations in a particular area right now, that doesn’t mean they will be in the same place come spring. Frequent scouting and staying on top of the turkeys will set you up for more success when opening day rolls around. It doesn’t matter how great of a hunter or caller you think you are, if you are hunting an area where there are no turkeys, then it’s going to be a quiet day, Nate and Randy say, so spend the time, do your homework and scout.
Finally, Nate and Randy talk next generation outdoorsmen and women. Both Nate and Randy say that reaching out to future hunters is crucial because getting more people involved is important for the continued vitality of the hunting lifestyle. With HeadHunters TV they like to keep things fun because they believe that’s the way it should be, and they want to be able to showcase that to prospective hunters. Too many people take themselves too seriously and when that happens it can take the fun out of hunting and discourage new and/or younger hunters. By keeping their show fun, inclusive, educational and real - both Nate and Randy hope that people can see their passion for the outdoor lifestyle and be inspired by it.
You can watch Nate Hosie and Randy Birdsong, co-hosts of HeadHunters TV on Outdoor Channel every Thursday at 7:30 pm ET. To catch up on previous seasons or just to binge watch the awesome hunting action, be sure to download the MyOutdoorTV app where you have access to HeadHunters TV and a ton of other awesome outdoor programming at your fingertips.
Get Outdoors Y’all!